s Access all Areas - Is This a Positive for Pharmacy? | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 03/10/2013         Volume. 5 No. 9   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the October homepage edition of i2P - Information to Pharmacists.
Well it seems that change in pharmacy will be continuous and will come from unexpected quarters each time it strikes.
The only way pharmacy can survive this continuous change is to either embrace it with a strong new business plan, sell out or amalgamate with partners who see strength in a strategic partnership.

And while many pharmacists are finding the key to successfully selling clinical services, the lead time to bring a single service on line may be too long to make a suitable financial contribution.
Coupled with the fact that the AMA will fight tooth and nail to prevent pharmacy making any inroads whatsoever, the time has come to take them on.
Vaccination services could be the first disputed service as the AMA has already voiced strong opposition to the possibility of pharmacists providing these services.

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Recent Comments

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for October 2013

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P. 
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated

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Feature Contribution

A new era for American pharmacies has begun

Fiona Sartoretto Verna AIAPP

The birth of the first drugstore in 1929 in the USA represented a big revolution for that time: an innovative store design, a new concept of retail store, fair pricing and a wide exposition of products. 84 years have passed by and nothing has changed in the today’s American pharmacies, with the exception of the most important factor: the customers!In fact, while the new technologies, the computers and the smart phones have created far more attentive, curious, and informed customers, the drugstores and the American pharmacies remained the same: big, wide exposition of products in low gondola shelving without any customer service or help during the buy.

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Access all Areas - Is This a Positive for Pharmacy?

Neil Johnston

That pharmacy is in need of a renewal process is not in dispute.
That every man and his dog become instant pharmacy experts when a debate on pharmacy is opened is an expected phenomenon.
And when it is perceived that the "experts" have little knowledge of pharmacy but want to reduce pharmacists' incomes (already and constantly under siege), without engaging the range of aspirations pharmacists already hold, they wonder why it suddenly becomes a non-event.
If a discussion paper emerged that had genuine pharmacist input I would think that most pharmacists would participate in discussion of it.
In other words don't insult our intelligence by placing us in a pecking order that is uninspiring or menial in its approach.
But do approach us with intelligent conversation that has no hidden agendas and is honest in its approach, and do not try to impose your view of the pharmacist's role from your limited perspective.
Then we can all get on with some form of positive collaboration.

Comments: 1

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CHF Responds to Article

Neil Johnston

The Consumer Health Forum has responded to a recent i2P article on the resignation of Carol Bennett.
The article can be found at:
http://www.i2p.com.au/article/consumers-health-forum-ceo-announces-resignation

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A Misplaced Medical Judgement

Mark Coleman

Approximately two weeks ago a Dr David Smith published an opinion piece in an online medical publication that was very derogatory towards pharmacy's professionalism.
It is one of many articles that seem to be "planted" in unison with other articles or events.
For example, the release of a Grattan Institute paper titled "Access All Areas", hinting at an expanded role for pharmacists in primary health care.
The article was authored by Dr David Smith who describes himself as "a GP and a consultant in clinical and corporate ethics".
Smith's comments are certainly a bit rich when you consider that pharmacy has always been involved with primary health care and when you further consider his client base he loses all credibility.

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A “new way” for PBS supply to all Australians – ANAO told

Rollo Manning

In a submission to the Australian National Audit Office review of the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement, Pharmacist and PR Consultant Rollo Manning has advocated for a “new way” of supplying Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines and services to Australian Taxpayers that will:

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Researcher Gains Funding

Judy Wilyman

Editor's Note: Judy Wilyman is a dedicated researcher working her way towards a doctorate in science.
Her research concerns vaccinations but mention the word vaccination, and suddenly the board lights up with what I call "the Skeptic Lunatic Fringe" who spring into action and attack anything that detracts from their "party line".
They will throw out statements like "proven to be discredited" and "not evidence-based"like confetti in the breeze.
The irony of their efforts is that their own statements are not evidence-based, nor are the people involved qualified in any medical discipline. Some statements border on defamation, while others are just outright lies.
One critic making comment on i2P calls himself a doctor.
He is entitled to do, but he is not a medical doctor, having earned his doctorate in another discipline.
Add deception for the lunatic fringe as well.

i2P would like to congratulate Judy on receiving funding to present her current research at the 3rd World Congress on Cancer Science and Therapy to be held in San Franciso in October 2013.
It may prove to be an important wake up call to governments (including the Australian government) who promote and subsidise this form of treatment.

