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E-Bulletin Issue No 89

Message from the PSS Council

It has been a busy yet rewarding year for PSS. Our annual congress was successfully held with a half-page feature on pharmacists in the Straits Times on 18 August 2013. Our Pharmacy Week was also successfully held from 14-20 October 2013 We have conducted 7 CPEs, 3 workshops and 12 pre-registration pharmacists training sessions. Our Certified Pharmacy Technicial Course is into its 25th intake. Our volunteers have also delivered public education talks and engaged in outreach activities in collaboration with the Northwest Community Developement Council, National University of Singapore Pharmaceutical Society, MOH City for all Ages (Ageing Planning Office) and National Council of Social Services. We launched the Shining Stars initiative to showcase our role models in community pharmacy. The Pharmacists Health Ambassador Programme is in its 7th year and the collaboration with the Agency for Intergrated Care- iCHAMPs was rolled out this year. All in the effort to ensure pharmacists, being an integral part of the healthcare team (no matter which sector we practice in) strive to provide safe and quality care that is accessible and affordable.

Nationally, we are represented in the MOH Nursing Home Standard Workgroup, MOH Telemedicine Guidelines Committee, MOH Medication Safety Taskforce, HPB workgroups, Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore, Singapore Sports Council Anti-Doping Singapore Board. Representation at international pharmacy associations include Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Society (FAPA) and Western Pacific Pharmaceutical Forum (WPPF).

For that, we have to thank all the volunteers for their selfless commitment, innovation and hard work in making all our activities possible.

There are certainly issues and engagement with the various sectors  we need to improve on and we will continue to work on them.  We welcome any suggestions you might have for us to help engage you better. 

PSS would also like to thank all our members for their unwavering support towards the society and profession. We wish you a most healthy and fulfilling 2014 ahead!

PSS awarded the ESPA Excellent Partnership Award

The Health Products Regulation Group (HPRG), Health Sciences Authority (HSA) organized its inaugural HPRG Excellent Stakeholder & Partnership Awards (ESPA) on 6 Nov 2013. For the first time, HPRG is introducing the ESPA event as a public platform to recognize exemplary behaviour and teamwork demonstrated by HPRG’s stakeholders. PSS was one of the organizations which won the Excellent Partnership Award. 

Mr Ivan Chew (ex-officio of PSS Community Chapter) receiving the award from Guest-of-Honour Dr Amy Khor (Senior Minister of State, Health & Manpower)

SIG Online case studies

Online case studies are back! And to beat it all, its complimentary to all PSS members! 

To access these case studies, simply follow these instructions:-

1. Visit www.pss.org.sg. Under member’s login, key in your user ID and password (your user ID is your PSS membership number). If you forget or do not know the password, click “request new password”, key in your email address and the password will be sent via email to you. (Please contact PSS at 6221 1136 if you need assistance)

2. Upon successful login, go to the Healthcare Professionals tab, under the section “Pharmacist”, click CE Online to access the CE module. Choose the case study you want to access.

3. Complete the assessment and you will be eligible for 1 CPE point (category 3A). However, please note that you will have to submit this claim at the SPC website.

Renewal of PSS membership

You will have received your membership payment advice to renew membership for 2014. If you have any of your particulars changed, please remember to update our secretariat. This is important so that you will continue to receive updates from us. If you have not received any payment advice, kindly contact PSS secretariat at 6221 1136 or email admin@pss.org.sg

For a list of member’s benefits, please visit www.pss.org.sg/members-benefits

PSS is the only professional body that represents pharmacists in Singapore. To hold to our mission of “Maximizing the contribution of pharmacists to the healthcare of residents in Singapore” we need your support. A strong PSS will enable us to have a louder voice as we strive to advance our profession. Please continue to support or volunteer in our efforts. 

ichp invitation to fapa member countries

Dec , 16 2013 

Reference : 

http://www.pharm.org.tw/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=955:fapa-ichp-invitation-to-fapa-member-countries&catid=29:fapa&Itemid=66

The 2014 International Conference of Health  Professionals to be held on Janury 30-31, 2014 at PICC, Manila, Philippines.

