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Pharmacist elected to ACT
Medicare Local Board
PSA ACT Branch
Gabrielle Cooper, has
been elected to the
first ACT Medicare
who is Professor
of Pharmacy, Associate Dean Clinical
Engagement at the University of
Canberra, was elected to one of the two
primary health-care clinician positions on
Professor Cooper said she was honoured
to be elected to the Board and looked
forward to adding the expertise and
knowledge of pharmacists to that of the
other health professionals on the Board.
‘All too often in the past the expertise
that pharmacists have in the provision of
primary health care has been overlooked
but the Medicare Local system means that
contribution can now be integrated more
consistently in team-based care,’ Professor
‘Pharmacists are one of the most
accessible of all heath care professionals
in Australia which means they have some
unique face-to-face interactions with
patients and consumers.
‘Consumers and patients walk in and
speak to pharmacists about health issues,
often before they speak to other health
professionals. Pharmacists regularly triage
and refer to other health professionals
to ensure patients’ needs are effectively
‘I am delighted to be able to add this
knowledge and experience to the
workings of the ACT Medicare Local to
improve the health outcomes of everyone
in the ACT Medicare Local region’.
The ACT Medicare Local Board includes
a practice nurse, three GP class directors
and a consumer director. Professor
Cooper was appointed to the ACT
Medicare Local Transition Board after
being nominated by PSA. The Transition
Board guided the operations of the ACT
Medicare Local until the AGM was held in
Pharmacists and hay fever
The role pharmacists
can play in helping
to manage hay fever
has been highlighted
by figures released
by the Australian
Institute of Health
and Welfare (AIHW)
showing that about 3.1 million
Australians, or 15% of the population,
suffer from the condition.
According to AIHW, this makes it
one of the most common chronic
respiratory conditions in Australia.
PSA National President, Grant
Kardachi, said despite the alarming
figures, the good news was that hay
fever can usually be well managed
with medicines, available over-the-
counter in pharmacies.
‘Hay fever most commonly affects
people aged 25–44 and is slightly
more common in women than men.
Identifying the triggers for hay fever is
often a key to better managing it, and
while pharmacists can help patients in
this regard, they can also advise on the
best medicines to treat their condition.
This can include preventive measures
such as advising patients to take their
medicines the night before forecast
Advice from pharmacists could extend
beyond supplying antihistamines,
most of which are non-sedating
and therefore allow people to work
normally, drive and go about their
daily routines as usual.
‘Pharmacists will advise on suitable
antihistamines, which are the
mainstay of treatment, as well as other
treatment options such as nasal sprays
and eye drops for more severe cases,’
Mr Kardachi said.
He said that apart from helping
consumers select the most
appropriate medicines, PSA Self Care
pharmacies could provide more
detailed information on how best to
manage the condition through the Self
Care Hay Fever Fact Card.
AP cover story wins award
Australian Pharmacist contributor and PSA
Public Affairs Director Peter Waterman
has won the 2011 National Press Club/
Medicines Australia Best News Feature
Article or Presentation for reporting on
Health, Health Science or Innovation
directed to Medical Professionals.
Peter won the award for his December
2010 cover story – Even Accidental
Counsellors Have to be Brave.
The article looked at how community
pharmacists are often ‘accidental
counsellors’ in dealing with patients
suffering from mental health conditions.
It examined how pharmacists need to
react (hence the need to be brave, ask
tough questions about suicide) and
also how pharmacists can help through
advice, counselling and ensuring
adherence to medications, etc. as well as
referring patients on for more specialised
help when necessary.
A breakout section looked at the specific
area of youth mental illness/depression
and how pharmacists can help.
Peter Waterman and Medicines Australia CEO, Dr Brendan
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