The Pharmacy Board’s year: more pharmacists, more notifications

doctor holding up a bottle of pills

The past financial year has been a period of collaboration, consultation and revision for the Pharmacy Board of Australia, according to information published by AHPRA today in its 2015/16 annual report.

The 2015/16 annual report by AHPRA and the national health practitioner boards is a comprehensive record of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the 12 months ending 30 June 2016.

The Board published revised registration standards on professional indemnity insurance arrangements, continuing professional development and related guidelines, recency of practice, supervised practice arrangements, and examinations for general registration. The Board also published revised guidelines for pharmacists on a wide range of practice matters.

“After the publication of the Board’s guidelines on compounding medicines we welcomed further feedback from the profession, and collaborated with the Therapeutic Goods Administration to refine proposals,” says William Kelly, Chair of the Pharmacy Board of Australia.

“We held two forums, and gave pharmacists the opportunity to comment on the consultation paper published on the Board’s website. Consultation and collaboration between stakeholders is paramount to forming relevant guidelines and keeping the public safe.

“It’s important that knowledge is shared among professional agencies,” says Kelly.

“The Board also contributed to the revision of the competency standards framework for pharmacists in Australia.”

For guidelines, codes and policies, visit the Pharmacy Board of Australia’s website.

An overview of the past year includes:

  • More health practitioners overall: There were almost 20,000 more registrants in 2015/16 across the 14 regulated professions than there were last year, totalling 657,621 health practitioners nationally. Student registrations increased by more than 11,000 registrants year-on-year, totalling 153,710. 
  • A simplified renewal process: Online registration renewals reached a new high across all professions—with over 98% of all registrants renewing online and on time, making it easier for health practitioners to renew their registration each year. 
  • Increased registration: As of 30 June 2016, there were 29,717 pharmacists registered across Australia, an increase of 2.4% from the previous year. 
  • Greater awareness of the National Scheme: A nationwide campaign aimed at employers, practitioners and the general public rolled out across social media and in print advertising. 
  • Growth in notifications: There were 10,082 notifications received during the year across all 14 health professions, an increase of 19.7% nationally (representing 1.5% of the registration base). The top three notifier complaints related to clinical care (41.8%), medication issues (11.5%) and health impairment (10.7%). Just under half of all notifications were made by a patient, relative or member of the public. AHPRA closed 5,227 matters in the year. 
  • Increased notifications about pharmacists: In 2015/16 there were 570 notifications received about pharmacists nationally (including data from the Health Professional Councils Authority in NSW), an increase of 16.3% from the previous year. 
  • Less than 1% of all statutory offence matters related to pharmacy: AHPRA received 13 new complaints about possible statutory offences by pharmacists in the past year. Almost all new matters related to the use of protected titles or advertising concerns. Thirteen statutory offence matters were considered and closed.

In the coming months, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of their work regulating health practitioners in every state and territory, which will be released in late 2016. Expanded, profession-specific summaries will also be released and progressively published from early 2017.

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