June 2016

Issue 12


Chair’s message

Welcome to the twelfth edition of the Pharmacy Board of Australia’s newsletter.

A number of initiatives have come online since the last newsletter and I’d like to draw your attention to these. Of particular relevance are those aimed at making the Board’s processes clearer and more accessible, namely additional resources available on the Board’s website to assist students (PowerPoint presentation), pharmacists in general (infographic on pharmacists’ obligations) and for registrants and the general community (video on objectives and role of the National Scheme1).

There is also some detailed and timely information on the implementation of the revised Registration standard: Professional indemnity insurance arrangements and the annual continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for pharmacists.

We hope you will find the newsletter interesting and its content relevant. Your feedback is always welcome.

William Kelly
Chair, Pharmacy Board of Australia


1The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

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Meetings in Hobart

The Board held a stakeholder meet-and-greet event in Hobart on Thursday 21 April 2016, before the Board meeting held in Hobart the following day.

The Board welcomed over 50 attendees to the meet and greet, including students, registered local community and hospital-based pharmacists and key pharmacy stakeholders from around Tasmania.

Northern Territory practitioner Board member Bhavini Patel gave a presentation on lifelong learning for pharmacists, and the need for pharmacists to plan their CPD and reflect upon CPD activities completed. This was to assist attendees in understanding the Board’s new CPD requirements, including the requirement for pharmacists to develop and maintain a CPD plan.

During the Hobart visit, the Board also visited the University of Tasmania where members were able to view a simulation teaching laboratory and innovative pharmacy practice simulation tools for students. Board representatives also met with representatives from the Tasmanian Pharmacy Authority and spent time at the Hobart office of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

The Board holds two interstate meetings a year to provide an opportunity for Board members to meet local pharmacists and stakeholders.

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Registration standards and audit: reminder

When renewing their registration by 30 November each year, pharmacists are required to make declarations about their compliance with the Board’s registration standards. The Board and AHPRA conduct annual audits of pharmacists’ compliance with registration standards

Audits are an important part of the way National Boards and AHPRA can better protect the public. They help to ensure that practitioners are meeting the mandatory registration standards and provide important assurance to the community and the Boards.

Audits of practitioners are continuing, and they have been uncoupled from the registration renewal cycle, meaning that pharmacists can receive an audit notice at any time of the year.  

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Revised professional indemnity insurance arrangements standard starts 1 July 2016

In December 2015 the Board published a revised registration standard for professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements which will come into effect on 1 July 2016. The revised standard will replace the standard that is currently in place, and will apply to all registered pharmacists except those with non-practising registration.

What do I need to do?

It is your responsibility as a pharmacist to ensure that you comply with the revised standard by the time you renew your registration, which is due by 30 November 2016.*

What has changed?

The revised standard has not changed significantly compared to the standard that is currently in place, continuing to set a minimum amount of cover of $20 million which reflects the industry standard.

There have been some minor changes to the requirements, with the revised standard specifically requiring policies to have retroactive cover and automatic reinstatement. There is also additional detail in relation to:

  • third party cover and run-off cover
  • the need to conduct a self-assessment and seek expert advice on whether more than the minimum amount of cover is required
  • the need to notify the Board within seven days if PII arrangements are no longer in place
  • the required evidence of the PII arrangements in place, and
  • consequences if a pharmacist does not meet the standard.

Transition period to meet the new standard

The Board published the standard well in advance of its starting date to give pharmacists adequate time to ensure that their arrangements for PII will meet the new registration standard. To ensure a smooth transition to the new standard, the Board has allowed for a transition period to meet the standard.

All pharmacists must meet the revised standard by the time they renew their registration which is due by 30 November 2016.*

Until that time, it is acceptable that your PII arrangements meet the Board’s registration standard for PII arrangements dated 1 July 2010. However, if your PII arrangements policy is due for renewal in the meantime you should ensure that your new policy meets the new standard.

What if my PII policy is not due for renewal before I renew my registration?

If your PII arrangements policy is not due for renewal before you renew your registration, you will need to contact your insurer, and if necessary, have your policy adjusted so that it meets the new standard by the time you renew your registration.

The Board encourages all pharmacists to review the new registration standard to check whether their current PII arrangements will need to be adjusted to meet the requirements of the new standard.

*Pharmacists whose registration is not due for renewal by 30 November 2016 must meet the requirements of the new standard by 30 November 2016.

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Continuing professional development – are you up to date?

The current CPD recording period for pharmacists ends on 30 September 2016. Between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016, pharmacists (except those holding non-practising registration) are required to have achieved at least 40 CPD credits in accordance with the current Registration standard: Continuing professional development (CPD registration standard) and Guidelines on continuing professional development (CPD guidelines).

