s PSA media releases March 2010 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 01/04/2010         Volume. 2 No. 3   
Information to Pharmacists

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Newsflash Updates for April 2010

Newsflash Updates

Regular updates from the global world of pharmacy.
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Audit Your Future

Neil Johnston

Given the current climate regarding the PBS, now would be an excellent time to audit all your business processes and develop strategies to overcome imbalances that are occurring and will continue to occur for some time.

A specific area of audit is the prescription $ value as a ratio of total sales.

This index has been drifting out of balance for some years now so those pharmacy managers who have become complacent about this index will have to work out a quick correction.

Always in times of political pressure on PBS prices, pharmacists have expanded their commercial sales.

However, competition is so tough between the major retailers and warehouse style pharmacies, it is hard to find a niche to compete in.

But there is always a solution - find it!

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The Great Debate - an informed comment

Peter Sayers

Following on from the Rudd/Abbott debate on health reforms a great deal of expected commentary resulted.
One of the better versions was published in theage.com.au and is found at this link:
http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/health-system-is-more-than-just-hospitals-20100324-qwmg.html#comments
The article was written by Trevor Carr, who is chief executive of the Victorian Healthcare Association, that represents public hospitals, rural and regional health services, community health services and aged-care facilities in Victoria.
He states:
"The focus on beds and waiting lists ignores the role of primary care.Reform should move the health system from its current simplistic emphasis on hospitals and waiting lists to a system of interlinking elements that include acute care, primary care, early intervention, health promotion and illness prevention."

That statement is so sensible it is hard to think in any other terms. When Nicola Roxon first took up her position as Minister for Health and Ageing she came out in strong support of prevention, which meant a large slab of primary health care that pharmacy expected to be part of.
Her first foray was to establish GP super clinics.
They have been progressively introduced, but establishment costs seem to be a problem.
Also, the role of pharmacy within these clinics has never been properly negotiated or thought through.

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For Sigma, Time is Running Out

Peter Jackson

Siege mentality seems to have paralysed senior managers and executives at the troubled Sigma Pharmaceuticals, the Melbourne based pharmaceutical wholesaler.

On the 19th March 2010, Sigma chairman John Stocker prepared the market for a shock prior to when it was expected to release its results a week later, but then subsequently delayed until March 31, 2010.
The results are expected to show a write down of all company assets to bring them into line with reality. Share trading remains suspended since February 25, 2010.

As recently as September 2009 Sigma gained an ASIC clearance to raise money without a full cleansing statement and enquiries are being made as to what part the company auditors, Price Waterhouse Cooper, played in this clearance.
Sigma raised approximately $290 million at that time.
The longer Sigma delays in giving a full explanation of its finances, the more the market will speculate and worst-case scenarios will continue to emerge.

The market was looking for a profit of about $92 million, but this year it will lose at least $150m after some $250m in goodwill impairment charges.

Goodwill is the amount paid over the book value of the assets.
It works if you generate better profits from the assets, or big brand names are involved, but it is not an asset in the conventional sense of a cash-producing item.
Market analysts have pinpointed three “black” holes in the company’s operations, which in combination may have tipped the company into a financial crisis.

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Location Rules Dented

Peter Sayers

There has to be something wrong when one-third of a local community signs a petition to get something done.
Such was the case in the Victorian town of Colac when three local women decided that the service from the two local pharmacies (having a common owner) had dropped to an unacceptable level, and that prescription prices had also reached an unsupportable level.

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Primary Health Care Organisations - What's in it for Pharmacy?

Neil Johnston

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) recently criticised the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) for not being open in their negotiations involving the Fifth community Pharmacy Agreement, after it discovered that professional service funding was being “skewed”.
As a result the PSA entered into direct discussions with government to claw back some of the funding the PGA was directing towards eRx systems in the guise that this was a professional service (but was really all about gaining ongoing revenue for the PGA executive).
The PSA was able to alter the balance towards true professional service activities and in so doing, showed an initiative that indicated that it would be involved in the leadership of the pharmacy profession.
After all, it does represent all pharmacists.

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The Other Side of the Counter

Peter Sayers

Consumers of pharmacy services are becoming more vocal in specifying the type and quality of service they require.
And they are making their demands felt, both individually and collectively.
Earlier this month we saw the community of Colac in Victoria rise up against a repressive business model that was being delivered – poor prescription service and poor prices.
Now we are seeing the Consumer Health Forum organisation raising concerns in a discussion paper just released, about the uneven delivery of services under the Fourth Community Pharmacy Agreement (4CPA) and they are asking for greater accountability under the 5CPA.