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REGROUP, RE - GROWTH - The dawning of a new reality.

Barry Urquhart

There is an increasing awakening among business owners - big, small and micro - that the consequences of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), the end of the capital expenditure mining boom and the debt dilemmas of Europe have included unintended, undocumented and non defined changes in business cultures, philosophies, policies and practices.
Customer service standards, relationships and instances of referrals have all been adversely affected

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Eight Key Factors That Will Maximise the Value of Your Business

Chris Foster

One of the major reasons why you start and build or buy a business is to be able to sell it at some time in the future for a profit.
What are the factors that will maximise your selling price?
It's really important to understand this early so that you can put in place the necessary systems to ensure that you build a business that is saleable.

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Acute low back pain - does anything help?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

Most of us experience low back pain (LBP). When it persists, we look for ways to alleviate it. In Australia, back problems are the most frequently seen musculoskeletal condition by General Practitioners (GPs) and the seventh most common reason for seeking care. National guidelines from the UK suggest that patients should try acupuncture, manual therapy or an exercise program. A range of medical devices are promoted for pain relief. Are they all placebo treatments or do some work?

Comments: 1

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Ex-Patient and a Consultant in Pharmacy Automation

Mark Neuenschwander

My name is Mark Neuenschwander. I have been a patient and I am a consultant in the field of pharmacy automation.
It was 27 years ago that Wrigley's opened the door by putting a barcode on a pack of chewing gum. It was really a statement of faith because grocery stores and drugstores didn't have scanners.  But their faith was not in vain.  Within a decade, virtually every item on the shelves of those drugstores and supermarkets had a barcode, and the vast majority of checkout stands were equipped with scanners to read them.

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Learning business and life lessons at the Farm

Harvey Mackay

I’ve always been a city boy – I can’t even coax a weed to grow.
But I discovered a national treasure, practically in my own back yard, which makes me wish my thumbs were greener.

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AMA Predictably Reacts to Grattan Institute Primary Care Plan

Neil Johnston

It was predictable that Steve Hambledon, AMA president, would be negative to the primary health care solutions as proposed in the Grattan Report published recently.
In my response to the paper Access All Areas co-authored by Stephen Duckett, I pointed out that having pharmacists involved in areas of diagnosis and prescribing produces an extreme response from the AMA plus inferred derogatory comments relating to pharmacy.
As I said in my response, pharmacists are fed up with the medical profession.

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AWARENESS? WHAT AWARENESS?

Staff Researcher

Editor's Note: Recently, in my own home town, the Cancer Council organisation decided to change location to a new office approximately 45 minutes away. The office was  well fitted out with quality furniture and computer equipment, plus miscellaneous office items that included filing cabinets, shredders and photocopiers.
The surprised incoming tenant (an allied health professional) was told that she was now the proud owner of all these assets free of charge so that the Cancer Council could avoid the problems and costs of cartage and storage of the above items.
The value of all the items was estimated at around $25,000.
Needless to say the offer was gratefully accepted but I personally, no longer donate to Cancer Council charity programs.

It seems that in different forms, this phenomenon may be global.


OHMS Newsletter October 11, 2013.
Commentary by Ralph Campbell M.D.
Recently, our local paper promoted a 3K walk/run for "a cure for heart disease" with photos of participants of all sizes and shapes.
For enjoying the camaraderie and the feeling of sacrifice for a good cause, the participants paid a $25 entry fee that went to the American Heart Association (AHA) to promote awareness.