1218a

1218b

 

Assessing the health situation in the Central African Republic

WHO identifies key health priorities in the Central African Republice

Dec , 17 2013 

Reference :

http://www.who.int/hac/crises/caf/features/19december2013/en/index.html

WHO team visited the displacement camp near Mpoko airport hosting around 45 000 people who have fled recent violence, to rapidly assess the health situation and priority needs.

At the Mpoko camp, as across the rest of the country, key health concerns include:

  • the large number of internally displaced people (150,000 in Bangui and 500,000 nationwide) living in overcrowded sites without access to safe water and sanitation, which increases the risk of diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery.
  • health workers fleeing insecurity and leaving health facilities unstaffed
  • major shortages of medicines and medical supplies.
  • damage to and looting of health facilities by armed groups – more than 50% of the health facilities assessed so far have been vandalized or looted, and lack essential medicines; 3 facilities alone were again looted in Bangui last night
  • weak disease surveillance in a context of poor living conditions and a high burden of communicable diseases such as malaria and pneumonia
  • sexual and gender based violence, in a context of already high HIV prevalence
  • insufficient operational partners to provide hospital and basic health care services.

The most pressing priorities for WHO and its partners are:

  • the immediate provision of trauma care and surgery for persons with injuries
  • restoration of basic and emergency health services, including hospital services
  • continued provision of medicines and medical supplies
  • disease surveillance, and prevention and control of communicable diseases
  • overall health response coordination, including increasing the geographical overage of a minimum package of health care services.

Christmas in Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan

December 2013

Reference : 

http://www.who.int/features/2013/tacloban-christmas/en/index.html

In hardest-hit Tacloban, a Christmas tree stands about 15 metres tall in front of the city hall. This year the holiday tree is made of used plastic bottles and iron pipes.

The impact of Typhoon Haiyan is still widely felt in the city, as residents try to get on with their lives and gear-up for Christmas, the most celebrated holiday of the year in the Philippines.

A Christmas tree, made of used plastic bottles and iron pipes, stands about 15 meters tall in front of Tacloban city hall, the Philippines.

A. Musani

The tree may look simple, but typhoon disaster survivors like Nelly Abiertas, a 37-year-old receptionist at the Alejandro Hotel, says it gives hope to the community. “All we want is to forget about what happened and to get on with our lives” she says.

Signs of progress

As the recovery phase continues, there are signs of progress.

Those hospitals that are functioning are providing services at well beyond the capacity for which they were designed.

Dr Aileen Riel-Espina, chief medical professional staff at Easter Visayas Regional Medical Centre, says the hospital is doing the best it can to accommodate as many patients as possible.

“Our hospital is a 275-bed hospital but we currently have 376 in-patients on foldable beds, benches and children sharing beds in the paediatric ward,” she says.

Outside, traces of daily life are returning. Markets have opened, selling fresh fruit and meat. Restaurants and hotels have resumed business as repairs continue.

In one part of the city, 33-year-old Mr Chap Yu uses pieces of wood and nails he picked up from the debris of what used to be his home to rebuild a room. “I come here during the day to try to build back our house” he says, while his wife and children wait in their camp site. They have been offered room in a temporary shelter that is being constructed for those affected, but he prefers for the family to return to their house.

Formidable challenges

But the scope of the challenges ahead are formidable – to rebuild public works and health infrastructure, restart the local economy and schools, ensure that basic health and personal needs are met, and help people recover from their personal losses.

For now, the main roads in the city have been cleared of the largest items, like fallen electricity poles and trees. Daily truckloads of debris are taken from the city to temporary dump sites. Pieces of what used to be cement walls of buildings and huge sheets of tin roofs are stacked by the roadside to make way for trucks carrying relief goods around the city.

Piles of garbage still linger on the sides of the roads, particularly in areas where residents camp in tents while waiting for the temporary shelters to be constructed. Children run and play around these shelters sometimes dangerously close to the dangling electricity wires.

