Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist January 2013 Contents 30 Australian Pharmacist January 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
By Chris Braithwaite
Chris Braithwaite is the NAPSA
On the 9 November, I was fortunate enough to be invited by the
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Pharmacy Guild of Australia
to participate on a panel at the National Primary Health Care Conference
convened by the Australian Medicare Local Alliance. Also on the panel was
PSA National President Grant Kardachi, Ian Todd (SA Guild President) and two
prominent General Practitioners (GPs). The topics of discussion centred on
collaboration between GPs and pharmacists.
It was a fantastic session and set NAPSA
to thinking about how it can work better
with other professions, at both the
student and professional level.
Within the current health reform
framework, Inter-Professional Education
(IPE) and collaboration is becoming
increasingly important. The formation
of Medicare Locals highlights this, and
pharmacists have a great opportunity to
be involved. It is great to hear that the
Society takes interest in this area and that
pharmacists are active on both Medicare
Local boards and in ML initiatives.
However, this needs to begin at an
It seems obvious that for professional
services in pharmacy to shine and get
positive results, understanding between
professions and hence, collaboration, is a
key. Grant Kardachi mentioned on the
panel that at times, pharmacy is its own
worst advocate and sometimes works in a
'silo.' If pharmacists are going to become a
more prominent player in primary health
care, the way education is delivered has
to move with current reform.
After consultation with the NAPSA
National Council, it was found that IPE
is not always commonplace in current
pharmacy degrees. We believe this
is critical to rectify for two reasons.
Firstly, for other professions to gain a
better understanding of our skills and
attributes, and secondly, to ensure we
have an adequate understanding of other
professions and therefore, a solid platform
for providing referrals when appropriate.
The National Rural Health Students'
Network (NRHSN)1 and the Australian
Medical Students' Association (AMSA)2
both have positions on IPE, highlighting
its importance for future healthcare.
NAPSA will continue to work in this area
and we hope to have a position on this
issue released in the near future.
For now, it is important to recognise what
is currently in place.
Western Australian pharmacist and
former NAPSA member, Kenneth Lee,
has developed Helping Inter-Professional
Health Education Nationally (HI-PHEN)
Australia3. It is a Facebook forum for
discussion between professions, both
students and graduates, and members
have found it incredibly useful for this
purpose. It has proved to be a great forum
to learn more about other professions
and to think from a different perspective.
It has also provided a platform to discover
opportunities in this area and hear about
some great work being done by others.
A recent example includes Realising
Education & Access in Collaborative Health
(REACH)4 in Melbourne. This initiative,
which is run by students under the
supervision of healthcare professionals,
is a great example of innovation in the
area of IPE. This is certainly something
pharmacy could learn from to establish
greater links within medicine, nursing and
1. National Rural Students' Health Network (NRHSN), 2011,
Interprofessional Education: Position Statement. Accessed Nov
2012 at: www.nrhsn.org.au/client_images/1062378.pdf
2. Australian Medical Students' Association (AMSA), 2009,
AMSA Interprofessional Education Policy. Accessed Nove
2012 at: http://media.amsa.org.au/policy/2009/2009_
3. Lee K. Helping Inter-Professional Health Education Nationally
(HI-PHEN) Australia, 2012. Accessed Nov 2012 at: www.
4. Realising Education & Access in Collaborative Health (REACH).
Accessed Nov 2012 at: www.ourreach.org/
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