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3D Printing Will Change the Face of Medicine and Pharmacy

Neil Johnston

Pharmacy could be on the verge of a very exciting and rewarding professional pathway with some useful research being conducted in Scotland where 3D printing technology is being married up with stem cells and genomics to produce your own tissue for personalised drug testing and then modifying your drug to create a smooth journey through any lifestyle disorder anticipated in your genes.
The printing technology is cheap.
To create a professional business opportunity, all you are required to do is prepare yourself over the next five years by absorbing suitable education and plotting some medium term investment.
i2P believes that this technology is so important that pharmacy leadership groups should begin immediately to seize the high ground for this issue and not let the opportunities slip away to other health practitioners.
It will be one of the best opportunities to have a "hands-on" participation at the centre of primary health services.

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Health insurance start-up secures VC funding

Staff Writer

Editor's Note: We have previously highlighted Covad Health Insurance as a product pharmacists should consider supporting.
Health insurance has always had a natural fit with pharmacy and there is no doubt that if pharmacists get behind this product, it will be a major success.
The income stream available as commissions on premiums would be a welcome addition in these times of difficulty in achieving financial stability and well-being.
i2P believes that this could also represent an opportunity for a health insurance business to advocate for, and champion, pharmacy clinical services and develop a real working partnership.
That might represent a promising future for both sides of the relationship equation.

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Mental Health Week – pharmacists looking after pharmacists

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Editor's Note: It is becoming quite noticeable that business confidence has depleted in pharmacy ranks since economic environments have become tougher.
Poor leadership has also made a contribution.
As conditions for pharmacy employers and employees tighten, stress-related illness begins to emerge as everyone adjusts to the new economic uncertainties.
Depression is the outcome of prolonged stress and anxiety.

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Baby's Neck Not Broken by a Chiropractor

Mark Coleman

Recently, newspaper reports have surfaced relating to an incident involving the chiropractic treatment of a young child.
It was reported that a four-month-old Melbourne baby sustained a fracture to the upper cervical vertebra following an adjustment
In both Sydney and Melbourne papers, an allegation was made that a Chiropractor broke the baby’s neck. The CAA issued a release to all media outlets in all States within hours of the publication rejecting the allegation.
The allegation was subsequently investigated by AHPRA. No finding of inappropriate treatment was made. No finding was made that any treatment performed by the Chiropractor caused a fracture as alleged.

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Professional Pharmacists Pay Tribute to Carol Bennett

Professional Pharmacists Australia Spokesperson

Professional Pharmacists Australia today congratulated Carol Bennett on her time as the CEO of the Community Health Forum, wishing her all the best in her future endeavours.

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Observations on implementing pharmacy clinical services

Peter Sayers

It’s not easy implementing a clinical service program and success is related as to how close the service offered is to traditional dispensing and counselllng services.
Also how long a pharmacist has personally known a patient and how trusted the relationship is with that particular patient.
It shows how much pharmacists have collectively fallen down, because I have found strong relationships are sparse in my own world, and those of my colleagues.
Any attempt to fast-track a relationship is viewed with suspicion and apparent mistrust.
So it’s the long haul that has to be put in place first and forward pharmacy has to be implemented and seen to be in place, well before a new service is able to be sold.

Comments: 1

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3D Printing Will be Disruptive for Vaccine Manufacturers

Staff Writer

Editor's Comment: What pharmacy leadership organisation has the role of actually driving pharmacy practice?
The number of real opportunities (including that of 3D printing as illustrated in the following article) are multiplying as new disruptive technologies emerge.
3D printing represents the ultimate in drug compounding and pharmacy needs to be front and centre here.
How can these technologies be harnessed and absorbed into some form of future pharmacy strategy
that could really advance the profession of pharmacy instead of perpetually "running on the spot"?
Surely there is some sort of practice research going on?

Comments: 3

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Turning plastic bags into high-tech materials

Staff Researcher

University of Adelaide researchers have developed a process for turning waste plastic bags into a high-tech nanomaterial.
The innovative nanotechnology uses non-biodegradable plastic grocery bags to make 'carbon nanotube membranes' ? highly sophisticated and expensive materials with a variety of potential advanced applications including filtration, sensing, energy storage and a range of biomedical innovations.

