Last week, The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) launched the FIP Nutrition and Weight Management Services: A Toolkit for Pharmacists. The toolkit will give pharmacists the necessary supports they need to have candid conversations with patients about their weight.
According to University of Sydney School of Pharmacy Associate Professor Ingrid Gelissen, “pharmacists have an opportunity to make an even greater impact on the health of their communities.” Gelissen believes they can do this by involving nutrition and weight management as an integral part of their approach to patient care.
Goncalo Sousa, FIP Practice Development and Transformation Lead, added that poor diet is responsible for more deaths than tobacco smoking or any other behavioural risk factor.
“Up to five million deaths per year could be prevented if populations were more physically active,” he said. He also spoke about pharmacists’ role in the equation, saying “Pharmacists, while primarily trained to promote health through pharmacological means, are ideally placed to help people to improve their nutrition and manage their weight.”
Sousa believes that pharmacists are accessible to patients who may have difficulty making the necessary lifestyle changes for better health. The FIP toolkit is giving pharmacists the nutrition knowledge and weight management tactics needed to truly help their patients.
The list of Covid-19 exposure sites continues to grow
Over the past few weeks, another nine community pharmacies were added to the now long list of exposure facilities in Victoria. Five Chemist Warehouse (CWH) locations were also added to the list last weekend, and customers who visited between 6:30 pm and 7:37 pm on 17th May were advised to get tested.
On the Victorian government website, you can find the list, as well as the various tiers of exposure. People who have visited Tier 1 exposure sites must get tested immediately and observe a 14-day quarantine.
Individuals who visited Tier 2 exposure sites are advised to get tested and wait for a negative result before they can be cleared. Tier 3 exposure level requires individuals to observe themselves for any symptoms and isolate until they get a negative result.
The government needs to let pharmacists vaccinate
President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Victorian Branch, Anthony Tassone urges both State and Federal governments to put aside their differences and approve pharmacy vaccinations.
“The Guild has been in ongoing contact with the Victorian Minister for Health and Department of Health over the weekend imploring them to activate community pharmacies,” he said.
“Limitations of supply and certainty of future deliveries of vaccines stock continue to be the barriers put to the Guild as to why pharmacies have not been activated in Victoria,” he continued.“Over 800 community pharmacies in Victoria have been approved to deliver the COVID vaccination … [but] queues of up to six hours build up at mass vaccination centres.”
Tassone further explained that pharmacies across Victoria are ready and eligible for vaccinations but they simply don’t have the stock. This affects the patients who may have to wait for weeks before securing a GP appointment.
“Whether one thinks the vaccine roll out is a ‘race’ or not, what we know is pharmacies aren’t even on the track and the relay team needs help for the next leg to help finish the job.”
Reconciliation Australia endorses PSA’s Action Plan
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) aims to build on current reconciliation initiatives in the organisation and push the agenda of reconciliation using action and awareness.
According to PSA National President, Associate Professor Chris Freeman, “RAP provides a strategic framework that will ensure PSA is a culturally safe workplace and welcoming for everyone, irrespective of their cultural heritage.”
“As the peak body representing pharmacists, Australia’s most accessible workforce, PSA is ideally placed to improve medicine safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, particularly in rural and remote communities,” he added.
According to Freeman, the development of the RAP signifies the organisation's commitment to ensuring the cultural awareness and literacy of all staff and members.
The PSA’s RAP is divided into two stages: Reflect and Innovate. The Reflect stage aims to help the organisation gauge its position in relation to reconciliation. This then rolls over into the innovative stage where the organisation will continue its reconciliation journey.
PSA NT/SA State Manager, Helen Stone, who was a key driver of the project, stated, “providing culturally safe health care comes with understanding and acceptance of the impact that generational disadvantage has had and continues to have on the mental and physical health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
“The development of this RAP is a commitment to ensure the cultural literacy of PSA staff towards being a culturally safe workplace which is then reflected in our member education and practise support services.”
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