The week in review

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack with Judy Plunkett and NSW Guild president David Heffernan.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack with Judy Plunkett and NSW Guild president David Heffernan.

The start of July brought a pay rise, a cut to penalty rates and a collection of new PBS listings

We took a look at what readers thought about the recent award pay rise handed down by the Fair Work Commission, the first half of which came into effect on 1 July (as did the latest round of cuts to penalty rates). See what readers said here… as well as PSA national president Dr Chris Freeman‘s thoughts on how pay could be lifted.

The start of the month also saw amendments to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law come into effect, which will see people who pretend to be registered practitioners face the up to a maximum term of three years imprisonment per offence.

Western Australia‘s Health Department published its report into several aspects of community pharmacy, saying pharmacists are underutilised and can do more; this was slammed by AMA state president Andrew Miller, but welcomed by Pharmacy Guild WA branch director Matthew Tweedie, who called on GP groups to work with pharmacy to improve public health.

Meanwhile, a statewide audit in NSW found that the recent incident in Sydney where two GPs had not adequately maintained the cold chain was not isolated: a small number of additional GP practices had not been monitoring vaccine storage according to national guidelines. The state is now strengthening its rules for GP vaccine storage.

Health Minister Greg Hunt outlined the latest PBS listings, as well as the proposed fee for new or relocated pharmacy applications, and changes around bankruptcy to ensure supply of medicines. Also in politics, the National Party has made enabling pharmacists to prescribe trimethoprim for acute UTIs one of its official policies.

In one of our most-read stories this week, a study found treatment with short-acting beta2 agonists (SABA) alone was inferior to other approaches in terms of asthma attacks, and Professor Andrew Bush said that “the blue inhaler is a killer”.

The TGA rolled out a campaign discouraging Australians from keeping strong pain medicines “just in case“.  The SHPA‘s Kristin Michaels expressed disappointment in funding cuts to hospital pharmacy. And stakeholders welcomed the announcement of real time monitoring in Queensland, but have some concerns about potential violence from patients.

Congratulations go to Neil Petrie, who won the 2019 Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy (AACP) MIMS Consultant Pharmacist of the Year Award; and the new leadership team at the Australian College of Pharmacy, to be headed by President Chris Owen.

And at AJP, we’ve launched our latest campaign: we want to find out who you, our readers, think are the most influential people in Australian pharmacy. Let us know, here.

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