Welcome to the Pharmacy Board of Australia September newsletter. It’s been a busy time for pharmacists and the Board.
One of the highlights this month was World Pharmacists Day on 25 September, which focused attention on the work of pharmacists globally in creating a healthier world. Pharmacists across Australia have continued to support healthcare systems and communities during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters such as floods. I thank you all for your significant efforts during this past year.
There are some important obligations for pharmacists and students coming up. Registration is now open for graduates. If you are a student who will be graduating in the next three months and you have your supervised practice arrangements confirmed, apply now for provisional registration.
Registration renewal for pharmacists with general and non-practising registration will open in October. Look out for information from the Board to renew your registration by 30 November and be sure that the Board has your current contact details.
I would also like to acknowledge the many pharmacists who will take on the important role of a preceptor. All new graduates will shortly begin an internship and the preceptor is a vital part of the intern’s development: see more about this below. We thank all pharmacists who contribute to the development of future pharmacists and the profession to provide essential health services to the public.
Chair, Pharmacy Board of Australia
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The annual World Pharmacists Day was on 25 September and ‘Pharmacy united in action for a healthier world’ was the theme for 2022. This day highlighted the important role pharmacists play in improving the health of people across Australia and the world.
Read our media release on World Pharmacists Day.
The role of a preceptor is a significant responsibility and very rewarding experience. The role requires strong mentoring, communicating and interpersonal and teaching skills. The benefits of being a preceptor include:
The approved preceptor is responsible for the overall supervision and development of the intern. Day to day, the preceptor may personally supervise the intern at an approved site or delegate supervision to another suitably experienced pharmacist at the site. The intern will have gained the required academic knowledge through university studies and the preceptor’s responsibility is to guide them through the experiential education program, which is essential for them to become a competent pharmacist.
Training future pharmacists is a responsibility of the entire profession to maintain a standard of quality healthcare. The preceptor, as teacher/instructor of the intern during the supervised practice period, has considerable responsibilities to the profession, the Board and the public. The challenge of teaching in a clinical setting should be a rewarding and stimulating experience for preceptor and intern alike. The Board’s Code of conduct sets out expectations of pharmacists when teaching, supervising and mentoring pharmacists and students.
Even an experienced preceptor must continue to improve their skills. If you are seeking approval to supervise interns’ practice, it may be beneficial to take part in a preceptor training program as part of your preparation. This training may be included as part of your continuing professional development (CPD) obligations. If you develop and deliver training material for teaching intern pharmacists that improves your practice, this may also qualify as CPD.
For more information on the role of the preceptor, read the Board’s Intern pharmacist and preceptor guide on the Internships page of our website.
The preceptor is a vital part of the intern’s development. We thank all pharmacists who take on the important role of a preceptor and contribute to the development of future pharmacists.
The revised Code of conduct (the code) came into effect on 29 June 2022 and replaces the previous code. The code sets out the Board’s expectations of professional behaviour and conduct for practitioners. You have a professional responsibility to be familiar with and apply this code in your practice, to help keep the public safe.
To read the code please visit the Board’s Code of conduct page.
The Board has developed some resources to help you understand and apply the revised code and is encouraging you to read them including a series of case studies. These look at how the code could apply to practice and provide guidance about:
The Board has also developed a set of frequently asked questions and a one-page summary of the code that you can print and place somewhere visible. You can find these resources on the Resources to help health practitioners page.
There are also Resources to help the public.
The Board publishes case studies to help pharmacists understand and meet their professional and legal obligations. A new case study was published this month.
It was alleged that the pharmacist made an error when compounding a clonidine suspension for paediatric use, resulting in the patient being admitted to hospital. Read more on the Board’s Case studies page.
During the COVID-19 pandemic several measures were put in place to enable pharmacists to support continuity of treatment for patients. These arrangements included digital image prescriptions and continued dispensing for an expanded range of medicines. Make sure you keep up to date with changes in legislation as some of these temporary measures have ended or been replaced by permanent measures.
One of the measures, PBS Continued Dispensing Emergency Measure, ended on 30 June 2022 and new permanent PBS Continued Dispensing Arrangements started on 1 July 2022. The medicines that can be supplied under these arrangements changed. For more information on PBS Continued Dispensing Arrangements and the medicines eligible for supply, visit the PBS website.
Supply of medicines under Continued Dispensing Arrangements must be consistent with Commonwealth legislation and meet the requirements of any relevant state or territory legislation. Many jurisdictions have enabled PBS Continued Dispensing through legislation. You must confirm the eligible medicines and other requirements in your state or territory.
