President inspires in COVID-19 address

Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) President Peter Fowler has called coronavirus ‘a chance to be our best’, reflecting on the alarming, disruptive and unifying few months since the first confirmed local transmission of COVID-19.

Writing in the latest issue of the SHPA’s flagship Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research (JPPR), Mr Fowler reiterated the organisation remains in lockstep with Australia’s hospital pharmacists and technicians.

‘COVID-19 has been shocking in its immediacy and voracity. However, it is my great honour to lead an organisation that has embraced the challenges posed by this pandemic, just as the passion and commitment of the hospital pharmacy workforce has risen around the country.

‘Just as we are in for the long haul living under new transmission mitigation measures, and as the pressure on hospital staffing, medicines supply and resources will be high for considerable time to come, SHPA is steadfast in its commitment to our members, their colleagues and the Australians in their care.

‘I believe we will get through this, together, and we will emerge on the other side, stronger.’

SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels echoed the message, noting the extraordinary organisational shift undertaken within a fortnight in March to ensure Australian hospital pharmacy was ready for any COVID-19 contingency.

‘When diagnosed cases in Australia totalled only 160, SHPA unveiled the COVID-19 information hub, followed five days later by the COVID-19 member forum, which we opened to non-members and international pharmacists given the scale and urgency of the crisis and SHPA’s commitment to the free flow of vital information in the interests of patient care.

‘Also in March, SHPA’s COVID-19 Hospital Pharmacy Relief Register attracted over 800 sign-ups, and was complemented by free COVID-19 Hospital Pharmacy Relief Introductory Training, with a free COVID-19 Hospital Pharmacy ICU Upskilling Package subsequently released at the start of April.

‘SHPA’s COVID-19 Webinar Series has seen record numbers of viewers tune in from more than 12 countries, and SHPA’s entire education program has been reconfigured to accommodate our new socially distant reality.’

Ms Michaels says just as hospitals, governments and families have adjusted to a year like no other, the organisation representing Australia’s hospital pharmacists and technicians is preparing for the future.

‘SHPA is committed to Australia’s national COVID-19 response, with our members united and prepared for all possible scenarios.

‘This has reframed 2020 for SHPA, with our rapid ramping up now complete, before we enter a winter of taking stock as the ongoing impact of the pandemic becomes clearer.

‘By November, Medicines Management 2020, the 46th SHPA National Conference will be upon us and we plan to be bold once more, hopefully greeting a thousand-plus delegates in Adelaide under the timely “future-proof” theme.

‘Through it all, we remain focused on ensuring all programs and services deliver greatest positive impact for our members, their colleagues and the Australians in their care.’

JPPR is free – as always – to SHPA members.

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