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Pharmacy and the new health reforms.

Staff Writer

Health reforms proposed for implementation in mid-2010 focus primarily on doctors and hospitals.
For the moment it is difficult to see where pharmacy will fit in, and more importantly whether pharmacy will be ready to fit in.
The PSA has hinted that it has had some input with government and has stated it is developing a green paper, but unless it changes colour quickly and becomes a white paper, it means that pharmacy will have little to offer government.
The fact that the PGA was quick to jump in and identify eRx as a major pharmacy contribution belies the fact that it is a system deficient in some standards and because of that, will never be accepted by other health professions if they were to be involved with it.

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NZ and Australian pharmacies have similar problems

Staff Writer

It would seem that pharmacy in New Zealand has a lot of similarities to Australia as the following news item details.
Surely the message must get through to the decision-makers sooner rather than later?
Health programs in both countries generally have the feel of being pressure cookers about to explode with neither government seeming to have the political will to take the first simple steps i.e. actually make a decision

Source: Voxy News EngineNZ
NZ Pharmacists Can Fill Gaps To Help Reach Health Targets

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Cold Hands & Feet - It's not just an NZ problem

Staff Writer

Ever since I have known my wife, she has complained of cold hands and cold feet.
I am pleased to find that the Kiwis have discovered a reason for this.
However they think the problem is confined to Kiwi women, but I am able to tell them the problem is already existing across the Tasman.
However, the problem does have its serious side, so the story is well worth following: 

Source: nzherald.co

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/health/news/article.cfm?c_id=204&objectid=10634773

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Aged Care Reforms - All Talk and no Action

Staff Writer

Reform in health care seems to be an intractable problem.
The pace at which it is being introduced means that aged care facilities as we know them currently will collapse.
What then happens to the most vulnerable section of our ageing population?
Pharmacy has an ability to generate a “pharmacy in the home” program, but there is no coordinated effort to start this type of program. 
Instead, there are too many power plays within pharmacy treading on boundaries between the profession and the physical infrastructure.
Compounding the problem further is a grab for “turf” between the professions.
The patient is way back getting lost in the sunset.
But optimism still exists.

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World first in preventing eating disorders

Staff Writer

The only eating disorder prevention program in the world to show long-term success when trialled on early teenagers has just been released by the Flinders University School of Psychology. Media Smart is an eight-lesson program that focuses on the manipulation of images in the media, building self-esteem and teaching young people how to analyse and challenge media messages.

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Compound screening for drug development made simpler

Staff Writer

The identification of compounds that could be promising candidates for drug development has become easier following research by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute’s medicinal chemistry group.
Dr Jonathan Baell
and Dr Georgina Holloway have developed a series of ‘filters’ that can be used to weed out those molecules likely to come up as false positives when screening a chemical library for compounds that could be useful in drug development.

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Scientists in hot pursuit of first new drug for global killer in 50 years

Staff Writer

Researchers at the University of Sydney's Centenary Institute have announced that they have made an exciting discovery that could lead to the first new drug for Tuberculosis (TB) in almost 50 years

Dr Nick West, of the Mycobacterial Research Group, is looking at the genetics of TB in the hope they will reveal a way to reduce the impact of one of the deadliest diseases in the world.
Dr West said when someone is infected with TB they either become sick immediately or the disease stays inactive.
"Unfortunately, the antibiotics we use to fight TB aren't effective against latent TB and can only be used when the disease becomes active," he said.
"This is a major problem as 1 out of 10 people who have latent TB will develop the active disease, becoming sick and contagious."

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New clinical guidelines to prevent cerebral palsy

Staff Writer

A University of Adelaide researcher has announced new national guidelines recommending that women at risk of early preterm birth use magnesium sulphate to protect their babies from cerebral palsy.

Professor Caroline Crowther from the University's Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the Robinson Institute says the clinical practice guidelines are based on overwhelming evidence over the past 14 years that magnesium sulphate is effective in protecting the fetus.

"Five trials, including one funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, confirm this finding," Professor Crowther says.

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Sigma releases financial results

Staff Writer

Thursday afternoon, 31st March 2010.

