PSA slams SHPA ‘ill-informed and divisive’ statements

doctor makes "stop" gesture with hand - ama

The PSA has taken aim at the SHPA over a comparison of care standards by community and hospital pharmacists in SHPA’s King Review submission

PSA national president Joe Demarte says statements in the SHPA submission calling for reform of community pharmacy were “ill-informed and divisive”.

“These sorts of invidious comparisons run counter to the Code of Ethics for pharmacists, which applies to pharmacists working in any area of the profession. Moreover, there is no basis in evidence for making such claims,” Demarte says.

“Community pharmacists in Australia are one of the largest, most trusted and most accessible groups of health professionals. 

“Community pharmacies have provided and will continue to provide a vital network for primary and preventative community-based health care.”

Demarte also slammed SHPA’s “misleading” statements regarding PSA’s capacity to deliver policy assistance and expert advice to Government.

“Given PSA’s recognised role in providing this very expertise through the Federal Government’s Health Peak Advisory Bodies program funding, we are perplexed as to why SHPA would make this claim – it’s simply wrong,” Demarte says.

“PSA is proud to represent all sectors of the profession in delivering such high quality advice.”

As the peak national body for pharmacists, PSA has asked all pharmacy groups to focus firstly on the healthcare needs of Australians, Demarte says, and then to work together to progress ways to optimise the contribution of pharmacists in the health system to deliver high quality, evidence-based care that is appropriately remunerated.

SHPA’s Professor Michael Dooley had said that while all practising pharmacists can be considered experts in pharmacy, not all can be considered medicine specialists, and further credentialing and accreditation is required for delivery of more comprehensive cognitive services.

“SHPA fully supports the excellent contributions to patient care that thousands of pharmacists provide in community pharmacies across Australia every day,” he said.

“However, constraints in existing funding models and the commercial priorities of some are factors that must be acknowledged as barriers to the practice of pharmacists and the delivery of care.

“The community retail pharmacy setting must be significantly reformed to enable this to consistently occur.”

Demarte reiterated the extensive medicines expertise of all pharmacists, regardless of the setting in which they practice.

As highlighted in PSA’s submission to the Review of Pharmacy Remuneration and Regulation, the Competency Standards for pharmacists which all pharmacists are required to meet as a condition of their registration with AHPRA – clearly demonstrate this extensive expertise, he pointed out.

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  1. Totally agree with the PSA President’s comments – the PSA represents the largest body of Pharmacists – those working in Community Pharmacy – SHPA by comparison is a much smaller body – Hospital Pharmacists may have a different focus to those working in Community Pharmacy but that is about it.
    Access to good online resources and ability to use primarily the AMH & eTG an to a lesser extent, MIMS,, AIDH & Micromedex are the primary determinant of provision of good information which is the role of the Pharmacist in any setting.

    • Jai Kumar

      Hello all,
      I worked in hospital pharmacies for years and am currently in a community pharmacy (and have been here for 15 years). Its a shame to read how we are attacking one another, undermining our profession in the process. It appears that one group has little knowledge of the other. With experience in both settings, the truth is that no group of pharmacists is better or superior than the other; its horses for courses. You have to have certain knowledge and skills to perform your job to the highest standard for best patient/customer outcome. Its all about patient care or customer care and that’s why we are highly rated by the consumers and lets not loose sight of that….and therefore its time to work together for the profession.

  2. pagophilus

    What we don’t need is a group of elitist pharmacists who think they are better at everyone else, who then impose their “standards” on everyone. Certain levels of practice work in certain settings, but not in all and not even in the majority of settings. Why the expectation, for example, that hospital pharmacists will be involved in research. The vast majority will not. Those who want to should of course be encouraged become involved. But to train everyone in research methods is a waste of resources to those who don’t need it, and a good little earner to those doing the teaching.

    • Dennis

      Glad you called it for what it is – snake-oil salesmanship, dressed up as ‘ever higher standards’. Incidentally I have worked in both hospital and community pharmacy. The work-rate in community pharmacy was generally higher than in hospitals.

  3. anon

    I can’t believe Joe has the gall to mention the mention of “Code of Ethics” here. The agenda of the PSA is anything but ethical in its relentless drive to line the pockets of the pharmacy owners at the cost of the workforce of an entire profession. The relentless drive to create an oversupply of pharmacists over the last 15 yeats whilst maintaining a ridiculously low minimum wage is one aspect. Endorsing the selling non-evidenced based (some would say potentially harmful) treatments such as homeopathy is another. You want to talk about ethics?! Next he will be mentioning patient care…..

    • Gloria S.

      Okay, well, you seem to have a loose relationship with the truth, so let’s fact check your comment.
      1. As far as I can tell the PSA is the custodian of the Code of Ethics, so I figure that their President can probably reference it all he likes.
      2. A quick look at the PSA website indicates that their vision is “Improving our nation’s health through excellence in the practice of pharmacy” – sorry buddy, no mention of lining pockets there.
      3. Does PSA have any influence over the number of pharmacists in Australia – NO. Thought not.
      4. Even the Australian newspaper managed to get the bit about PSA’s position on CAMs and homeopathy right. PSA does not support the sale of homeopathy products in pharmacy. Here, check it out for your self:
      I’m all for robust debate, but let’s get our facts straight first yeah?

    • Lance Emerson

      Huh? PSA has NEVER promoted oversupply of pharmacists, and we have raised the serious issue of low wages at the main panel session at PSA16 – we will continue to collaborate with other organisations try to find solutions for the profession. Furthermore, PSA is on record saying that there is NO place for homeopathy in pharmacy – read our statement: “PSA does not support the sale of homeopathy products in pharmacy”.

    • Anne Todd

      Well if your going to rant perhaps you should
      1. be willing to put a name to the comment
      2. be aware of the organisation your ranting about, this sounds like a misguided rant against the PGA
      given the PSA has championed most of the innovation being seen in healthcare in the last 10 years.
      As an ex-owner and therefore past PGA member and a current PSA Vice President I have the greatest respect for all players in our profession. This sort of rant does nothing to progress the debate.
      What is at issue here is providing the best outcomes for consumers, and the profession as a whole.
      Anne Todd
      B.Pharm, AACPA, MPS

    • Peter

      I’m pretty sure this was aimed at George Tambassis – PGA not PSA.

  4. Ronky

    They are not “community pharmacies”. The community does not own or run them or have any say in them. Retail pharmacies are owned and run by private individuals for the purpose of their private profit. We don’t talk of “community butchers” or “community bakers” or “community GPs” so why this nonsense about retail pharmacies?
    If we are to use the term “community pharmacists” at all, then it should refer to hospital pharmacists.

  5. Michael

    I totaly agree with the SHPA president, phamracists need to gain more skills and knowledge to be able to perform their role in a better way. In the US you study pharmacy in 6 years while here in Australia it’s only 4 years. I heard that you are not even eligible to sit for exams there to assess your qualifications. An accreditation is definitlely important to perform more comprehensive services and to have more opportunities to extend the pharmacist role.

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