Hospital pharmacists striking the patient safety balance

The central challenge of balancing the efficacy and safety of medicines is investigated from a range of hospital pharmacy perspectives in the latest issue of the Society of Hospitals Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA)’s member magazine, released this month.

Landing just before the blockbuster Medicines Management 2019, 45th SHPA National Conference took over the Gold Coast, Pharmacy Growth, Research, Innovation and Training (Pharmacy GRIT) also explores the complexity of medicines from a policy perspective, and the opportunities afforded to members and broader Australian pharmacy through SHPA’s Memorandum of Understanding with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA), signed in July.

Ms Michaels says the Spring issue – free, as always to SHPA members – offers timely reflection on what constitutes ‘medicines leadership’, as Australian pharmacy anticipates the signing of the 7th Community Pharmacy Agreement and the review, next year, of the National Medicines Policy.

‘To ensure Australian gain the greatest possible benefit from medicine use, medicine leadership must consider the workforce as well as industry and consumer concerns.

‘The successful combination of effective medicine, provided in an accessible manner, with appropriate pharmacist care, is essential for the positive patient outcomes we all seek.’

In the issue, SHPA members Lisa Harris, Caroline Weiling Law and Beata Stanley share patient case studies and projects across the country – demonstrating what medication safety looks like in 2019 in the key settings of antimicrobial stewardship and opioid stewardship – while advocate Melissa Sheldrick shares lessons for Australia following the loss of her son and her subsequent fight to improve medication safety across her native Canada.

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says hospital pharmacists are consistently required to make contextual decisions that balance the efficacy and safety of medicines.

‘As the first issue of Pharmacy GRIT since Medication Safety was declared Australia’s next National Health Priority Area by Health Minister Greg Hunt, our members have risen to the challenge of describing the complexity of their everyday clinical work.

‘At every point of interaction, with patients and colleagues, pharmacists need to make decisions simultaneously balancing the specific information available, with the breadth of their knowledge and experience.

‘Indeed the phrase “desprescribing” first appeared in SHPA’s flagship journal, the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, a clear sign that hospital pharmacists are committed patient-first practice and care above all else.’

Read the Spring edition now (members only) →

Download the media release.