Date: 12 April 2023
By Suzanne Greenwood, Executive Director
As much of Australia wound down recently for the Easter break, I watched the news reports of airports and airlines coping with the huge demands of people flying away for the holidays.
As I watched, I could not help but think back to just two years ago when some of our capital cities were still in lockdown while other capitals and states required travel permits (still foreign to Australia’s embrace of freedom of movement).
As a result, our airports resembled ghost towns.
Fast forward to this year and travel is booming.
For that we have our community pharmacists to thank. We should never lose sight of the fact that if it wasn’t for the nation’s pharmacies, the vaccination rollout would have taken much longer and endlessly tied up GPs at the expense of their patients needing treatment for other conditions.
We have administered more than nine and a half million vaccines.
So, while the travelling public may have been grumbling at queuing up at the check in area of our airports, it’s a far sight better than what we were confronted with in 2020 and 2021 and even last year.
It’s also one of the reasons we had an amazingly successful APP conference.
This year the event attracted 7,471 people, the biggest in APP’s 33-year history.
There was a lot of energy at the conference and the excitement of first-timers who attended exclaiming that the event exceeded all their expectations was a constant theme. If you missed out this year, mark your calendar for 14-17 March 2024.
Conference Convener and former Guild National President, Kos Sclavos AM, and the Guild organising staff deserve a special mention for their exceptional ability to organise such a successful event.
It wasn’t just the conference itself but the fantastic line-up of speakers, the informative workshops we got to experience and of course, some down time for us to catch up socially.
I can honestly say I can’t think of anything that could have been done better.
Of the many highlights, of course, was the announcement of Guild Pharmacy of the Year (GPY).
The judges had a very hard time in trying to choose the winner, such was the standard of those who made the final cut. The judging process is rigorous including site visits, which this year took in Thursday Island in Queensland and Ouyen in Victoria. This geographic spread demonstrates that right across Australia, it is community pharmacy that is at the forefront of innovation and excellence in patient care.
This year, special congratulations go to 777 Pharmacy at Shoalwater in Western Australia as the winner of this year’s Guild Pharmacy of the Year.
As our own National Senior Vice President and GPY Judge, Nick Panayiaris said, “This year the quality of nominations again lifted the benchmark in terms of the innovation, commitment and dedication to community pharmacy and their patients.”
He highlighted Shoalwater 777 Pharmacy’s use of automation which frees up pharmacists’ time so they can focus on what they are trained to do and that is to look after patients with Shoalwater’s patient base being largely elderly.
As I learnt by attending numerous presentations and workshops, there is a lot to be positive about in pharmacy as right now we have several challenges and opportunities to explore. The session about the Guild’s Workforce Capability Project shared key findings and insights into workforce trends, supply and demand modelling, remuneration and training for pharmacists.
The interactive clinical governance workshop walked delegates through case studies of how to integrate clinical governance principles into pharmacy systems and processes. And of course, there were the many sessions on full scope of practice and what it means for patient care and improved access to care were extremely well attended.
And just as us travelling Aussies have learnt, after the grounding of aircraft during the pandemic, community pharmacy is going places!
Contact: The Guild