Pharmacist to patient ratios matter: SHPA

pharmacists in silos: pharmacist in dispensary

SHPA has spoken out in support of hospital pharmacists, following reports of understaffing, pressure and looming industrial action in the ACT

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia says that the primary consideration in establishing and maintaining Australian hospital pharmacy departments should be patient-centred, quality care that ensures the safe and effective use of medicines.

The call comes as discussions continue between ACT Health and hospital pharmacists in the Territory, represented by Professionals Australia, regarding pharmacist-to-patient ratios across the ACT’s three public hospitals.

Professionals Australia ACT director Dale Beasley told the AJP last week that some hospital pharmacists had already quit their jobs, despite not having jobs to go to, and more were considering following suit.

He said the union has a protected action ballot application underway.

Pharmacists are concerned about low pharmacist-to-patient ratios which mean high workloads, leading to patients being put at risk and conflict with other health professionals, Mr Beasley said.

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says SHPA’s key Standard of Practice stipulates 30 as the maximum number of patients per hospital pharmacist.

“Hospital pharmacists strive to uphold the National Medicines Policy through their daily work, of which the Quality Use of Medicines is a central objective,” she says.

“To provide safe and quality care, inpatients require medication reconciliation on admission, daily medication chart review and medication counselling on discharge, however, these are unattainable in facilities where pharmacists are not adequately supported.

“Hospital pharmacists are acutely aware they play an important role in enabling their facilities to meet the Medication Safety standard of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) and reducing hospital acquired complications, both key areas of concern for funding and accreditation.”

Ms Michaels says hospital pharmacists bring unique expertise to multidisciplinary medical teams across Australia.

“On behalf of our members, who play a key role in patient safety and ensuring high quality care, we will continue to advocate for all health professionals in hospital pharmacy and the importance of fostering clinical environments that minimise any risk of clinical error or sub-optimal patient services.”

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1 Comment

  1. Paige

    30 beds per pharmacist? That’s totally unattainable. The cost benefit ratio to bill payers isn’t there.

    I’ve never seen it lower than 50 beds per pharmacist and the highest was 187 beds per pharmacist.

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