Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2017 Contents Australian Pharmacist January 2017 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
In June last year, she spent seven hours in her
car waiting for an overturned truck and its load
of bananas to be scraped off the Bruce Highway
next to Deadman’s Creek south of Proserpine –
just one of the more unusual obstacles the 2010
PSA Pharmacist of the Year has faced when
travelling to deliver Home Medicine Reviews
The truck rolled early in the morning and when
Karalyn arrived at the scene just after lunch the
highway was still blocked. Another truck had crashed
south of Mackay and the only tow truck in the region
‘I had phone service so I did some paperwork, read
some articles and had a nap. I got through at nightfall
and saw my patient seven hours late. When I drove
back two hours later a Bobcat was still loading
bananas onto a tip truck,’ she said.
Koalas, emus, pigs and kangaroos are also road
hazards to be avoided. In the mating season koalas
are unpredictable and are more likely to run in front of
cars according to Karalyn.
Born and bred in Mackay, Karalyn studied pharmacy
at the University of Queensland and has worked in
many settings over the years including providing
pharmacy supplies to lighthouses, ships and mining
companies. An early adopter, she was accredited as
a consultant pharmacist in 1997. Active in PSA, she
was a Queensland committee member for many years
and a PSA National Board member in the early 2000s
including several years as National Treasurer.
For 28 years she managed a pharmacy in Mackay.
Her last role there was as professional services
manager. However, with the changes that came
in the Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement the
pharmacy struggled to see the value of professional
programs with the reductions in pricing and closed its
professional programs, making Karalyn redundant in
‘I could see this coming and I established my own
consulting company in 2014 to provide medication
reviews,’ she told Australian Pharmacist.
Soon she picked up work in the pain management
area. Since January 2013 she has been the Clinical
Facilitator of the Mackay Pain Support Group. In 2015,
she was awarded the PSA Quality Use of Medicines
Award for Pain Management.
Just as the business was becoming established the
decision to cap HMRs was announced.
‘I was blown away by the announcement that HMRs
would be capped at 20 per month because I was
performing 50–60 per month. My little consulting
company hit a brick wall.’
Networking for success
Since then, Karalyn has networked to build the
‘I diversified and looked at other things that I could
do. Luckily, I had five nursing home contracts that
kept me viable for a little while. Then I started doing
more consulting and putting myself out there for
whoever wanted to pay for a pharmacist to talk to
For example she works with the Mackay Health and
Hospital Service (MHHS) in the Health Pathways
Program (HPP) which educates GPs and health
professionals about the best pathway for a patient
through the health system. It looks at reducing
waiting lists, optimising patient care and finding the
right health professional for the right patient.
‘HPP has been a great project because I have been
able to have a lot of input into the role of community
pharmacists and consultant pharmacists in patient
health. Unfortunately it is an unpaid job but it has
given me the opportunity to meet and work with
people who use my services for HMRs and other
‘It is one of those jobs that you take on because
it leads you places. It pays dividends in terms of
She also presents QUM lectures. For example, the
MHHS asked her to present to patients undergoing
bariatric surgery about medications before, during
and after surgery.
HMRs in western Queensland
HMRs remain at the core of Karalyn’s business.
She has focussed on becoming consultant
pharmacist to western Queensland and regularly
travels to isolated towns such as Clermont, Dingo,
Blackwater, Springsure, Capella and Moranbah.
‘I do a lot of work on the Gemfields. I go as far
as Belyando Crossing south of Charters Towers.
These are very rural areas so the patients are quite
scattered. I enjoy the work. It is really diverse. GPs in
the region come and go. It is very hard to keep them
for very long.
‘ The patients access many specialists by travelling
long distances or by Skyping through Telehealth.
The patients have a multitude of problems. It is very
rewarding, hard work and a lot of travel.’
The travel comes with challenges not present in
urban areas. Often the HMR appointments are out of
town so after a long drive to get to the town she has
to tackle dirt roads to find her patient’s home.
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