The former Director of Pharmacy at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Kingsley Coulthard FPS, is South Australia’s PSA Lifetime Achievement Award winner for 2022.
Why did you choose pharmacy?
Because my best mate from high school did. One of my best decisions! University life was a wonderful experience, especially learning and interacting with lecturers and other students . . . and it was face to face – regrettably ceased in many universities, a casualty of COVID-19.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Contributions to paediatric therapeutics, especially cystic fibrosis (CF), and the opportunity to mentor to some wonderful young pharmacists over many years. Many factors have contributed to the dramatic increase in survival for patients with CF, in particular the development of new therapies and the establishment of specialised CF clinics. The incorporation of pharmacists into these clinics is essential, and the opportunities for patient care and research are endless.
Paediatric therapeutics have traditionally been neglected in favour of adults, especially in access to appropriate medicines/formulations and clinical trials. Although this has improved in recent years due to international pressure on the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory organisations, there is still a lot to do.
After your retirement in 2010, what links have you retained in pharmacy?
I have an active role in the profession as Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of South Australia and involvement with Asthma Australia as a member of the Professional Advisory Committee. And I was part of the National Asthma Council paediatric writing group for the latest edition of the Australian Asthma Handbook.
I have a close alliance to rural pharmacy and now locum, mainly on Yorke Peninsula. It is rewarding to see how country people in small towns value their local pharmacy. I am a strong believer in face-to-face education and organise such events on Yorke which are open to all health professionals.
What big changes have you have seen during your career?
The expansion of hospital pharmacy services – in particular ward-based, community services such as Home Medicines Reviews and integration into GP clinics/aged care and the impact of IT.
Pharmacy has established itself and been accepted as part of the health team.
What is the one thing you wish pharmacists could do better in respiratory care?
Pharmacists need more time to talk to and counsel patients with respiratory diseases, but the demands of inappropriate dispensing workloads are prohibitive. In areas such as CF, there needs to be specialised pharmacists who remain in those areas for extended periods of time to allow for the development of clinical and patient relationship skills.
What advice would you give to ECPs?
Seek out a mentor. If you’re frustrated with your current role, look at other areas of practice before abandoning the profession.