The CPD registration standard introduced a requirement that all pharmacists develop a CPD plan on an annual basis, which assists in identifying areas in need of further development.

Periodic review and amendment (if required) of your CPD plan will enable you to reflect on whether the activities you completed enabled you to achieve these goals. This may lead to additional CPD activities to address professional development needs.

With the start of the next CPD recording period on 1 October 2016, you will need to develop a CPD plan for the next twelve-month period. This may require you to update the competencies in accordance with any changes in your scope that will enable the delivery of additional services. For example, if you want to expand your scope of practice to include vaccination administration you may need to add to your CPD plan the competencies relevant to vaccine administration, which would highlight the need for suitable training (as determined by the relevant authority in the jurisdiction of your place of practice).

On its website, the Board has published frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the annual CPD requirements and a blank template CPD plan/record to assist pharmacists to develop and maintain their own CPD plan and record their activities.

An example of this CPD plan/record which has been populated is also available in the FAQ, which you can use as a guide. A number of pharmacy professional organisations provide a CPD plan and recording tools as part of their membership services and these are acceptable provided they meet the Board's minimum requirements.

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Quarterly registration data

The Board publishes quarterly data profiling Australia’s pharmacy workforce.

At March 2016, there were a total of 29,634 registered pharmacists comprising the following number of registrants according to registration type:

  • 26,743 – general registration
  • 1,856 – provisional registration
  • 11 – limited registration, and
  • 1,024 – non-practising registration.

The quarterly registration data at March 2016 for the pharmacy profession are published on the Statistics page of the Board’s website. The report includes a number of statistical breakdowns.

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PowerPoint for pharmacy students

The Board recently published on its website a PowerPoint aimed at pharmacy students, which explains the path from study to a career in pharmacy and the requirements for registration.

The PowerPoint, titled ‘Pharmacist registration: What you need to know’, outlines what the Board does, what registration means, and how the profession is regulated under the National Scheme. Board guidance for safe and effective practice and the role of AHPRA are also explained.

It is important that graduates clearly understand what it means to be registered and what their obligations are when seeking initial registration and throughout their career as a pharmacist.

The PowerPoint is published on the Student registration section of the Board’s website.

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Infographic on pharmacists’ obligations

An infographic showing the obligations of a registered pharmacist was published on the Board’s website in April.
The simple infographic highlights what a pharmacist’s obligations are under the National Law and will help pharmacists ensure they do the right thing as one of the 14 regulated health professions.

Obligations of all health practitioners registered under the National Scheme include completing and recording CPD and maintaining recency of practice to stay registered.

Other obligations include notifying the Board in writing within seven days if charged with or convicted of an offence punishable by 12 months jail or more. The Board also needs to be told within 30 days if a pharmacist has changed their principal place of practice, name or address.

The infographic is published on the Registration page of the Board’s website.

The objectives of the National Scheme and the actions that support them are shown in an infographic published in the What we do section of AHPRA’s website.

Obligations of a registered pharmacist

Pharmacy - Infographic - Obligations of a registered pharmacist

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Practice advice

Review of guidance on the expiry of compounded parenteral medicines

The Board’s public consultation on draft revisions to the currently postponed section Expiry of compounded parenteral medicines in its Guidelines on compounding of medicines (compounding guidelines) closed on 30 March 2016.

The Board is reviewing the submissions received and further discussions are taking place with relevant stakeholders to ensure that revised guidance, once finalised, will provide appropriate safeguards for the public. The Board will provide further updates once all feedback has been considered, and the submissions will be published on the Board’s website unless the individual or organisation has requested otherwise.

Pharmacists who compound any medicine must be mindful of the associated risks, and are reminded that all compounding should be carried out in accordance with relevant legislation, practice standards and guidelines including the Board’s published compounding guidelines.

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Methotrexate incidents

Following recent publication of research in the Medical Journal of Australia about methotrexate-related adverse events, the Board reiterates its previous advice to pharmacists about dispensing methotrexate. We remind you to ensure appropriate dispensing procedures are followed at all times and that medications are clearly labelled, including for dose administration containers.

The Board’s Guidelines for dispensing of medicines, published on its website, focus on safe dispensing and labelling of medicines and include an outline of the dispensing process and specific guidance on dispensing errors.

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Nomenclature compendium of commonly used Chinese herbal medicines

The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia commissioned the development of a Nomenclature compendium of commonly used Chinese herbal medicines (compendium), which is published on the Chinese Medicine Board’s website along with a user guide.

The searchable compendium cross-references almost 700 commonly used Chinese herbs, and allows the user to enter the authorised Pin Yin name for a medicine to easily identify what herbal medicine a patient is taking and obtain other useful information about the medicine. Pharmacists may find this information helpful in their practice.