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Thalidomide treats hereditary blood disorder

Staff Writer

Thalidomide, the sedative blamed for tragic birth defects, treated a rare inherited blood disorder, according to recent experiment reports.
Around one person in 10,000 has a disorder called hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia, or HHT, which causes frequent, hard-to-treat nosebleeds.

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Climate change to shed light on dengue fever

Staff Writer

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) research into the impact of climate change on dengue fever may lead to better control of the mosquito-borne disease.
Researchers from QUT's School of Public Health are examining the relationship between climate change and the incidence of dengue in the northern Queensland city of Townsville and the capital of Bangladesh, Dhaka, combined with their rapid socio-environmental changes.

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Lachlan Rose - New Face on NSW Branch Committee of PSA

Staff Writer

Manly Vale pharmacist Lachlan Rose has been appointed to the NSW Branch Committee of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia to replace Alison Roberts who has resigned to move interstate.
Lachlan is a community pharmacist at Manly Vale on the North Shore of Sydney and is a current member of the NSW Early Career Pharmacist Working Group, having previously held the position of President of the NSW Young Pharmacists Committee of the PSA.
While holding this position Lachlan contributed articles on student activities and opinion in i2P.

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iPhone application to scan for food allergens

Staff Writer

Allergy sufferers could soon be able to use their iPhone to scan a food’s barcode at the supermarket to determine whether it’s safe to eat.
The application being developed by Deakin University, GS1 Australia and Nestlé, will allow consumers to instantly access detailed product information including allergens such as wheat, egg, peanuts and shellfish directly from their iPhone.

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Sigma Battles On

Staff Writer

Sigma is not yet out of danger and control is vested in its bankers.
Shareholders will be excluded from dividends in favour of debt reduction and the banks will be monitoring management decisions for some time to come.

This certainly reduces management flexibility but fortunately for Sigma its banks waived the breaches of covenants and renegotiated their facilities with re-set covenants, presumably agreeing with Sigma that its underlying results – a profit of $67.7 million was sound. Sigma doesn’t face principal repayments until early next year.
An unusual aspect of the overall result was that while underlying earnings were down 15.5 per cent, sales were up 4.5 per cent.
That can be attributable to the increased competition and discounting towards the end of the year to January that triggered the review of intangibles but Sigma also referred to some self-inflicted damage.

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Dementia Day Care Should Help

Staff Writer

Dementia is a major health issue in Australia and is increasing in line with the ageing population.
One of the better government initiatives has been to plan and set up a range of Dementia Day Care Centres, the first of which has opened in Orange, NSW.
Given that over a lifetime we seemingly start and end in a similar state (i.e.childlike) it seems natural to find solutions for dementia patients in paralleling early childhood solutions.
We have Day Care for children now well established.
Day Care for adults will relieve the pressure for many carers and family members who act as carers.

NEW DEMENTIA DAY CARE CENTRE IN NSW

Source: Australian Ageing Agenda

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RACGP Launches e.Health Futures

Staff Writer

Electronic health communications have had many obstacles to overcome, but we now appear to be on the home stretch.
Fumbling by government has been the main problem, because they did not seem to know what they wanted, leaving many private enterprise vendors trying to guess their way into the future.
This has proven very costly and extremely inefficient.
Even when the government formed NEHTA to plan and smooth the way, the right people did not seem to be at the helm.
Now NEHTA is talking to a range of major players and the e.health agenda is suddenly coalescing as it should have done, some years back.

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Sigma still in turmoil

Staff Writer

Sigma continues to struggle to maintain its viability and obviously needs a “white knight” to come to its rescue with an offer of a friendly merger or takeover.
It is believed that some interest has developed for a transaction of this type, but may be less likely with most of the principal architects of the company's decline still in place
With the recent resignation of Mr Elmo de Alwis, attention is now turning to John Stocker (chairman) and Mark Smith (chief financial officer).

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Poor Document Assembly Processes Cause Problems

Staff Writer

The US is well advanced in the delivery of electronic health summaries and their promised benefits.
However, protocols are being found deficient to preserve the integrity of the documents.
Short cuts in the assembly of a document involving a "cut and paste" from other documents are introducing inaccuracies damaging to the content as a whole.
The danger in "cut and paste" is that an error can be perpetuated and multiplied many times with the potential to cause major harm.
It would seem that a discipline has to be exerted through proper training, particularly by new users.

