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December 2023

Issue 39 - December 2023


From the Chair

For the Board, 2023 has been a busy year, with the review of standards and guidelines including the Guidelines on compounding of medicines and the supervised practice registration standard. The Board’s project to develop accreditation standards for prescribing education programs will also be completed. Read more about our work below.

Registration renewal for pharmacists with general and non-practising registration closed on 30 November and the late renewal period will end on 31 December 2023. Anyone who does not renew by this date will have their name removed from the register. If you have not yet renewed, we urge you to do so.

On behalf of the Board, I thank all pharmacists who took part in our stakeholder event held in Darwin on Wednesday 22 November 2023. We welcome these opportunities to engage with the profession and hear your views on current issues.

I wish you all a safe and happy festive season and all the best for 2024.

Brett Simmonds

Chair, Pharmacy Board of Australia


Board news

2023 in review

During 2023, the Board publicly consulted on revised Guidelines on compounding of medicines and held a forum with stakeholders to explore options for supervised practice for intern pharmacists. Work continues to finalise these updates in 2024.

The following Board guidelines are also under review, and we expect to publicly consult on revised drafts during 2024:

  • Guidelines for dispensing of medicines
  • Guidelines on practice-specific issues
  • Guidelines on dose administration aids and staged supply of dispensed medicines
  • Guidelines for proprietor pharmacists.

When we reach the public consultation phase, we will publish the papers on our Current consultations webpage and notify all stakeholders. We encourage all pharmacists to have your say during public consultation.

The Board’s project to deliver Accreditation standards for pharmacist prescriber education programs will conclude this month. The Board funded the work and it was completed by the Australian Pharmacy Council (APC), the accreditation authority for the pharmacy profession. Once finalised, the accreditation standards will be used to accredit prescribing education programs that ensure that pharmacists who successfully complete a program meet all the competencies in the NPS MedicineWise Prescribing competencies framework (2nd edition). The Prescribing competencies framework describes prescribing expectations for all prescribers in all health professions.

We will be providing more information and an update on the Board’s accreditation standards soon.

During 2023 we also engaged with the profession on a number of issues, including the stakeholder forum to explore options for supervised practice, visits to Adelaide, Sydney and Darwin, as well as attendance at the FIP World Congress in Brisbane, where we participated in a workshop for international regulators.

In collaboration with Ahpra, we are streamlining registration processes to make them simpler for registrants. This includes changes to English language requirements that allow applicants to re-sit specific parts of the test rather than restarting the entire process.

Visit to Darwin

On 22 November, the Board hosted a stakeholder reception in Darwin attended by students, registered local community and hospital-based pharmacists, and pharmacy stakeholders.

The Board welcomed the opportunity to engage with stakeholders and discuss local issues as well as Board work currently underway such as the review of registration standards and guidelines.


Practice advice

New case study published

The Board publishes case studies to help pharmacists understand and meet their professional and legal obligations. A new case study was published this month.

Accepting gifts from patients

A pharmacist was alleged to have exerted undue influence on a patient and received money and gifts as well as being made a beneficiary in the patient’s will. Read more on the Board’s Case studies page.


Students and graduates

Graduate registration is open – apply now and avoid delays

Need help applying?

Check out our graduate video to help you get your application right.

You’ll find the video, plus helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay, and downloadable information flyers, on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website.

A new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement and Support team (the support team) is also available for First Nations graduates who might need help with or have questions about their application for registration.

The support team is committed to helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander graduates get registered promptly so you can start making vital contributions to safe healthcare and to your communities. If, after reading our helpful tips, you would still like help with your application for registration, please email the support team at [email protected].

Who can certify documents?

In addition to Justices of the Peace, most registered health practitioners, public servants, teachers, lecturers and members of the legal profession can certify photographic ID documents. For the full list of authorised officers see the Certifying documents guide.

Make sure you provide correct photo ID

It's important that you provide correctly certified photo ID documents with your application as the wording required is specific:

‘I certify that this is a true copy of the original and the photograph is a true likeness of the person presenting the document as sighted by me.’

To get it right the first time, download the Certifying documents guide and take it with you to the authorised officer.

Meeting the registration standards

You may need to provide supporting documents with your application to prove that you meet the Pharmacy Board’s registration standards. Make sure you provide all the documents we need with your application so we can assess it more quickly

How long does it take to assess my application?

We can’t finalise your application until we receive your graduation results from your education provider.

If you’ve submitted everything needed to prove you’ve met the requirements for registration, we aim to finalise your application within two weeks of receiving your graduation results.

For more information, read the news item.


