St Vincent’s report highlights hospital pharmacist role


The Society of Hospital Pharmacists has expressed its support for the findings of NSW Health’s final report into Off-protocol prescribing of chemotherapy for head and neck cancers as occurred at St Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst.

The report into Dr John Grygiel’s off-protocol prescribing of chemotherapy for people with head and neck cancers details a culture of conflict and mistrust that exists in the oncology department at St Vincent’s Hospital, says NSW Health.

The review, led by the state’s Chief Cancer Officer Professor David Currow, found there was a failure by St Vincent’s Hospital clinical staff to recognise and report the incidences of flat dose prescribing of carboplatin for 103 patients between 2006 and 2015.

“It is essential that the community can have confidence in their treatment for extremely serious conditions such as head and neck cancers,” says SHPA CEO Kristin Michaels.

“Hospital pharmacies are a core service in the delivery of cancer services, and play a key role in the monitoring and dispensing of medications.

“The recommendations of the report specifically recognise the important role and responsibilities of Hospital Pharmacists.

“SHPA welcomes the recommendations that Hospital Pharmacists have greater involvement in multidisciplinary cancer care teams, and that there is an increased focus on the process of escalation when clinical concerns are raised,” Michaels says.

“SHPA is keen to work with our membership to support members to raise concerns about quality use of medicine in clinical practice, and to meet the requirements set by our Standards of Practice in Clinical Oncology.

“SHPA strongly supports the roll out of digital and e-health technology across all Hospitals to improve quality use of medicines within cancer services.

“SHPA and its members would like to express their deepest sympathies to the families affected for the distress that this has caused them.”

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