Welcome to the October edition of i2P (Information to Pharmacists).
A lot has been written about our ageing population and what strains it may place on the health system. The National Seniors Agency report that our ageing population will have as big an impact on our society as will climate change (see article in Aged Care section).
Pharmacy must plan appropriate strategies for an ageing population dealing with chronic health problems and major shifts in climate change simultaneously (see article in Climate Change section).
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Retailing is fine tuning its approach to the servicing of an ageing population.
And why wouldn’t it – seniors are rapidly becoming a significant demographic and will continue to rise in numbers over the next 30 years.
In case you haven’t heard, the “Baby-Boomers” are set to officially retire from 2010 onwards – and as a group they have a significant financial clout.
Given their growing physical limitations and their focus on health-related products, there will be dramatic shifts in what they buy and where they shop.
Current store layouts present challenges for elderly shoppers in that worsening eyesight makes finding items more frustrating, arthritis complicates browsing and reduced balance intensifies the strain of stooping or reaching for products.
For obvious reasons, the ATO is breathtakingly efficient, as is Centrelink, albeit for different reasons.
The former collects as much as possible and the latter dishes out as little as possible.
Like those pesky Jehovah’s Witnesses, both are relenting in the pursuit of getting in your face, which is all entirely understandable of course.
Regrettably, the Patent Office is less efficient.
The heading is probably a touch presumptuous, but not many teenagers read these pages.
Mrs. Wright, feeling poorly and incapacitated, recently urgently dispatched this writer to the local pharmacy, rather than her favoured pharmacy that is some distance away.
I marvel at the fact her temporarily reduced state of health has not impinged upon her ability to bark instructions.
My threat to not remove the thermometer from her mouth is met with a less than gracious comment that leads me to think my death may be imminent.
This local pharmacy is a reminder that attention to detail is critical.
A long, narrow pharmacy, the front door is off the street and the rear door, where the professional service area is, adjoins a car park where most of the shop traffic comes from.
The problem is, access is by way of negotiating a flight of stairs with a gradient not dissimilar to Mt Everest.
This is a good reason for me to boycott the place.
Why should it bother?
The pressures of our rapidly ageing population combined with the determination of the Rudd Labor Government to introduce major reforms directed at restructuring the Primary Health Care system leaves the PSA with only one choice - become more relevant in its own right; or face the consequences of becoming increasingly irrelevant and even more subservient to the Guild than it is today. There are no other options.Comments: 3
Fair dinkum, we can be forgiven for not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
As the situation with e-health machinations continues to drift, and basic services continue albeit in some jurisdictions to fail, we have to ask when the beginning of the end will happen so we can start again.
Despair and anger must be rising wide and deep across the working level of the health sector as the mushroom treatment continues apace. While, all the while, not much gets better in terms of basic support infrastructure.
Sometime ago I opined that perhaps we should call a halt to the wide ranging talk about e-health activity until the basics are in place on which to build reliable reform. At least the front line care givers wouldn’t be distracted by talk of pilots, reviews, reports, recommendations and other operational change, real or imagined, until a time when it can be made to happen on solid IM foundations.
Hence, the preliminary focus might be better aimed at achieving some key objectives in the short term:
* getting ICT information and business practice, pipes and plumbing working satisfactorily particularly in the financial chain with an empathise on visibility over liquidity and waste, and
* restructuring the bloated and underperforming ‘management layers to lessen the interfering and nitpicking that passes for management, with locally empowered people who can actually run huge operations with responsibility and integrity.
Pharmacists from across Australia and across the Tasman gathered in Sanctuary Cove in September for the Pharmacy 2009 Conference.
Around 250 community pharmacists and their suppliers were challenged from the outset as Professor Kerryn Phelps, the former Federal AMA President now at Sydney University’s Faculty of Medicine in the Schools of Public Health and General Practice expressed her concerns regarding the development of health clinics in community pharmacies.
US scientists have uncovered a defence mechanism in bacteria that allows them to fend off the threat of antibiotics.
It is hoped the findings could help researchers boost the effectiveness of existing treatments.
Source: BBC News - Health
The feminisation of pharmacy is occurring in most western economies and mostly for the same reason - the ability for women to work shorter and more flexible hours at a high hourly rate.
Many women have progressed to becoming committed pharmacy owners.