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National Scheme news

New video outlines objectives and role of the National Scheme

AHPRA has recently launched a new video (with an accompanying infographic) explaining the Australia-wide scheme that is in place to protect members of the public.

Aimed mainly at the community, the video outlines how AHPRA, working in partnership with the 14 National Boards, helps regulate Australia’s 630,000-plus registered health practitioners through a national scheme.

The video explains how the National Scheme works and how patients are protected.

Both resources are available on the What we do page of the AHPRA website. The video can also be watched on AHPRA’s YouTube channel

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Family and domestic violence – Queensland and Victoria state reports released

The Board is committed to being part of the solution to major health and social problems as best we can within our mandate as a regulator of pharmacists.

Everyone should feel safe at home. Tragically, many people across Australia face great danger at home from the people closest to them. Family violence can affect anyone, regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity or sexuality and it not only impacts on victims, but also their family, friends and the wider society. Health practitioners who often work closely with families could also be in the right place at the right time to help families who fall victim to such violence.

The Board wants to make pharmacists aware of two significant reports recently released on this issue, including one in Queensland and one in Victoria.

The Queensland Government commissioned a special taskforce to conduct an inquiry into domestic and family violence in Queensland. The Taskforce’s report ‘Not Now Not Ever - putting an end to domestic and family violence in Queensland’ made 140 recommendations to Queensland and national bodies, including three to the National Scheme.

In Victoria, the Royal Commission into Family Violence released its report and recommendations on how Victoria's response to family violence can be improved. The Commission's 227 recommendations are directed at improving the foundations of the current system, seizing opportunities to transform the way that we respond to family violence, and building the structures that will guide and oversee a long-term reform program that deals with all aspects of family violence. Though there were no specific recommendations directed towards AHPRA or National Boards, several referenced the important role the health system and health professional bodies have to play in influencing child safeguarding and in improving the accreditation and training for health practitioners in this area.

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Performance reporting – a new era

We recently published our first quarterly performance reports, by state and territory, for AHPRA and the National Boards. The reports cover our main areas of activity; managing registration, managing notifications and offences against the National Law, and monitoring health practitioners and students with restrictions on their registration.

The reports are available on the AHPRA website. We invite your feedback on the reports via email to reportingfeedback@ahpra.gov.au

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Community Reference Group advises the National Scheme

AHPRA and the National Boards have a commitment to work with the community, and this has continued to grow over the past three years with the increasing involvement and contribution of our Community Reference Group (CRG).

Established in June 2013, the CRG meets quarterly and has a number of roles, including providing feedback, information and advice on strategies for building better knowledge in the community about health practitioner regulation.

We recently welcomed six new members to the CRG and we’re looking forward to their contribution to the work of the National Scheme.

The CRG also has a new Chair, Mark Bodycoat, who has an extensive background in regulation and consumer affairs. As Mark says, ‘The main objective of professional regulation in schemes like the National Scheme is maintaining public safety. To do this properly, regulatory schemes must be relevant, responsive and effective.’

Mark believes that community groups help to focus on issues of importance as they affect the wider community, and their input helps to ensure that regulatory schemes are focused on the right concerns. A body like the CRG provides a consistent channel by which issues of significance to the community can be heard and addressed.

To read more about Mark and the CRG, see the Winter issue of the AHPRA newsletter.

Further information is available on the Community Reference Group webpage.

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Choosing Wisely Australia campaign: five questions to ask your healthcare provider

AHPRA and the National Boards are promoting a new public awareness campaign. In March, the Choosing Wisely Australia campaign released 61 recommendations centred on the theme ‘five things clinicians and consumers should question’.

The recommendations aim to help consumers start a conversation with their healthcare professional about the kind of healthcare they are receiving, including whether imaging and screening is necessary, when to use antibiotics and how to start a conversation on how to improve end of life and palliative care.

The campaign is part of a global Choosing Wisely healthcare initiative and the recommendations are the collective advice of 14 Australian colleges, societies and associations.

The Choosing Wisely Australia website provides a number of useful tools that you might want to share with your colleagues, friends and family including a fact sheet on ‘5 questions to ask your doctor or healthcare provider’, which has been translated into 10 languages.

AHPRA has posted links to the Choosing Wisely campaign on Facebook and Twitter.

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Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit the Pharmacy Board website for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines and FAQ. Visiting the website regularly is the best way to stay in touch with news and updates from the Board.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries, call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9275 9009 (for overseas callers).
  • To update your contact details for important registration renewal emails and other Board updates, go to the AHPRA website: Update contact details.
  • Address mail correspondence to: William Kelly, Chair, Pharmacy Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

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Page reviewed 30/06/2016