Every year on 25 September, pharmacists across the globe congregate to reflect on their role as trusted healthcare advisers and service providers, along with the outstanding achievements of colleagues and peers.
This year, Australians have been treated to an extra special World Pharmacists Day (WPD), with the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences taking place down under for the first time in its 8-decade history.
The 2023 World Pharmacists Day (WPD) theme, Pharmacy Strengthening Health Systems highlights the critical role pharmacists play in supporting medicine safety, improving patient outcomes, and ensuring timely access to care.
PSA is leading WPD in Australia, with tireless advocacy culminating in exciting announcements about the future of the profession unveiled at the FIP congress in Brisbane.
A vision for pharmacists in 2030
The future of pharmacy practice is on the horizon, with the consultation paper for PSA’s 6-year blueprint for pharmacy practice – Pharmacists in 2030 – now open.
Building on the Pharmacists in 2023 report, the next iteration will empower pharmacists to meet the changing needs of Australians and the healthcare system. Importantly, PSA is giving pharmacists the opportunity to be involved in designing their own future.
Announcing the consultation at the opening plenary of the FIP World Congress today alongside new FIP President Paul Sinclair AM MPS, PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS invited pharmacists in all practice settings and across the industry to have their say on the direction of the profession.
‘Our vision for Pharmacists in 2030 involves all pharmacists, in all specialist areas of practice from community to hospital to credentialled to general practice and beyond, to be empowered to work to their top and full scope of practice,’ she said.
‘Pharmacists in 2030 will look at the roles pharmacists of the future can play to support patients at all stages of care. To ensure sustainability, these roles must be supported with recognition and remuneration.’
Dr Sim elaborated on the need for a new long-term pharmacy plan, with Australia’s healthcare system under unprecedented pressure – exacerbated by the evolving health needs of our ageing population, and the acceleration of healthcare megatrends brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Too many Australians are left behind in a health system which increasingly disadvantages those who live in rural and remote areas and those who cannot afford to fund their own health care,’ she said.
‘The future we see is one where access to safe and equitable care for all Australians by utilising the expertise of pharmacists.’
The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia also announced its Pharmacy Forecast Australia 2023 report at the FIP Congress.
Pharmacists can access the full Pharmacists in 2030 consultation paper and survey here.
In her address, Dr Sim also highlighted some impending scope of practice updates for pharmacists, including the ability to administer all National Immunisation Program vaccinations from 1 January 2024.
‘Pharmacists are going to be increasingly needed to use our cognitive input and professional services skills not just [for] vaccination, but also managing in a structured manner common ailments, minor ailments, screening, referral, triaging management of chronic diseases, point-of-care testing, [and] management of discharge services,’ she said.
Expansion of scope of practice pilot announced
On WPD, Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman MP announced the North Queensland Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot will expand statewide.
This will allow Queensland-based pharmacists to administer a wider range of vaccines and prescribe medicines for common health conditions.
Speaking at FIP World Congress in Brisbane this afternoon, Minister Fentiman confirmed that participating pharmacists will be able to administer more types of vaccines, and prescribe treatments such as:
- the oral contraceptive pill
- asthma medicines
- nausea and vomiting medicines
- nasal congestion and runny nose medicines
- mild skin condition treatments
- some heart disease risk reduction
- support to quit smoking.
‘The Minister’s announcement is a welcome step toward improving access to care for patients around the state and allowing for a greater number of Queensland pharmacists to practise to their top of scope,’ said PSA’s Queensland President Shane MacDonald MPS.
‘All Queenslanders will benefit from being able to access timely, quality care from their local pharmacist.
‘This is a vote of confidence from the Queensland Government in the skills and expertise of our pharmacists, which PSA looks forward to supporting during its implementation.’
New FIP President on the future of pharmacy
In a panel discussion today following the congress Plenary session on pharmacists strengthening health systems, Mr Sinclair said the future of pharmacy in Australia – given the recent controversy over 60-day dispensing – was not about supplying medicines.
‘The professional future is about pharmaceutical care and disease state management. There is a change happening in Australia,’ he said.
In a joint presentation with FIP Vice President Dr Lars–Åke Söderlund, Mr Sinclair said that FIP will continue to work towards global health care that is a right, not a privilege.
Addressing the FIP Congress via videolink on World Pharmacists Day, Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler thanked pharmacists ‘for everything you do as a vital part of healthcare systems here in Australia and around the world’.
Minister Butler encouraged all pharmacists to participate in the Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce review, to identify barriers and incentives, with the final report expected to be delivered to the government mid-2024.
PSA members Parisa Aslani, Ayomide Ogundipe, Sarah Dineen-Griffin, and Ramesh Walpola were also among the speakers at the Congress today, addressing delegates on a variety of topics.
Australians among new FIP Fellows
During the the FIP 2023 award ceremony on (Sunday) 24 September, two out of 12 fellowships were awarded to Australian pharmacists, including Associate Professor Joseph Nicolazzo from Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Prof Nicolazzo’s research focuses on areas such as neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, central nervous system drug delivery, and the role of drug transporters at the blood-brain barrier.Australian consultant pharmacist Tara Hehir MPS also received a FIP Fellowship. Ms Hehir has a background in the in vitro fertilisation dosing space, and has been involved with FIP since she was a pharmacy student. Read more about Ms Hehir’s pharmacy career here.
Not at the FIP Congress this year? You can still get involved in WPD by sharing PSA social media tiles across your networks and social media channels, tagging PSA with the hashtag #WorldPharmacistsDay23.
You can also keep up to date with scope of practice updates by tuning into Australian Pharmacists’ FIP coverage on 27 September 2023.