Registration news

Latest workforce data released

The Board’s latest quarterly registration data report covers the period to 30 September 2023. At this date there were 36,670 registered pharmacists, including:

  • 32,678 with general registration
  • 2,486 with provisional registration
  • 21 with limited registration
  • 1,485 with non-practising registration.

For further data broken down by division, age, gender and principal place of practice, visit the Board’s Statistics page.


What’s new?

New checklist launched to help practitioners manage complaints

A new Checklist for practitioners has been developed to help resolve feedback or complaints made directly to practitioners or the health service where you are working.

We know that receiving negative feedback or a complaint can be confronting and stressful and we have also published a list of general support services.

You might find this checklist helpful when a complaint is first raised with you by a patient or client, and it may also be relevant to those who have a role in establishing and maintaining complaints systems and processes at a health service.

When feedback or complaints are managed well, they can result in improvements that increase patient, client and community confidence in you as a practitioner. They can also help prevent a concern escalating to an external complaint body or regulator.

The checklist was developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, Ahpra and the 15 National Boards as part of a joint project with the commission, with work also underway on resources to help consumers navigate the various complaints options available.

The checklist, along with other resources covering a range of topics to support your practice, is available on Ahpra’s Resources page.

Updated vaccination and immunisation information

Updated FAQs for practitioners about vaccination and immunisation have been published on the Ahpra website.

This follows Ahpra and the National Boards recently consulting with our key stakeholders about what information would be helpful for registered health practitioners about vaccination and immunisation, taking into account public health advice and the high rates of vaccination against COVID-19 in Australia.

It was agreed that updated general information would be helpful. Older FAQs about matters during the COVID-19 pandemic that were outside of our regulatory role, such as vaccination rollout, have been removed.

The updated information about vaccination and immunisation draws from the National Boards’ regulatory tools, including:

Position statements, developed using the same regulatory tools and released at the height of the pandemic, are still available as a record of the clear guidance provided to practitioners during a worldwide pandemic.

Work to eliminate racism from Australian healthcare recognised internationally

The Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) serves and supports the international regulatory community. Its global membership promotes regulatory excellence to improve the quality and understanding of regulation to enhance public protection. At its annual educational conference in the United States, CLEAR presented an award to Ahpra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Unit (HSU), highlighting its critical role in dismantling racist behaviours and systems in healthcare.

Established in 2021, the HSU ensures that Indigenous experts lead reforms to make regulatory processes culturally safe and free from racism, and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are represented in decision making. The HSU draws on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Strategy Group, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals, practitioners, peak bodies and race scholars to shape its transformative work.

Led by Gomeroi woman Jayde Fuller, the HSU drives Ahpra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Cultural Safety Strategy 2020–2025 and its goal of eliminating racism from the health system by 2032. Ms Fuller told the conference: ‘Culturally safe healthcare for Indigenous people has been a commitment in our organisation for six years – but we've been protecting our communities for 65,000 years and regulators can learn a lot from our survival and ways of knowing, being and doing.’

‘Healthcare should not be harmful. We are taking a strategic approach to dismantling all forms of racism – systemic, institutional and interpersonal. This includes ownership and accountability by providers, practitioners and regulators for creating safe healthcare,’ Ms Fuller said.

The CLEAR award recognises the HSU’s role in driving world-first reform to embed cultural safety and the elimination of racism in healthcare into Australian legislation. The law reforms mean that if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive care that is racist and unsafe and their complaint enters the regulatory system, cultural safety must be considered. As well, registered health practitioners are required to take steps to educate themselves on cultural safety in relation to the accessibility of their services.

The award also highlights the HSU’s work to:

  • include an agreed definition of cultural safety in the codes of conduct for more than 877,000 registered health practitioners
  • create a culturally safe notification process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people making a complaint
  • implement cultural safety continual professional development (CPD) for all registered health practitioners.

For more information, read the news item.

Listen to the latest podcasts

Ahpra’s Taking care podcast series covers a wide range of current issues in patient safety and healthcare in conversation with health experts and other people in our community. Listen and subscribe by searching for Taking care in your podcast player (for example, Apple Podcasts or Spotify), or listen on our website.

The latest episode is ‘Coming to a land down under: Australia as a destination for health practitioners’. This episode examines the path overseas health workers must tread when wanting to work in Australia.


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Stay in touch with the Board

  • Visit the Pharmacy Board website for news about the profession, information on the National Scheme and for registration standards, codes, guidelines, policies and fact sheets.
  • Lodge an online enquiry.
  • For registration enquiries call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 9125 3010 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to the Chair, Pharmacy Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3000.
 
 
Page reviewed 20/12/2023