Pharmacy fifth in cost, not second: APC

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The Australian Pharmacy Council has welcomed the Final Report of the Independent Review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for health professions that was considered by Health Ministers earlier this month, but pointed out that it contains errors.

“Accreditation is one of the underpinning platforms of NRAS that promotes safety and quality in health care,” says APC president Debra Rowett.

“It demonstrates to the broader society a commitment to achieving high quality and safe care.

“We believe that the release of the Report is an opportunity for us to show the value of an independent pharmacy accreditation council.”

The Report highlights several potential areas for adjustment and improvement to the Scheme. APC says it believes it is on the way to meeting these challenges.

APC says it recognises that Accreditation functions must represent value to the system, and points out that it recently undertook an organisational restructure and efficiency review to contain future costs and reduce regulatory burden, while maintaining quality of outcomes.

It has also reviewed its fee structures to ensure they are commensurate with current policy and processes.

APC also points out that in May 2015 it commenced a review of accreditation cycles to ensure they reflect contemporary practices, including benchmarking its processes to others in Australia and in the UK.

However, APC says it also needs to highlight some inaccuracies with the economic analysis of the Report.

In 2014 it accredited 37 programs/organisations, not 24 as stated in the report. This includes degrees, intern training programs and CPD organisations.

APC also conducts the Intern Written Exam on behalf of the Pharmacy Board of Australia, a situation unique to pharmacy; the Intern Written Examination is responsible for more than a third of operations and expenditure. APC says this was not considered in the comparative analysis undertaken.

“Consequently the actual costs per program in 2014 show pharmacy is ranked fifth out of the 14 Australian health professions in costs, not second as in the report.”

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