If you are a final year student and looking for somewhere to complete your internship, you may be considering a community pharmacy or hospital pharmacy department. As a provisionally registered pharmacist, you can do your supervised practice anywhere in Australia.
The Board’s supervised practice standard states that at least 50 per cent of the required supervised practice hours are completed in a community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy department or both, unless otherwise approved by the Board. This is because most community pharmacies and hospital pharmacy departments provide broad practice experience, which is necessary to ensure interns can meet the competencies necessary for entry-level practice and be eligible for general registration.
Most interns make one application to complete their internship at one location, which can include rotations to other practice site settings that the approved preceptor has incorporated into the intern’s training program. Alternatively, some interns make more than one application to gain exposure to multiple practice settings with different approved preceptors and independently delivered training programs. The Board’s Registration standard: Supervised practice arrangements enables an individualised approach.
Other settings in which you can complete some of your supervised practice include Aboriginal health services, rural and remote settings, residential care settings, within interprofessional healthcare teams, general practice, areas of workforce need, pharmaceutical industry and any other setting where medicines management is involved.
We encourage all intern pharmacists to obtain practice exposure that is as varied as possible and that enables you to meet the broad range of competences needed to practise under general registration. This includes rotations to additional supervised practice sites as part of the training program.
If you're set to complete your course within the next three months and you’ve got your supervised practice site/s and preceptor confirmed, apply for provisional registration and approval of supervised practice now. We'll start assessing your application while we wait for your graduate results. Once we’ve received these from your education provider and we are satisfied that you have met all the requirements for registration, we will finalise your application.
Requirements for provisional registration include meeting the Board’s registration standards for:
You will also need to tell us about any criminal history and any health impairments that may affect your ability to practise.
See our short, animated video for pharmacy graduates for more information on having your supervised practice arrangements approved by the Board, registration standards and the professional standards expected of the pharmacy profession.
See the Board’s news item for information about the process and the steps you need to complete, including creating your account on Ahpra’s online services portal and getting the photo ID requirements right. The news item links to a handy guide to certifying documents that you can download and take with you to an authorised officer.
Check out our graduate video on the Graduate applications page of the Ahpra website, where you'll find helpful advice, tips for avoiding common causes of delay, and downloadable information flyers.
When you are registered, we will publish your name to the Register of practitioners (the public register). Before starting any supervised practice, you’ll need to check the public register to confirm that you hold provisional registration and that your supervised practice arrangements have been approved.
We regularly publish court and tribunal summaries for professional education. Links to past and recent tribunal cases can be found on the Board’s Pharmacy regulation at work: tribunal decisions page. Here is a recent tribunal case:
A tribunal has cancelled the registration of a pharmacist, ordered he be reprimanded and disqualified him from applying for registration for one year for professional misconduct after his earlier conviction on criminal charges for the misappropriation of a large quantity of alprazolam tablets. Read more in the news item.
The Board’s registration data report for 1 April to 30 June 2022 is now available. At this date, there were 35,368 registered pharmacists in Australia. Of these:
The general registration figure on 30 June 2022 included 642 pharmacists who were part of the short-term pandemic response sub-register.
Of the registered pharmacists:
For more data, including registration by principal place of practice and by age group, visit our Statistics page to read the report.
A total of 1,792 practitioners opted in to remain registered on the pandemic sub-register for another year, continuing to support the health system. These include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, dental practitioners, diagnostic radiographers, medical practitioners, midwives, nurses, occupational therapists, optometrists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists and psychologists who have opted to extend their registration on the sub-register to 21 September 2023 or apply to transition to the main register for ongoing registration.
Practitioners who were on the sub-register and did not contact Ahpra are no longer registered as of midnight on 21 September 2022. The names of these practitioners were removed from the sub-register; if they wish to continue to be registered, they will need to apply for registration through the standard process.
For more information go to:
A new hub on the Ahpra website makes it easier to find helpful resources.
The Resources hub aims to support professional practice and help patients make safer health choices.
The hub includes information on requirements for advertising, social media, cosmetics, supervised practice and more. Information for practitioners and the public is clustered according to useful topics, to make it easier to find.
Our 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. We also publish transcripts of our podcasts. Recent episodes include:
Listen and subscribe by searching for Taking care in your podcast player (for example Apple Podcasts or Spotify), or listen on our website.
Patients who have been harmed by cosmetic surgery can now report their concerns to a hotline. The hotline is part of the response by Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia to the Independent review into the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery.
The specialised team is supporting the newly established Cosmetic Surgery Enforcement Unit. This team understands the challenges for patients who are unsure about whether to report their experiences and where to report their experiences. The team can help them to share relevant information and guide them through the process.
Read more in the news item.