Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist April 2012 Contents 262 Australian Pharmacist April 2012 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Owners gather amid
By Andrew Daniels
They came from near, far and even
further for the 2012 Australian Pharmacy
Professional (APP) Conference on
the Gold Coast last month. It was the
biggest APP ever. The four day event
attracted more than 4,000 delegates
with more than 2,000 attending the
The delegates heard a wide variety of
presentations. However, recurring themes
of PBS reform, direct distribution, generic
medicines and how to successfully
weather tough times ahead led to
some impassioned presentations.
An underlying mood of concern and
occasionally fear of what the future
may hold led to a much more serious
atmosphere than in previous years.
Speaking at a panel discussion, Guild
President Kos Sclavos told delegates that
120 pharmacies had gone bankrupt in
the past year and a further 300 were in
'financial distress.' He described taking
phone calls from men in tears over their
Mr Sclavos also warned that in the
wake of a recent Fairwork Australia
audit in Queensland which found
high rates of non-compliance with
the Pharmacy Industry Award (PIA)
community pharmacy could be under
the microscope. He emphasised that it is
not in anyone's interest for staff not to be
'I believe there will probably be a national
audit now following those results. So
expect in your mail box in the next two
or three weeks a checklist, which will be
distributed through all the pharmacy
publications, so that your staff can use
that to engage with you as pharmacists,'
Fair Work Australia checked the records
of 575 employers across Queensland and
found 320 (56%) to be fully compliant.
Inspectors identified 298 contraventions
at the remaining 255 businesses, 66%
related to underpayment of wages, 25%
to pay-slip and time and wage breaches
and 7% to allowances. As a result, a
total of $194,905 in entitlements was
recouped for 1,334 employees who had
been inadvertently underpaid. Amounts
recovered for individuals ranged between
$3.79 and $11,639.
However, APP was not all doom
Health Minister Tanya Plibersek told
delegates that the Government
supported the Fifth Community
'It is a five year Agreement and is only
in its second year ... Our approach is to
make sure the Agreement is properly
evaluated and to use the lessons
learned to feed into the development of
a Sixth Agreement.'
Mr Sclavos said that the Minister's speech
was an important endorsement of the
role of community pharmacy and the
stability provided by the Community
Direct HMR referrals
By Andrew Daniels
The direct referral model has already
had a positive effect on the timeliness
of HMRs according to the Chair of the
Australian Association of Consultant
Pharmacists (AACP), Debbie Rigby.
Speaking at the AACP forum held in
conjunction with APP last month she
thanked the many people who had sent
feedback on their experience of direct
referrals for HMRs.
'One accredited pharmacist told me
that average time between referral and
completion dates for previous HMR
services was 4--6 months, one 8 months.'
Ms Rigby highlighted an article by Dean
Schulz, Chairman of Pharmaceutical
Defence Ltd, that emphasised the need
for timeliness, and pointed out that
simply having insufficient resources is no
defence to an action of negligence.
'Dean suggested that "we must remain
vigilant that the privileges...conferred...
are treasured and not taken for granted"'.
Ms Rigby also provided an update on
changes to the HMR program rules.
'The HMR Rural Loading Allowance
was amended last week in response to
feedback. Pharmacists may seek prior ap-
proval to claim for the HMR Rural Loading
Allowance where exceptional circum-
stances exist. Also, the start and end
location of the 200 km round trip will no
longer be required to start and end from
the specified registered place of business/
home address. The start and end location
of the round trip will simply need to be
the same place,' she said.
Top End pharmacy on Top
The Cape York Guardian Pharmacy in
Weipa, Far North Queensland, is the QCPP
Pharmacy of the Year for 2012.
The announcement was made by the
Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek at APP.
Owner pharmacist Scott McCahon, who
accepted the award on behalf of his
team, explained why he entered this
competition this year: 'The pharmacy had
reached a point where I was proud of
where we'd come from. The community
has embraced us since we've come here
and I wanted to show the town that we
deliver a level of service, and a pharmacy,
that is comparable with anywhere
The three category winners in the running
for the top award were:
Chemmart Superstore Pharmacy,
Eaton (WA) -- Excellence in
Martin's Chemist, St. Mary's (NSW) --
Innovation in professional services
Cape York Guardian Pharmacy,
Weipa (QLD) -- Excellence in
The exceptional standard of finalists in
this year's competition so impressed
the judges Bill Scott (Chairman of Fred
Health) and Patrick Reid (a Guild National
Director) that they asked the QCPP to
recognise a fourth pharmacy, in the form
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