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Research shows huge potential of sweet sorghum as a multi-product crop

Staff Researcher

A new Australian-based research study into sweet sorghum has shown the huge potential of the crop as a single source of energy, food and animal feed.
Sweet sorghum is receiving significant global interest because of its potential as a multi-product crop, however there has been minimal research under Australian growing conditions or using Australian processing facilities, until now.

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Converting Hand-Written Notes to Digital Notes

Staff Writer

Pharmacists have always been notorious for their penchant for leaving "sticky" notes attached to dispensing benches, cash registers and various other places. While efficient for the moment, long-term display of old notes looks very untidy and eventually deteriorates to inefficiency.
The cloud-based productivity tool, Evernote, (which I believe is a pharmacy essential) has extended its reach into another important branch of note-taking through a partnership with the classic 3M Post-It Notes. In a move similar to the Evernote Moleskine notebook, which was released last year, the note-taking and organization software company is blurring the line between digital and analog again, enabling users to preserve their real-world jottings and access them from anywhere.

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Common Symptom Guide - Android App Review

Staff Writer

Purpose of App Review

 * to review the utility of Common Symptom Guide App for a clinician
 * to evaluate the medical evidence this App uses

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Pharmacist Scope-of-Practice Bill Now Law

Staff Writer

Editor's Note:
The world's legislator's are finally waking up and discovering a very useful and economic health worker called a pharmacist.
Continually overlooked because of medical lobbying, it looks as though medicos are finally pricing themselves out of business.
Initiated in California, a new bill allowing a wider scope of practice in primary health care has been passed and is likely to spread throughout the US and most western economies.
I have often commented in i2P that pharmacists started to become invisible in primary health care around the year2000, and despite energetic lobbying by pharmacy leadership groups, the debate seemed to be consigned to oblivion.
The wheel is turning finally and we may yet see an energetic and useful health system evolve from pharmacy ranks.

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Consumers Health Forum CEO announces resignation

Staff Writer

As a sometimes controversial figure to some leadership segments of pharmacy, Carol Bennett attempted to inflict change upon pharmacy that was not always well-founded.
She co-opted two other partner organisations to assist, both known to be anti-pharmacy in sentiment.
A petition was organised by the CHF to promote their point of view, but it was a dismal failure beside the Pharmacy Guild petition promoting a somewhat opposite view (over 1 million signatures).
On top of this, early enquiries by pharmacists wishing to join the CHF uncovered the fact that the CHF was not a representative forum for individual consumers at all, but an aggregate of large associations and businesses whose interests would not necessarily reflect those of individual consumers.

Comments: 3

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SHPA thanks Carol Bennett

Staff Writer

By Suzanne Newman

SHPA is sad to learn that Carol Bennett has resigned as CEO of the Consumers Health Forum.
SHPA has enjoyed a good working relationship with Carol and has valued her leadership and advocacy for health consumers.

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International digital media expert Jye Smith to guide industry on navigating social media at ASMI’s 2013 Conference

Marie Kelly-Davies

With social media reaching into every aspect of Australian lives, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has secured international expert Jye Smith to present key insights on “Social Media and the Healthcare Consumer” at its annual conference in Sydney on Thursday 14 November.

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Good bone health relies on calcium and vitamin D working in combination

Marie Kelly-Davies

The systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of vitamin D supplements on bone mineral density conducted by the University of Auckland should not discourage Australians from taking a preventative approach to osteoporosis, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) said today.

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Herbal medicines sold legally in Australia assured of high quality

Marie Kelly-Davies

Consumers can continue to have confidence in the quality and safety of complementary medicines (herbal medicines, nutritional and dietary supplements) that are legally sold in Australia, the Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) has today advised.

