What you missed at PSA22 – Day 1


PSA22 kicked off with a bang, with a day full of major announcements, therapeutic updates, and policy and practice insights.

The conference was officially opened by new Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler, PSA National President Dr Fei Sim and Emma McBride MPS, pharmacist and Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, and Rural and Regional Health.

Attendees gained insight into significant updates that lie ahead for pharmacists and patients, including a reduced Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme price cap in 2023 and the launch of a consultation paper to kick off the On-site Aged Care Pharmacists project.

‘I’m very pleased to announce that today, a consultation paper will be launched on the department’s aged care engagement hub to start that process, and ensure that we’re able to deliver on this commitment of $345 millions [funding],’ Mr Butler said.

‘We’re going to have to engage in the process of pretty quick codesign. And that’s going to involve close engagement with PSA.’

Dr Sim also officially launched the Medicine Safety: Disability Care report, the fifth in PSA’s Medicine Safety Series. 

‘This report is an important step in identifying the real and significant issues patients with

disability face,’ she said.’ It is our duty, as healthcare professionals, to keep working to make care accessible and appropriate for everyone.’

After a brief catch-up over morning tea, delegates headed for the all-star medicine safety panel, which covered issues including national medicines policy, aged care and disability care.

‘There is no reason not to have a pharmacist wherever medicines are used,’ PSA National Vice President Shane Jackson told the panel.

Attendees also learned about the profound medicine safety challenges experienced by people with severe intellectual disability, including from parents and full time careers. 

‘We have major problems with funding in disability care,’ panellist and PSA NSW Branch President Chelsea Felkai said.

After lunch, Dr Sim was the guest speaker on the Nigel Sutton Show, where the cheeky host questioned her about the ever-evolving role of pharmacists and some upcoming changes to practice.

Dr Sim handled the hot seat like a pro, telling the audience, ‘A leader needs to be someone who you can relate to, someone authentic, and someone who speaks the language.’

Next, attendees were treated to a live recording of Pharmacy & Me. Podcast hosts Peter Guthrey MPS and Hannah Knowles MPS led a panel on PSA’s ongoing fight to improve pharmacist remuneration, with a look at the impact of recent campaigns including the National Advocacy Day of Action and the 2022 Federal Election.

Meanwhile, at the On-site Aged Care Pharmacist Panel, delegates heard from experts in the field including Maria Berbecaru MPS, Debbie Rigby FPS and Julian Soriano MPS about the role of pharmacists in aged care and where they can have the most impact. 

The audience learned how pharmacists can reduce harm through medicines management to improve patients’ quality of life.

Later in the afternoon, Dr Manya Angley FPS led the Disability Care Panel, which analysed how medicines can be made safer for people with intellectual disabilities.

Pharmacists have an important role to play in meeting the needs of patients living with disability and improving medicine safety, the panel revealed.

The bi-directional relationship between mental health and immunity masterclass provided fascinating insight into the impact of our mental health on our immune system, as well as the role of immune health on our mental functioning. 

Pharmacists learned what evidence-based complementary medicines can alleviate stress, anxiety, insomnia and boost immune health, and how to evaluate the evidence base of their effectiveness.

That’s all from Australian Pharmacist for today. We’re signing off to enjoy a cocktail and canape at the Welcome Reception followed by a night of fun and networking at the ECP Party.

It’s not too late to register to attend PSA22. Don’t miss the rest of the action-packed program, including tomorrow’s sessions on mRNA science and emerging evidence, Managing cough in primary care and Allergy and anaphylaxis in infants.