Australia has the ability to put the training steps in place in advance, to eliminate this potentially serious problem.

Doc calls EHR copy and paste function a "modern medical illness"
Source: Healthcare IT News

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/doc-calls-ehr-copy-and-paste-function-modern-medical-illness

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Wanneroo GP Super Clinic gets go ahead

Staff Writer

A funding agreement between the Australian Government and Edith Cowan University will see the $10 million GP Super Clinic established in Wanneroo.
Edith Cowan University will now work with the City of Wanneroo and the North Metro Area Health Service to begin designs and develop business arrangements and clinical services.
The Wanneroo GP Super Clinic, which is being jointly funded by the Western Australian Government, will deliver additional health services to the area to take pressure off the Joondalup Health Campus, and ensure local families can get the health care they need.

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RACGP response to CoAG agreement on health reform

Staff Writer

The Council of Australian Governments Meeting (CoAG), with the exception of Western Australia, agreed to establish a National Health and Hospital Network at this week’s CoAG meeting. The National Health and Hospital Reform Commission has recommended the development of a person centred, strong, equitable, integrated primary health care system and the college is pleased that CoAG has taken this challenge up. The CoAG communiqué is available at www.coag.gov.au.

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Suddenly the PGA discovers "Pharmacists"

Neil Johnston

A media release published this week indicates that there will be an oversupply of pharmacists of around 2009 in surplus within five years.
The release was based on a recent survey of which the author details appear in the news report below.
The last survey into the Pharmacy Workforce circa 2003 indicated there would be a shortage of pharmacists.
i2P reported on that survey and commented:
” The long awaited workforce report from the Third Agreement has arrived and the news is gloomy for those wanting an early retirement or thinking about cutting their hours back. By 2010 we'll be 3000 pharmacists short of meeting demand and as far as ever from filling the gaps.
I strongly recommend any pharmacists who intend to be practicing anytime in the next 10 years read though this report (A Study of the Demand and Supply of Pharmacists, 2000 - 2010). “
Goto link:
http://www.computachem.com.au/i2P/emag/Issue13/Article8.shtml
Well, we are progressing into 2010 and the projected shortfall of pharmacists did not happen.
Why then should we believe the current projection?
To develop some thoughts on this issue we have asked Mark Coleman to comment on the Pharmacy  News report published on the 24th March 2010 which follows:

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PSA media releases March 2010

Peter Waterman

articles by this author...

Keeping you up to date with PSA activities.

Information made available from the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia by Peter Waterman.
Peter Waterman is the Public Affairs Manager for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia.
He may be contacted by telephone (02)62834782, or on mobile phone 0419 260 827

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23 March 2010
HEALTH OF CONSUMERS MUST DRIVE HEALTH DEBATE

The health debate between Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was primarily about addressing the health of the system, and not the health of Australians, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.

National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Warwick Plunkett, said the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott both focussed on funding and neither made any mention of the most accessible health-care professionals in Australia - pharmacists.

Mr Plunkett said it was clear that both parties were doctor and hospital-centric in their view of the health-care system.

Pharmacy provides huge opportunities for the health-care system, Mr Plunkett said, and any reform process that does not utilise the pharmacy profession is ignoring one of the greatest resources and assets within the system.

“We have had Government reports urging greater emphasis on primary health care and preventive health, both of which are areas where pharmacy is uniquely positioned to play a critical role,” Mr Plunkett said.

“The primary health-care team was not mentioned.  When does the Government propose to seriously focus on this crucial aspect of health care?” Mr Plunkett said.

“Certainly hospital reform is a huge component of the reform of the health system, but it is not the only component.  There are many other areas of the system which can contribute to helping the Government meet its objectives, and prime among these is pharmacy.”

Mr Plunkett said community pharmacy provides a range of professional services that help to combat some of the pressing health issues facing Australia today, including smoking cessation, diabetes and obesity.

Recognising the need for greater emphasis on preventive health, PSA has made a Budget submission in which it urges the Government to look more closely at increasing the range of professional services available through pharmacy with a view to cutting costs across the board and ensuring the sustainability of the health-care system.

“Utilising the skills and services of community pharmacies, which are the most accessible health-care professionals in Australia with a network extending across Australia, must be one of the main planks in any health policy,” Mr Plunkett said.