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Advancing Complementary Medicines in Australia: International regulatory expert Michael Smith to share insights at ASMI Conferen

Marie Kelly-Davies

The Australian Self Medication Industry (ASMI) will leverage the international experience of pharmacist and licenced naturopathic practitioner Michael Smith at this year’s conference to explore the evolving role of complementary medicines in preventative health.
In Australia, vitamins, mineral and supplements (known as complementary medicines) represent the largest and fastest growing segment in the non-prescription sector, with two-thirds of Australians taking them regularly to optimise their health and wellbeing.1

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3D Printing Will be Disruptive for Vaccine Manufacturers

Staff Writer

Editor's Comment: What pharmacy leadership organisation has the role of actually driving pharmacy practice?
The number of real opportunities (including that of 3D printing as illustrated in the following article) are multiplying as new disruptive technologies emerge.
3D printing represents the ultimate in drug compounding and pharmacy needs to be front and centre here.
How can these technologies be harnessed and absorbed into some form of future pharmacy strategy
that could really advance the profession of pharmacy instead of perpetually "running on the spot"?
Surely there is some sort of practice research going on?

Comments: 3

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Primary Health Care and Pharmacy Clinical Services

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note:

Pharmacy leaders, academics and education providers have suddenly become alert and attentive to a paper recently released by the Grattan Institute.
Although I personally remain cynical as to where the recommendations within that paper (titled Access All Areas ) will take pharmacy, nonetheless it has created a spark of activity across an otherwise bleak landscape.

Governments have long squandered opportunities that have been available to them through the profession of pharmacy.
This has probably come about because of the top heavy list of advisers drawn from the medical profession over a long period of time.

Could this be a signal that policies may finally be changing to embrace the potential that pharmacists could be unleashed over the primary health care community.

I have asked Mark Coleman to comment on the following  Pharmacy News media report item that contains a response from both the PSA and the PGA.

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Access all Areas - Is This a Positive for Pharmacy?

Neil Johnston

articles by this author...

Neil Johnston is a pharmacist who trained as a management consultant. He was the first consultant to service the pharmacy profession and commenced practice as a full time consultant in 1972, specialising in community pharmacy management, pharmacy systems, preventive medicine and the marketing of professional services. He has owned, or part-owned a total of six pharmacies during his career, and for a decade spent time both as a clinical pharmacist and Chief Pharmacist in the public hospital system. He has been editor of i2P since 2000.

That pharmacy is in need of a renewal process is not in dispute.
That every man and his dog become instant pharmacy experts when a debate on pharmacy is opened is an expected phenomenon.
And when it is perceived that the "experts" have little knowledge of pharmacy but want to reduce pharmacists' incomes (already and constantly under siege), without engaging the range of aspirations pharmacists already hold, they wonder why it suddenly becomes a non-event.
If a discussion paper emerged that had genuine pharmacist input I would think that most pharmacists would participate in discussion of it.
In other words don't insult our intelligence by placing us in a pecking order that is uninspiring or menial in its approach.
But do approach us with intelligent conversation that has no hidden agendas and is honest in its approach, and do not try to impose your view of the pharmacist's role from your limited perspective.
Then we can all get on with some form of positive collaboration.

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And by the way, don't forget the one million plus pharmacy consumers who signed a recent PGA petition to preserve their pharmacy from dishonest governments trying to fill a budget by suppression of negotiated PBS payments.
We do seem to get some things right.
These pharmacy consumers that are actually real people, are not able to join a supposedly representative consumer body like the Consumer Health Forum (CHF), yet this entity purports to represent all consumers and is seeking to change pharmacy to their view of the world.
They also provide unqualified comment.

A paper just published by the Grattan Institute and authored by Stephen Duckett and Peter Breadon titled Access All Areas has just been released.
The paper highlights the deficiencies in primary care and endorses the use of pharmacists and physician assistants to fill gaps.
While there appears to be a space for pharmacists in this paper, it appears to be limited, terminating in a "dead end".

Stephen Duckett is a co-author to the above paper.
He is an economist, a former head of the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Australia and was sacked as chief executive of a Canadian health service after refusing to stop eating a cookie rather than talk to the media.

He was dubbed the "Cookie Monster", after he left a meeting with health care leaders in Edmonton eating a cookie and refused to talk to waiting media about the health crisis in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Stephen Duckett, was headhunted in 2009 from Australia to be in charge of the newly created Alberta Health Services. But his tenure ended abruptly after a video went viral of him munching on a cookie as he walked past the media and ignored their questions except to tell them "I'm eating my cookie".
He issued an apology the day after the incident saying he deeply regretted his behaviour and said he respected journalists' right to ask timely questions in the public interest.