Electricity is available in a few parts of the city like hospitals, government offices and certain business areas but the power fluctuates and only those with generators can have a regular supply of electricity.

Among other health concerns, recent rains have caused puddles of water, which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can carry and transmit infectious diseases such as dengue and chikungunya.

Having sufficient supplies of safe drinking water and adequate sanitation are key to protecting health – particularly to prevent diarrhoeal and other water-borne diseases.

“We come into Astrodome (Tacloban Convention Centre) whenever it rains,” said 25-year-old Jannes Berona, who is 8 months pregnant with her third child. She resides in one of the tents near the Astrodome, one of the main evacuation sites in Tacloban city. When asked about the facilities in her temporary home, she says “we have more than 10 toilets here, but they are often full and run out of water.”

Looking forward to 2014

A return to normalcy in 2014 will demand a comprehensive, cross-sector response that involves all parts of society.

In the health sector, the Department of Health, WHO and partners – UN and nongovernmental organizations – continue to work together to reestablish medical services in affected areas, strengthen disease surveillance and response, roll out vaccination campaigns to prevent measles and polio, and improve the water supply and sanitation to reduce and prevent water-borne infectious diseases. Stepping up mental health services for people of all ages, particularly children, is another top priority.

Even with the obstacles ahead, the level of resilience among the people most affected by the typhoon is immense. Everywhere in the city there are banners saying “Tindog Tacloban,” which means “Standup Tacloban.”

[Publication]: Forefront Volume 3 Number 47-48

Forefront

Forefront is a regular e-newsletter from the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.

Subscription is free and – while content is produced with Guild members in mind as the primary audience – open to anyone interested in news and current events relating to community pharmacy in Australia.

Just as community pharmacists are at the forefront of primary health care in the Australian community, Forefront aims to provide up-to-date, relevant and valuable content to subscribers.

Subscribers will receive regular (typically weekly) email summaries that link to more in-depth content on the Guild website. These summaries aim to provide a quick and convenient snapshot of news, which provides value to the reader even if they do not have time to view the expanded content.

Click here to subscribe and see below for links to recent editions.

Forefront issues

December

Notice of lodgement with the Fair Work Commission – alteration to the constitution

Dec , 19 2013 
Reference :

http://www.guild.org.au/docs/default-source/public-documents/news-and-events/media-releases/2013/notice-of-lodgement-with-the-fair-work-commission—alteration-to-the-constitution.pdf?sfvrsn=0

NOTICE OF LODGEMENT WITH THE FAIR WORK COMMISSION – ALTERATION TO THE 
CONSTITUTION

A notice was lodged with the Fair Work Commission on 19 December 2013 setting out the
particulars of:
 the rescinding of the rule alterations that were passed by National Council on 12 June 2013
and lodged with the Fair Work Commission on 13 June 2013 (known as R2013/48); and
 an alteration to the Constitution of The Pharmacy Guild of Australia. The alterations to the
Constitution, as voted on and approved by National Council, are set out below.


The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
2 - DEFINITIONS
In this Constitution
(a) "the Act" means the "Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009", as amended from time to
time.

(i) “officer” and “office” each have the meaning given to those terms in section 6 of the Act.
(i)(j) “Pharmacist” is a person or company registered as a Pharmacist by the relevant State Authority.
(j)(k) "Returning Officer" where applicable shall include an officer appointed by the Australian
Electoral Commission to conduct Guild elections.
(k)(l) “State” where applicable shall include a Territory of the Commonwealth.
(l)(m) The singular shall include the plural and masculine gender shall include all genders.


44 - FUNDS - APPLICATION

(f) The Guild, by the National Council and the National Secretariat, must develop and implement
policies relating to the expenditure of the Guild.
(g) Each Branch must develop and implement policies relating to the expenditure of that Branch.

