Message from the President – Election of Council members and reflections on 2018

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Mike Anderson and Paul Sinclair on their re-election to the Council and newly elected members Majella Hill, Marina Holt and Erica Sainsbury who will commence their terms on 1 April 2019.

As another year draws to an end I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the last twelve months. The Pharmacy Council, like the other 13 Health Professional Councils in NSW is obliged to produce an annual report each financial year. It provides a wide variety of information to the public and the profession on the activities undertaken by and involving the Council and it members. It was recently tabled in NSW Parliament and is available on our website. I recommend that you take a look at the report.

My reflections on 2018:

  • There is a continued rising trend in the number of complaints and notifications being made against pharmacists. The serious nature of many of these complaints has resulted in an alarming number of pharmacists either being suspended from practice or having their ability to practise limited by conditions that have been imposed to protect the health and safety of the public. While this only accounts for a small percentage of pharmacists it reflects on us all in the eyes of the public. If you find yourself put in a situation where something does not seem right then it probably needs to be investigated further before you make a decision to proceed.
  • The number of pharmacies in NSW continues to increase. This places an increased workload on the Council Inspectors Max and Grahame, both of whom will be well known to many of you through their routine inspections of pharmacy premises and the various other activities they undertake on behalf of the Council. You may have been asked about your pharmacy’s involvement in compounding. This is so we can continue to roll out guidance and fact sheets to help practitioners comply with the Pharmacy Board of Australia’s Guidelines on compounding of medicines. These and other guidelines from the Pharmacy Board of Australia can be found on their website.
  • The days of pharmacies being owned by sole traders and partnerships is decreasing. The current trend is towards far more complex arrangements involving pharmacist body corporates. This has had a significant impact on the workload of Council staff who are responsible for the processing of applications. There has been an increase in the number of approvals being delayed or rejected due to incomplete documentation being provided to the Council. I recommend that you seek legal and accounting advice, and refer to The Guide available from the Council website, well in advance of submitting your application.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Executive Officer, Nina Beeston, and her dedicated team for all the support they have provided to the Council in difficult circumstances due to organisational change within HPCA. I also acknowledge the efforts of my fellow Council members in managing the workload we have encountered this year.

Finally, to you the practitioners, I wish you and your families a safe and Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. 

Stuart Ludington