Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist Nov 2013 Contents 22 Australian Pharmacist November 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Allied health workforce
More women are employed than men in
most allied health professions according
to an Australian Institute of Health and
Welfare (AIHW) released last month.
The report, Allied health workforce 2012,
provides information on the demographic
and employment characteristics
of 11 allied health professions
AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster
said it was the first report on allied health
practitioners since the introduction
of the new National Registration
and Accreditation Scheme for these
professions. It shows around 127,000
allied health practitioners were registered
in 2012, a majority of them women.
'More women than men were
employed in nine of the 11 professions,
the exceptions being chiropractors
and optometrists. Almost nine in
10 occupational therapists were
women, and women accounted for
eight in 10 employed psychologists,
seven in 10 physiotherapists and six in
10 pharmacists,' Dr Webster said.
Nearly two-thirds of all registered
allied health practitioners in Australia
are psychologists, pharmacists or
physiotherapists. Psychologists made
up the largest proportion of registered
allied health practitioners (23%), followed
by pharmacists (21%), physiotherapists
(19%) and occupational therapists (11%).
The full-time equivalent (FTE) rate of
employed practitioners (FTE number
per 100,000 population) rose slightly
between 2011 and 2012 for all professions
except optometrists, where the FTE rate
The report shows that the average
employed allied health professional
is aged between 37 and 47, and has
a working week varying from about
32 hours for Chinese medicine
practitioners to 40 hours for
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
He said there were 265 registered
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied
health practitioners in 2012, 127 of whom
worked in Aboriginal health services.
Polypills help prevention
People are more likely to take preventive
medicines if they are combined in one
pill, an international study has found.
The findings were published in the
Journal of the American Medical
Association last month.
Taking aspirin, cholesterol-lowering and
blood pressure-lowering drugs long
term more than halves heart attack and
stroke recurrence. However, only about
50% of people with cardiovascular
disease in high-income countries take all
recommended preventive medications
long-term. In low- and middle-income
countries, only 5--20% do. This leaves tens
of millions of people undertreated.
In the study which tested the impact of a
fixed-dose combination pill -- or polypill
-- in people with cardiovascular disease,
2,004 participants in the UK, Ireland,
the Netherlands and India were randomly
assigned either the polypill, or their
normal combination of medicines.
After an average of 15 months' follow-up,
the proportion of participants in
the polypill group who were taking
medications regularly was a third higher
than in the group receiving usual care.
The polypill group also had lower blood
pressure and cholesterol measurements.
Lead author Professor Simon Thom
from the National Heart and Lung
Institute at Imperial College London,
said: 'The reality is that large numbers of
people who have already suffered heart
attacks or strokes either don't receive
these medications or get out of the habit
of taking them. The findings of this study
suggest that providing them in a single
pill is a helpful preventive step.'
Professor Thom said the new findings
dispelled several myths about the polypill.
'Despite the use of older medications
and fixed doses, the polypill group
had improved blood pressure and
cholesterol levels simply because they
took recommended medications more
regularly. Also there were no differences
in diet or exercise patterns.'
He also noted that the trial participants
were almost universally eager to adopt
the polypill if it were made available.
Co-author Professor Anthony Rodgers of
The George Institute for Global Health
and The University of Sydney, said:
'These results show that polypills are
a viable strategy for heart attack and
stroke survivors. This is most relevant to
the large number of high-risk individuals
globally who currently don't take
recommended medications long term.
'While the World Health Organization and
many others have noted the potential
benefits and cost savings of such an
approach for over a decade, this is the first
trial to show these benefits directly.'
Most of the patients in the study had
already had a heart attack or stroke;
the rest were at high risk on the basis
of risk factors such as blood pressure,
cholesterol and smoking.
The polypills used in the study were
developed by Dr Reddy's Ltd, Hyderabad.
The study was funded by the EU's Seventh
Framework Programme for Research.
eager to adopt the
polypill if it were made
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