Pharmacy Board of Australia - 2018/19 annual summary
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2018/19 annual summary

Pharmacy in 2018/19

Snapshot of the profession

  • 31,955 pharmacists
  • Up 2.7% from 2017/18
  • 4.3% of all registered health practitioners
  • 0.3% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 62.8% female; 37.2% male


Under 25 years old: 4.7%, 25-34 years old: 38.7%, 35-44 years old: 27.5%, 45-54 years old: 13.7%, 55-64 years old: 10%, 65-74 years old: 4.1%, Over 75 years old: 1.3%

Audit outcomes

Audit outcomes pie chart

  • 98.5% compliant: fully compliant with the registration standards
  • 0.8% non-compliant: non-compliant with one or more standards
  • 0.8% no audit action required: during the audit period, practitioners changed their registration type to non-practising, elected to surrender their registration or failed to renew their registration

Regulating the profession

  • 398 notifications lodged with AHPRA1
    • 3 notifications were made about students
  • Australia-wide, including Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA) in NSW and Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) in Queensland data, 560 registered pharmacists – or 1.8% – had notifications made about them
  • 44 mandatory notifications received
    • 34 about professional standards
  • Immediate action taken 19 times
  • 453 notifications closed
    • 11.5% accepted an undertaking or conditions being imposed on their registration
    • 29.1% received a caution or reprimand
    • 1.5% registration suspended or cancelled
    • 6.0% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity (HCE)
    • 51.9% no further action taken
  • 139 pharmacists monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year
  • 143 cases were being monitored at 30 June
    • 7 on the grounds of conduct
    • 23 for health reasons
    • 30 for performance
    • 21 prohibited practitioner/student
    • 62 for suitability/eligibility for registration
  • 16 criminal offence complaints were made and 21 closed
    • 11 new matters related to title protection
    • 4 related to advertising breaches
    • 1 to other offence
  • Matters decided by a tribunal: 26
  • Matters decided by a panel: 0
  • Decisions appealed: 2

1Unless stated otherwise, all notification data is AHPRA data.

Sources of notifications: 58.0% Patient, relative or member of the public, 12.1% Other practitioner, 7.8% Board’s own motion, 6.0% HCE, 3.8% Employer, 12.3% Other

Most common types of complaint: 59.8% Medication, 7.3% Health impairment, 6.3% Clinical care, 4.8% Communication, 4.5% Behaviour, 17.3% Other

A report on the year from the Chair

The work of the Pharmacy Board of Australia built on initiatives from last year and was informed by an extensive program of stakeholder engagement.

Prescribing discussion paper

The Board hosted the Pharmacy Prescribing Forum (the forum) in June which was attended by a wide range of stakeholders including consumers, pharmacists, regulators and government representatives. Participants explored the opportunities for pharmacist prescribing of Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines that could be implemented and sustained as part of a broader range of health services to effectively meet the health needs of the community.

Following the forum, the Board published a report, which provided a summation of the issues raised and discussed by participants about the potential for pharmacists to prescribe through each of the three models of non-medical prescribing outlined in the Health Professionals Prescribing Pathway.

The Board published a discussion paper to progress the forum’s outcomes and a range of consultation questions to further explore:

  • possible frameworks for pharmacist prescribing in the Australian context
  • models of pharmacist prescribing of Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines
  • education and training considerations
  • legislative considerations
  • maintaining competence to prescribe, and
  • whether an endorsement for scheduled medicines would be required for pharmacists to prescribe.

Feedback from a broad range of participants expressed a range of views. During 2019/20, the Board will analyse the feedback and publish a report which is expected to advise the degree of support for prescribing by pharmacists and may include recommendations about any additional work required, including:

  • additional evidence to be gathered if sustainable prescribing models in the public interest are supported
  • an indication of the roles of the profession and stakeholders in progressing next steps
  • any further engagement with stakeholders and the public to clarify feedback, and
  • details about any proposed regulatory work that would need to be completed to support any proposals for pharmacist prescribing.

Research and analysis

Following the development during 2018 of the Intern Year Blueprint (blueprint) by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC) with funding from the Board, the next stage of the project started. The blueprint will become the framework used to determine future options for assessing pharmacy interns against the revised competency standards for pharmacists. The Board, in collaboration with the APC, formed the Intern Year Blueprint Implementation Working Group (the working group), to develop a strategy to determine the most appropriate and effective type of assessment for each competency from the range of choices described in the blueprint, and to identify the organisation with the prime responsibility to develop and administer the assessment. The working group will continue to meet during 2019/20 and engage with stakeholders.

The Board conducted the National Pharmacy Internship Experience Survey, a large-scale survey to investigate issues relevant to the quality of the intern training experience. Interns and preceptors who participated provided feedback on their own intern training experiences. The results of the survey were analysed and a report was prepared. A stakeholder engagement plan is being developed to guide future engagement and action during the next reporting period. The results of the survey are anticipated to guide policy development regarding future arrangements for supervision of interns and are also likely to provide useful insights to be taken into account in reviewing assessment processes for interns.

Board member induction

The Board developed an induction program for newly appointed Board members to complement National Scheme induction and governance training. Upon appointment by Ministers, seven new Board members were inducted. New members were also supported by an ongoing program of mentoring to facilitate their transition to their roles and effective participation at Board and committee meetings.

Accreditation agreement

The Board, the APC and AHPRA signed a new five-year accreditation agreement starting 1 July 2019. The accreditation agreement is a contemporary framework designed to address key accreditation issues. The agreement also includes principles for funding and fee setting and new key performance indicators to track progress on priority issues.

I am pleased to present this report of the Board’s activities in this my first year as its Chair.

Mr Brett Simmonds, Chair

Page reviewed 12/11/2020