22 March 2010
PHARMACY SELF CARE A KEY TO PREVENTIVE HEALTH

The current health-care debate has highlighted the role of pharmacists as primary health-care providers and key to developing and implementing preventive health measures pivotal to the wellbeing of all Australians.

The Pharmaceutical Society Australia’s Pharmacy Self Care program has been a leader in both fields for more than 23 years and is continually revising and updating the program to meet current and developing needs. 

As Australia’s most successful – and longest running – professional support program in Australia, the program provides the public with authentic, authoritative and unbiased health-care information to empower consumers to make the right health-care choices and to improve their overall health literacy.

PSC has a range of tools and resources to help consumers take control of their health and improve their wellbeing, including Fact Cards which are written in an easy-to-read consumer friendly way designed to improve health literacy and give consumers appropriate information on which to base their health decisions.

More than 85 of the most-frequently-asked-about health topics are covered by the program's Fact Card health information system across 14 categories — each of which is designed to provide essential information for customers.

To ensure the program is kept up to date and relevant, staff at Self Care member pharmacies participate in regular ongoing training so they are best able to provide up-to-date and appropriate health information.

Self Care pharmacies also actively participate in regular health promotion activities which lift the profile of the pharmacy while providing topical information, advice and raising consumer awareness of current health issues.

One of the factors that makes the Self Care program stand above any others is that Self Care education is peer-reviewed and evidence-based, as well as being health condition-focused rather than product specific. 

With more than 1600 pharmacies participating, a Self Care member pharmacy is never too far away and locations can be found by logging on to the pharmacy finder under Pharmacy Self Care at www.psa.org.au

16 March 2010
OTHER HEALTH PROFESSIONS NEED SUPPORT AS WELL

The Government’s announcement of a substantial boost in GP training places, specialist training places and pre-vocational general practice placements for medical graduates is a welcome development, but other health professions need similar support, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.

National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said that in moving to the Government’s preferred primary health-care team model, it was important the difficulties facing the other professions in the primary health-care team were also recognised and acted upon.

“The decision to boost the ranks of doctors and encourage people to become GPs is a very positive first step in improving the health-care scheme and indeed in implementing the health-care reforms which are the basis of the Government’s agenda,” Mr Plunkett said.

“But other professions, like pharmacy, which are similarly pivotal to the primary health-care team, must not be forgotten.

“There also needs to be a focus given to the needs of these professions so that the effectiveness and sustainability of the primary health-care team model is assured.

“Pharmacy, for example, needs additional Government support to not only attract pharmacists to rural and regional areas but also to ensure that when they get there they are able to operate effectively in the best interests of health consumers.

“The very unique needs of pharmacists in these areas must be recognised and acted upon by the Government.”

Mr Plunkett said there were other areas which the Government needed to address, including facilitating clinical placements for pharmacists.

“We need to take action now so that all health professions are properly equipped to assist in the implementation of the Government’s health reform initiatives and to improve health outcomes for our patients.”

9 March 2010
SECOND EDITION OF ‘BLUE BOOK’ NOW AVAILABLE

The second edition of Case Studies in Practice: Medication Review (the ‘Blue Book’) written by Tim Chen, Rebekah Moles, Prasad Nishtala and Ben Basger is now available through the PSA’s Pharmacy Bookzone.

 The textbook has been completely rewritten and updated with new case studies and index. 

The ‘Blue Book’ is a must for anyone involved in Home Medicine Reviews or even for those who are just thinking about becoming an accredited consultant pharmacist.

The ‘Blue Book’ recognises that the best way to understand the value of medication reviews is through the investigation of actual cases. 

The authors have selected a wide variety of cases to help pharmacists gain an understanding of the complexity of the medication issues involved in a wide variety of different situations and circumstances.

Through reading of actual cases, pharmacists are taught a great deal about medicines, how they work, what they are used for and how pharmacists can help to gain the best possible outcomes for patients.

Study of the ‘Blue Book’ gives pharmacists added investigative and problem-solving skills which can be utilised in the examination of the broader view of why the medicine is needed, how long it should be taken and any evidence of adverse effects.

The ‘Blue Book” is available to PSA members for $80, or to non members for $120.

Go to the Books and Products section at the PSA website (www.psa.org.au) for further details.

9 March 2010
STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR OFFSHORE CONFERENCE

There is still time to register for the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s 2010 Annual Offshore Conference being held in Beijing and Shanghai from 28 April to 7 May 2010.

