Pharmacy Board of Australia - Annual report tells how the Pharmacy Board of Australia took a risk-based approach to regulation in 2016/17
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Annual report tells how the Pharmacy Board of Australia took a risk-based approach to regulation in 2016/17

15 Nov 2017

The Annual Report for AHPRA and the National Boards for the year to 30 June 2017 is now available to view online.

Over the past year, registration with the Pharmacy Board of Australia (the Board) grew by 2.2% to 30,360 registered pharmacists. This contingent now comprises 4.5% of all health practitioners in the National Accreditation and Registration Scheme (the National Scheme), according to information published today in the annual report by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). 

‘The theme of the year was research,’ said Mr William Kelly, Chair of the Pharmacy Board of Australia. ‘On behalf of the Board, AHPRA’s Risk-based Regulation Unit completed a study of complaints about pharmacists, which provided an evidence base to better inform the development of regulatory standards for the profession.’

The Board also continued its consultation into proposals for revised guidance on the compounding of sterile injectable medicines and funded and participated in the review of the National competency standards framework for pharmacists in Australia 2016, as well as piloting a survey of interns and preceptors to look into issues relevant to the quality of intern training experience.

‘The Board proactively engaged the profession and stakeholders to ensure the information and guidance we provide is easy to understand, up-to-date and relevant,’ said Mr Kelly. ‘This work included updating website content and revising a guide for oral examination candidates.’

A snapshot of the profession in 2016/17:

  • Easy to renew: This year saw the largest online registration renewal rate ever achieved across all 14 registered health professions. Over 98.5% of all registered health practitioners renewed online and on time, with 99.1% of pharmacists renewing online.
  • Increased registration year on year: Pharmacists comprise 4.5% of all health practitioners registered in Australia, and the registrant base continues to grow (up 2.2% from 2015/16 to 30,360 registrants).
  • Students on the register: As at 30 June 2017, there were 7,540 registered pharmacy students (up 3.6% from 2015/16).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on the register: According to a workforce survey that practitioners can choose to fill out at the time of registration/renewal, 0.2% of pharmacists are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (73 pharmacists nationally).
  • Complaints received about pharmacists: 373 notifications (complaints or concerns) were lodged with AHPRA about pharmacists in 2016/17. This equates to 1.8% of the profession. One notification was lodged about a pharmacy student.
  • 51 mandatory notifications were made about pharmacists: 44 were about standards, six about impairment and one about alcohol or drugs.
  • Immediate action was taken 21 times during the year to suspend or cancel a pharmacist’s registration while a matter was investigated.
  • Of the 355 matters closed about pharmacists in 2016/17: 18% resulted in the Board accepting an undertaking or conditions being imposed on an pharmacist’s registration; 30.1% resulted in a caution or reprimand; 1.7% resulted in suspension or cancellation of registration, and 49.3% resulted in no further action being taken.
  • Statutory offence complaints: There were 53 statutory offence complaints made about pharmacists in 2016/17 (up from 13 in 2015/16). The majority (40) were about advertising breaches; 13 related to use of a protected title.
  • Active monitoring cases as at 30 June 2017: 200 pharmacists were monitored during the year for health, performance and/or conduct.

‘There are now almost 680,000 registered health practitioners across Australia,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘This Annual Report highlights our strong and shared commitment with the Board to ensure the public has access to a competent, qualified registered health workforce and to take decisive action when required to keep the community safe.’

To view the 2016/17 annual report, along with supplementary tables that segment data across categories such as registration, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, see
Annual Report microsite.

In the coming weeks, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in each of the 14 registered health professions. Jurisdictional reports, which present data on registered health practitioners in each state and territory will be published in December.

For more information

Page reviewed 15/11/2017