44A - FUNDS – TRAINING
Each officer of the Guild and of each Branch of the Guild whose duties include duties (financial duties)
that relate to the financial management of the Guild or of the Branch (as the case may be) must undertake
training:
(a) approved by the General Manager of the Fair Work Commission under section 154C of the Act;
and
(b) that covers each of the officer’s financial duties,
and complete such training
(c) if the officer is an officer of the Guild or of the Branch when section 154D of the Act
commences, within six months after the commencement of that section; and
(d) in all other cases, within six months after the person begins to hold office. …
PART IV - DISCLOSURES
78 – DEFINITIONS UNDER PART IV
In Part IV of this Constitution:
(a) board means a board of directors, committee of management, council or other group of persons
who supervise, govern or otherwise have oversight of any corporation, organisation, association
or other body corporate.
(b) disclosure period for any disclosure required to be made under this Part IV means:
(i) if the requirement is for disclosure to be made in relation to a financial year – the financial
year; or
(ii) if the requirement is for disclosure to be made in relation to a shorter period – the shorter
period.
(c) electronic communication has the meaning given to that term in section 5 of the Electronic
Transactions Act 1999.
(d) non-cash benefit means property or services in any form other than money, but does not
include a computer, mobile phone or other electronic device that is used only or mainly for work
purposes.
(e) information has the meaning given to that term in section 5 of the Electronic Transactions Act
1999.
(f) information system has the meaning given to that term in section 5 of the Electronic
Transactions Act 1999.
(g) peak council has the meaning given to that term in section 12 of the Fair Work Act 2009.
(h) related party has the meaning given to that term in section 9B of the Act.
(i) relative in relation to a person, means:
(i) parent, step-parent, child, stepchild, grandparent, grandchild, brother or sister of the
person; or
(ii) the spouse of the first mentioned person,
and in this definition the terms child, parent, spouse, stepchild and step-parent have the
meanings given to those terms in the Act.
(j) relevant non-cash benefits in relation to an officer of the Guild or of a Branch (as the case may
be) for a disclosure period means the non-cash benefits provided to the officer, at any time
during the disclosure period, in connection with the performance of the officer’s duties as an
officer, by the Guild or the Branch (as the case may be) or by a related party of the Guild or the
Branch (as the case may be).
(k) relevant remuneration in relation to an officer of the Guild or of a Branch (as the case may be)
for a disclosure period is the sum of the following:
(i) any remuneration disclosed to the Guild or the Branch (as the case may be) by the officer
under Rules 79(a) and (b) during the disclosure period;
(ii) any remuneration paid, during the disclosure period, to the officer by the Guild or the
Branch (as the case may be).
(l) remuneration
(i) includes pay, wages, salary, fees, allowances, leave, benefits or other entitlements; but
(ii) does not include a non-cash benefit; and (iii) does not include the reimbursement or payment of reasonable expenses for the
costs incurred in the course of the officer carrying out his or her duties.
79 – DISCLOSURES OF RELEVANT REMUNERATION AND NON-CASH BENEFITS
(a) Each officer of the Guild, and each officer of a Branch of the Guild, shall disclose:
(i) any remuneration paid to the officer because the officer is a member of a board, if:
(a) the officer is a member of the board only because the officer is an officer of the
Guild or the Branch (as the case may be); or
(b) the officer was nominated for the position of member of the board by the Guild,
a Branch, or a peak council; or
(ii) any remuneration paid or non-cash benefit provided to the officer by any related party of
the Guild or the Branch (as the case may be) in connection with the performance of the
officer’s duties as an officer.
(b) The disclosure required by Rule 79(a) shall be made:
(i) in the case of an officer of the Guild – to the Guild; and
(i) in the case of an officer of a Branch – to the relevant Branch,
in writing as soon as practicable after the remuneration is paid, or non-cash benefit is provided,
to the officer.
(c) The Guild shall disclose to its members and its Branches:
(i) the identity of the officers of the Guild who are the five highest paid officers of the
Guild in terms of relevant remuneration for the disclosure period; and
(ii) for each of those officers:
(a) either the actual amount of the officer’s relevant remuneration for the disclosure
period, or the remuneration band into which the officer’s relevant remuneration
falls; and
(b) either the value of the officer’s relevant non-cash benefits, or the form of the
officer’s relevant non-cash benefits, for the disclosure period.
(d) Each Branch shall disclose to the Members in the Branch:
(i) the identity of the officers of the Branch who are the two highest paid officers of the
Branch in terms of relevant remuneration for the disclosure period; and
(ii) for each of those officers:
(a) either the actual amount of the officer’s relevant remuneration for the disclosure
period, or the remuneration band into which the officer’s relevant remuneration
falls; and
(b) either the value of the officer’s relevant non-cash benefits, or the form of the
officer’s relevant non-cash benefits, for the disclosure period.
(e) The disclosures under Rules 79(c) and (d) shall be made:
(i) in relation to each financial year;
(ii) within six months after the end of the financial year; and
(iii) in writing.