Conference Chairman Warwick Plunkett said the venue for the 2010 conference is particularly exciting and the conference will feature a diverse range of expert speakers

“A special attraction of the Offshore Conference is the calibre of presentations and the quality of speakers, and the 2010 conference is no exception,” Mr Plunkett said.

“The program this year has been designed with a focus on respiratory, rheumatology and business management.

“There also will be sessions on therapeutic updates which traditionally have been one of the drawcards of this educational event.

 “The Offshore Conference gives pharmacists the opportunity to be brought up to date on issues that affect them clinically and in their business operations.”

Mr Plunkett said of particular interest at this year’s Offshore Conference will be updates on the likely professional and business impacts from the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement.

“All of this is taking place against the backdrop of one of the most exciting countries in the world,” he said.

 “China’s culture and tradition have long been drawcards and its natural wonders are as diverse as they are splendid.

 “The conference program has been structured to enable delegates to get their most out of their visit to China.

“Excursions to the Great Wall of China, the Bund in Shanghai, the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian and the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River are all included in the program. 

“A special feature will be a dinner in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.” 

Attendance provides the opportunity to achieve substantial CPD points ready for the new registration requirements.

To register or for further details go to the 2010 Annual Offshore Conference website at http://www.psa.org.au/conference

5 March 2010
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH TOPIC OF CLINICAL WEEKEND

 A clinical weekend on the subject of Reproductive Health: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly will be held at Lorne, Victoria, on March 20-21.

 The extensive program for the clinical weekend will include evidence-based information on broader issues of sexual and reproductive health including: 

  • sexually transmissible infections
  • contraception
  • conception and
  • pre/post natal care

Leading clinicians from their various fields of expertise have been invited to present the latest clinical information and advice. 

In addition, group workshops facilitated by experts in the areas will complement the presentations, combining to provide a satisfying and interactive professional development experience. 

A highlight of the weekend will be a presentation by internationally acclaimed IVF expert, Professor Gabor Kovacs AM, the Monash IVF International Medical Director.

Professor Kovacs is a sub specialist in reproductive gynaecology and has been a pioneer of the Monash IVF team since his return from postgraduate training in Britain in 1978.

He has been President of The Fertility Society of Australia, Family Planning Australia, Family Planning Victoria, and Chairman of The IVF Directors' Group of Australia. He was a Councillor of the College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for six years, and chaired its Continuing Education and Women's Health Committees. He is a director of ACCESS, Australia's national infertility network.

He also is professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University and has published more than 130 scientific papers, more than 30 chapters in textbooks, and has written five books for the public and edited four textbooks.

Other speakers at the clinic will include: 

  • Dr Olga Vujovic, Infectious Disease Physician, Victorian HIV Consultancy
  • Dr Terri Foran, Sexual Health Physician, President of the NSW Sexual Health

Society

  • Ms Molika In, QUM Pharmacist, Royal Women’s Hospital
  • Joey Calandra, Pharmacist 

An added attraction of the weekend is that it is being held in Lorne, just two hours’ drive from Melbourne.  Set amongst the of Lorne’s Cumberland Resort, the venue offers an ideal seaside location especially designed to make the most of its Great Ocean Road setting. PSA has negotiated a special conference rate for delegates with Cumberland Resort, but only limited rooms are available.

4 March 2010
PHARMACY SWINE FLU TRIAL MOVES INTO PHASE II

The first phase of a swine flu vaccination program trial conducted in Tasmania by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Department of Health and Human Services has proved popular with the community.  Phase II of the pandemic vaccination program will now be rolled out to allow pharmacy-based clinics to support other elements of the swine flu vaccination program.

During Phase I last month, more than 2500 patients were vaccinated at five pharmacies by nurse immunisers in just one week.

President of the PSA Tasmanian Branch Dr Shane Jackson said the trial clearly demonstrated the value of pharmacies being used as locations for swine flu vaccination clinics.

“Patient feedback from Phase I showed that many respondents said that ‘ease of access’ was a key benefit of pharmacy-based clinics.  Many patients with chronic illness frequent pharmacies and the pilot program allowed them to have a swine flu vaccination in the normal course of their day,” Dr Jackson said.

“This meant a greater number of people received vaccinations than would otherwise have been the case.

“Most patients were able to walk into the pharmacy and have a vaccination without having to wait around for appointments, although based on feedback an appointment schedule will be employed for Phase II.”