Currently he is Director of the Health Program at Grattan Institute and Professor of Health Policy at La Trobe University. He has held top operational and policy leadership positions in health care in Australia and Canada, including as Secretary of what is now the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.

So one would assume that he still maintains influential contacts within the health bureaucracies here in Australia.
Stephen Duckett has recently taken on the mantle of pharmacy expert within the Grattan Institute and started the attack on the manner of PBS pricing transparency procedures as negotiated between the PGA and the Australian government. His arguments seemed to have influenced the government to secretly set aside provisions of that contract, severely impacting on pharmacy cash flows.
This, in fact, triggered the PGA petition response
The following is an extract from Access All Areas:

The first step is to make much better use of pharmacists’ skills.

Pharmacists are highly trained, have deep expertise in medicines,and are located in communities throughout Australia.
But their role is far more limited in Australia than in many other countries.

With the agreement of GPs and patients, pharmacists should be able to provide repeat prescriptions to people with simple, stable conditions. They should also be able to provide vaccinations and to work with GPs to help patients manage chronic conditions.

 We also need to increase access to other services, including diagnosis, which currently only GPs can provide. Australia should introduce physician assistants, health workers who practice medicine under the supervision of a doctor. There is good evidence that physician assistants could expand the care available in under-served areas, without compromising quality or safety, and at an affordable cost.

 The proposals in this report only apply to the seven rural areas with the worst shortages of GP services. They can be in place within five years. In 2011-12, they would have resolved the worst shortages for just $30 million. The costs would mostly have been offset by fewer, or less costly, hospitalisations as a result of better population health.

Too many people have waited too long to get primary care. But the solution is surprisingly achievable, if we’re willing to adopt new responses to an old problem.

The problem is simpler to resolve than what is stated in the Grattan Institute paper, and that is to accredit pharmacists in differential diagnosis, independent prescribing and the giving of vaccinations.
Then improve collaborative arrangements between GP's and pharmacists, because the development of Physician Assistants all but eliminates collaboration- and it is a high cost solution.
If conflict of interest is perceived in any of these activities, then limit accreditation(s) to non-owner pharmacists.

Already nurses are doing what Physician Assistants are proposing to do.
I believe pharmacists have had sufficient training in prescribing through our basic training course- we are already the experts in drug management.
This single educational upgrade is all that is required to create a very strong primary health care provider very quickly.
But note in the above excerpt, immediately the word diagnosis is introduced the text quickly takes you to the Physician Assistant without any further role here for pharmacists.

Over my entire professional career (spanning 57 years) I have noted tha whenevert any attempt to have pharmacist diagnostic skills recognised immediately causes confrontation, accompanied with absolute hysteria from the medical profession.
You will note in the Grattan Institute paper that this type of role is being developed in the form of a Physician Assistant, which is a very expensive solution.
The funny thing is that pharmacy education is regarded as a good basic education for a medical student prior to transferring to a medical school and becoming a qualified doctor.
In public hospitals, pharmacists are the people that complete the prescriber training for medical interns.

The Physician Assistant role is not a new one and was instigated some years ago, with formal training being developed through one of the Queensland universities.
A lot of interest was generated, but the course had to close because of insufficient support.

When pharmacists first started talking about consultant pharmacists we suddenly saw the birth of medically developed clinical pharmacologists.
My belief is that physician assistant courses are being resurrected because pharmacist interest in delivering a range of clinical services is currently heightened. Clinical pharmacists are currently researching opportunities for practice within community pharmacies given that government is more intent on commoditising prescription activity rather than assist pharmacists in developing an expanded role in primary health care.
Thus in a proven medical model strategy, countering the perceived pharmacy threat through the development of Physician Assistants is their solution.
Where is their space for a collaborative role between clinical pharmacists and medical practitioners?
In reality it has never existed - but it ought to.
Before 1960, pharmacists were the main providers of primary health care, but with the  NHS initial introduction of free doctor visits and free prescriptions, pharmacist opportunity to maintain this primary health care dominance was severely curtailed.
It really was the medical equivalent of a discount supermarket attack on pharmacy and it icontinues non-stop.

