The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) has enthusiastically embraced the Albanese Labor Government's announcement of a scope of practice review. This development aligns with SHPA's enduring commitment to advancing pharmacist-led prescribing practices within collaborative healthcare settings. SHPA aims to invest in the specialised skills and recognition integral to fostering a safe and expanded scope of pharmacy practice.
The "Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce Review," recently introduced by The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health and Aged Care, derives its impetus from the Strengthening Medicare Taskforce Report's recommendations. This review champions multidisciplinary, team-based care as a means to cultivate trust and collaboration among healthcare professionals while simultaneously broadening the scope of practice.
Hospital pharmacy has long been a bastion of collaborative care in Australia. Pharmacist-led prescribing programs have been in place to varying degrees for over a decade, positioning Australia at the forefront of innovative healthcare practices. SHPA President, Tom Simpson, emphasises that harnessing the specialty skills of hospital pharmacists through an expanded scope of practice will lead to more robust healthcare systems and improved patient outcomes.
"We've dedicated the past decade to successfully piloting pharmacist-led prescribing programs in hospitals. These programs have proven to be ten times safer for patients, resulting in a 10% reduction in hospitalisation times," notes Mr. Simpson. "We've showcased this collaborative model to Minister Butler and Assistant Minister McBride in both metropolitan and regional hospitals, where pharmacists and doctors work in unison to deliver better and safer care while significantly reducing medication chart prescribing errors."
The efficacy of this model is evident, and it has garnered recognition and support from various government bodies. SHPA looks forward to the possibility of a nationally consistent approach to collaborative pharmacist-led prescribing programs, thus extending the benefits of this collaboration to a broader patient base in diverse healthcare settings.
As the scope of practice review progresses, SHPA actively advocates for a nationally recognised approach that would integrate this proven model of collaborative care into hospital practices across the country.
In a recent development, SHPA announced its National Credentialing program for Partnered Pharmacist Medication Charting (PPMC) as part of its Transformation 2024 agenda. Mr. Simpson underscores that the safe and evidence-based introduction of pharmacist-led prescribing is now achievable thanks to the continuous growth of specialty pharmacy practice.
"Specialty pharmacy is not a future prospect; it stands as a cornerstone of our practice today," he asserts. In addition to pharmacist-led prescribing, specialty skills in clinical disciplines enable pharmacist-led stewardship programs encompassing antimicrobial, anticoagulant, analgesic, and antipsychotic treatments. These initiatives, in turn, help mitigate delays in treatment and reduce the duration of hospital stays.
As part of the Transformation 2024 agenda, SHPA's forthcoming pharmacy recognition program will acknowledge the unique experiences of Australian pharmacists and technicians. This represents a significant stride toward cultivating a complementary workforce operating at the pinnacle of their scope, thus ensuring the delivery of optimal, safe, and efficient patient care.
Details regarding SHPA's new pharmacy recognition program will be unveiled at the 81st FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (FIP 2023), scheduled to take place in Brisbane from September 24 to 28, 2023.
For more information on SHPA's initiatives and the scope of practice review, please visit SHPA's official website.
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