One pharmacy in British Columbia, Canada, has taken their pharmacy to a new level - one where only women will be treated and one where males are actively discriminated against.
That form of discrimination is technically illegal in Canada (and Australia), but males do not seem to be protesting.
Just goes to show how easy going and accommodating we males can be.
It has not happened yet in Australia, but some variations have occurred e.g. there are a number of pharmacies that only hire female staff.
Discrimination in any form should never be a part of Australia's pharmacy landscape.
Women-only pharmacy opens in Vancouver
By: Fred Gebhart, Contributing Editor, Drug Topics
Research Australia is the peak not for profit body for health and medical research.
According to its latest poll, many people are skipping health visits to various practitioners.
One would suspect that this may also be the case for pharmacy as well, but pharmacy visits did not seem to make this particular poll.
Nonetheless the statistics are interesting and should be analysed against your own individual results per pharmacy practice.
Around two thirds of Australians support a tax on junk food in a bid to stop people eating large amounts of unhealthy meals.
Research Australia said 64% of people contacted in its latest annual public opinion poll support a tax on junk food in an attempt to reduce excessive consumption and avoid the damaging health effects.Comments: 1
The Productivity Commission has recently released a report titled "The Annual Review of Regulatory Burdens on Business: Social and Economic Infrastructure Services research report". It was released on the 15th September 2009 and highlights aged care and health along with a range of other general infrastructure services. The following information gives a brief overview.
The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine and report on the relative performance of the public and private hospital systems, and related data issues.
However, it may not be possible for this study to be completed due to the paucity of data available from the public system.
Private hospitals have to prepare financial records for taxation purposes, but the imperative for the public hospital system is totally different.
Pat Gallagher has written a lengthy article that will be found in the "Opinion" section, or the Information Technology segment.
It's worth a read.
National Seniors Australia has welcomed Treasurer Wayne Swan’s recognition of population ageing as an issue with society-wide implications that need to be tackled now.
Mr Swan spoke today at the launch of the Australian Institute for Population Ageing Research and released an estimate that over the next 40 years, the number of people aged 65-84 years will more than double and the number of people aged 85 and over will increase by more than 4½ times.
The information "super highway" is being pushed into Australia's fastest growing demographic - our seniors.
With high profile people like Michael Kirby promoting the issue, pharmacists should take heed e.g. in the collection of patient data, is there provision to include a patient's email address?
If this basic data has not become an everyday tool, then you may be left behind as "savvy seniors" learn to communicate with those health professionals who accommodate them and endeavour to provide cheaper and more efficient services.
A report compiled by National Seniors Australia has found 60 per cent of baby boomers are being forced to retire later than preferred, a figure likely to be further compounded by the effects of the global financial crisis.
The research review from the National Seniors Productive Ageing Centre titled:
"My Generation- Are Australian Baby Boomers the Retiring Kind", brings together research on the retirement plans and expectations of Australian baby boomers from several key studies undertaken over the past four years.
A major dispensing error has been reported in the US and we think it is an issue that is worth covering in our Pharmedia section, which is designed to focus opinion and perspective on a specific issue.
Earlier this year we reported on a locum pharmacist in the UK (Elizabeth Lee), sentenced to a three-month jail term, suspended for 18 months.
Go to http://www.i2p.com.au/article/ordeal-uk-pharmacist-ends
She was working at a Tesco pharmacy, that mistakenly issued propranolol instead of prednisolone for a 72-year-old patient, who died three days later in hospital.
The court heard that Mrs Lee was working 10-hour shifts without a break when the wrong drug was issued.
Elizabeth did not dispense the drug, nor was it determined who did, but being the pharmacist in charge, Elizabeth bore the full force of the law.
The judge said Mrs Lee bore “no factual or legal responsibility for the patient's death”, which a pathologist had determined was due to the patient's underlying long-term illness.
Mrs Lee voluntarily undertook not to practice her profession again and there was widespread sympathy and support for her circumstances.
The general opinion was that pharmacist errors should be decriminalised in the UK.
In the case of Eric Crop, pressure was generated because of a workplace computer breakdown and a backlog of prescriptions subsequently occurring.
Pressure created a loss of focus that further involved a miscalculation of the quantity of one ingredient that was given in overdose.
A very young cancer patient died.