The Physician Assistant (PA) profession is hugely popular in the United States with over 80,000 PAs in practice. The Physician Assistant concept has been adopted by many other countries including; Canada, UK, The Netherlands, and South Africa.
Now a course is offered through James Cook University, with a range of other universities throughout Australia poised to deliver full-time courses.
This educational background has been quietly developed and is almost ready to "go live" with even an Association of Physician Assistants having been formed.
It is rolling out like a well-oiled machine and students are yet to enroll in the course.
I am wondering how that fits with the New Australian government’s position on reduced university student intakes?

The Bachelor of Health Science (Physician Assistant) course in Australia is offered through the JCU School of Medicine and provides individuals with previous healthcare experience the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver clinical medical services under the supervision of a doctor or physician.

The interdependent relationship between the Physician Assistant and their medical supervisor is considered a defining feature of the profession, and distinguishes it from other health care roles. Physician’s Assistants are trained to perform many of the tasks previously done solely by medical practitioners, including history taking, physical examination, diagnosis, and treatment. This course particularly focuses on educating healthcare professionals who will provide medical services within a team based practice model in rural and remote locations in Australia.

Keep in mind that the new pharmacy services seem to be only on offer in low primary care access areas (seven in total)and that proposed payments are well under GP payments (up to 50% less than for normal GP fees).
Whatever happened for the equal pay for equal work concept that is at the heart of the Australian industrial system.
Physician Assistants, however, are required to accept the bulk billing fee under Medicare, still well above payments suggested for pharmacists in the "Access all Areas" paper.

I sincerely hope our leadership bodies are dissecting this Grattan Institute report in minute detail to ensure that there is an equitable balance, because it does not exist at the moment
It is not designed to provide any great benefit or recognition for pharmacists.
Indeed it is heading in the opposite direction.

Stephen Duckett was the first academic to condemn PBS payments to pharmacists that involved a phasing in of price transparency.
He did not compare apples to apples preferring a New Zealand model for pharmacy instead of the Australian model- and that model is not travelling too well in its early development.
That model was the trigger for a government to renege on a legal agreement and plunge Australian pharmacy into financial turmoil.

Free enterprise competition is the only system that ensures fair consumer prices for health services.
Managed health care always creates distortions and are manipulated against consumers.
Pharmacy schools and pharmacy governing bodies should invest in education that allows pharmacists to practice competitively against all other health modalities.
Some have already started to provide suitable education.
That means accreditation for vaccinations services, prescribing services and diagnostic services.
Give pharmacists the tools to compete.
We already have all the other skills and the ability to enhance them, coupled with around 5,000 pharmacies to deliver them.

That way we can honour those one million plus pharmacy patients and customers who valued our services provision sufficient to put their signature on a petition.
That type of support is pure gold and it is little wonder the medical profession is working overtime to derail pharmacists at all levels.
That is also the real reason our health services are so expensive and why Australia lags behind all other countries in having an integrated primary health care service.
And it is not hard to fix.

GP’s will always be in short supply because of their propensity to specialise for a higher fee structure.
They do not have the dedication to service the more remote regions of Australia so we will perpetually fail to deliver a universal health system.
It's a cynical system when the medical profession continually rort the public purse to persuade governments to continually fund GP training, knowing that the GP's will jump ship and become specialists located in urban and city areas. That's expensive training and the Abbott government should review this activity.

Medicare simply cannot sustain its current model which is already broken.

Return to home

Submitted by Michael Timmins on Sat, 05/10/2013 - 11:20.

as a pharmacist who has worked in Pharmacy since 1960 and been a practising ph'cist since 1965 I feel that the way for us to survive is to continue giving caring service to all who come to but we must be remunerated in an adequate manner for the free advice that we are continually giving

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