Phase II of the trial will run Thursday March 25 to Saturday March 27 in the five original participating pharmacies.  From Thursday April 8 to Saturday April 10 it will be rolled out to a limited number of additional pharmacies based on need and existing local service capacity.

“During Phase II the vaccination clinics will be clustered around after-school hours and weekends which proved to be the most popular times for patients to have their vaccinations during Phase I,” Dr Jackson said.

Suitable pharmacy locations will have a private clinic room, a patient waiting area, and the ability to employ a (program funded) staff member to manage clinic appointments.

The DHHS and the Pharmaceutical Society will be seeking eligible pharmacies located in areas where there has been a low uptake of swine flu vaccinations such as the North-West Coast, the North East and the West Coast of Tasmania for Phase II.

4 March 2010
INTEGRATION PROVIDES BETTER HEALTH OUTCOMES

The Government’s new hospital funding package is a welcome first step in the health reform process, but will be better served when complemented through implementation of  a preventive health strategy to help minimise hospitalisations, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia says.

National President of the PSA, Warwick Plunkett, said the Government’s announcement that it will take full policy and funding responsibility for GP and primary health-care services in Australia is promising but there should be a more integrated approach which is focussed on reducing the need for hospitalisations. 

“The Government is rightly looking at ways to ensure the health system in Australia remains sustainable in the face of a growing ageing population and increased incidence of chronic disease,” Mr Plunkett said.

“But PSA believes the announced approach does not adequately look at preventing illness and maintaining the wellbeing of consumers to try to avoid hospital admissions. Hospital admissions should always be regarded as measures of last resort and there are significant opportunities in the Government’s strategy for pharmacy to provide professional services aimed at helping to prevent hospitalisations. We know that 30% of all hospital admissions of the elderly come from medicine-related problems – more than half of which are preventable by pharmacist intervention.

“PSA advocates increased emphasis on self care and professional services by Pharmacy as part of the primary health-care team.

“For its part, the provision of professional services by pharmacy is fundamental to the successful and sustainable implementation of an efficient and workable preventive health system in Australia.

“The infrastructure of community pharmacy is in place and available to ensure the preventive health measures the Government decides upon can be implemented quickly and efficiently across the whole country.”

Mr Plunkett said PSA notes the Government’s announcement is focussed on doctors and is very hospital-centric which seemingly sidelines the Government’s own views that the health system has to be more holistic and adopt a multi-disciplinary approach.

“For example, funding of training for health professionals and the Rural Incentive Scheme should include pharmacists,” Mr Plunkett said.

“There may also the danger of added bureaucracy being built into the system under the funding package and PSA would urge the Government to ensure its new measures for federal policy are indeed practical for regional implementation. The governance arrangements must enable cost-effective delivery of services.”

1 March 2010
PREVENTING AND TREATING STROKES

Stroke is Australia’s second single greatest killer after coronary heart disease and a leading cause of disability, according to the Stroke Foundation of Australia.

 The statistics also show that in 2010, about 60,000 Australians will suffer new and recurrent strokes – that’s one stroke every 10 minutes – and 1-in-5 people having a first stroke die within one month and 1-in-3 die within a year. About 50 per cent of survivors are left with a permanent physical disability.

 Compounding the problem is Australia’s growing ageing population which means the number of strokes will increase each year unless something is done to reduce the incidence rate.

 ‘Stroke - prevention and treatment’ will be a major presentation at the upcoming Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s 2010 Annual Offshore Conference in Beijing from 28 April to 7 May.

 Presented by Professor Peter Carroll, the session will look at the differences between ischaemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke and transient ischaemic attacks will be highlighted.

 Professor Carroll will also detail the medications and other strategies used in the primary and secondary prevention stroke. The role of atrial fibrillation in stroke also will be discussed.

Professor Carroll is a well-known presenter at the Offshore Conference and has been Education Director of the event for the past 16 years.

He is Honorary Professor, School of Medical Sciences, Discipline of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney. In addition, he has been a regular contributor to continuing professional education activities for pharmacists in Australia and overseas for the past 31 years and is highly regarded as a popular and practical lecturer who has the ability to present topics in a logical and easy-to-understand manner.

Attendance at the Offshore Conference provides the opportunity to achieve substantial CPD points ready for the new registration requirements.

For further details go to the 2010 Annual Offshore Conference website at http://www.psa.org.au/conference

 

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