80 – DISCLOSURES OF MATERIAL PERSONAL INTERESTS
(a) Each officer of the Guild, and each officer of a Branch of the Guild, shall disclose any material
personal interest in a matter that: (i) the officer has or acquires; or
(ii) a relative of the officer has or acquires,
that relates to:
(iii) in the case of an officer of the Guild, the affairs of the Guild;
(iv) in the case of an officer of the Branch, the affairs of the Branch.
(b) The disclosure required by Rule 80(a) shall be made:
(i) in the case of an officer of the Guild – to the Guild; and
(ii) in the case of an officer of a Branch – to the relevant Branch,
in writing as soon as practicable after the interest is acquired.
(c) The Guild must disclose to its members and its Branches any interests disclosed to the Guild
pursuant to Rules 80(a) and (b).
(d) A Branch must disclose to its members any interests disclosed to the Branch pursuant to Rules
80(a) and (b).
(e) The disclosures under Rules 80(c) and (d) shall be made:
(i) in relation to each financial year;
(ii) within six months after the end of the financial year; and
(iii) in writing.

81 – DISCLOSURES OF PAYMENTS
(a) The Guild shall disclose to its members and its Branches either:
(i) each payment made by the Guild, during the disclosure period:
(a) to a related party of the Guild or of a Branch of the Guild; or
(b) to a declared person or body of the Guild; or
(ii) the total of the payments made by the Guild, during the disclosure period:
(a) to each related party of the Guild or of a Branch of the Guild; and
(b) to each declared person or body of the Guild.
(b) A Branch shall disclose to its members either:
(i) each payment made by the Branch, during the disclosure period:
(a) to a related party of the Branch; or
(b) to a declared person or body of the Branch; or
(ii) the total of the payments made by the Branch, during the disclosure period:
(a) to each related party of the Branch; and
(b) to each declared person or body of the Branch.
(c) Rules 81(a) and (b) do not apply to a payment made to a related party if:
(i) the related party is an officer of the Guild or the Branch (as the case may be) and the
payment:
(a) consists of remuneration paid to the officer by the Guild or the Branch (as the
case may be); or (b) is reimbursement for expenses reasonably incurred by the officer in performing
the officer’s duties as an officer; or
(ii) the payment consists of amounts deducted by the Guild or the Branch (as the case may
be) from remuneration payable to one or more officers or employees of the Guild or the
Branch (as the case may be).
(d) The disclosures under Rules 81(a) and (b) shall be made:
(i) in relation to each financial year;
(ii) within six months after the end of the financial year; and
(iii) in writing.
(e) For the purposes of this Rule 81, a person or body is a declared person or body of the Guild or
a Branch of the Guild if:
(i) an officer of the Guild or the Branch (as the case may be) has disclosed a material
personal interest under Rules 80(a) and (b); and
(ii) the interest relates to, or is in, the person or body; and
(iii) the officer has not notified the Guild or the Branch (as the case may be) that the officer
no longer has the interest.

82 – MANNER OF DISCLOSURE
(a) Where the Guild or a Branch is required to give information in writing, information may be given
to the member by electronic communication or by making the information available to the
member in accordance with Rule 82(c), if the member consents to the information being given or
made available in this way.
(b) For the purposes of Rule 82(a) a member will be taken to have provided consent if such consent
can be reasonably inferred from the conduct of that member.
(c) The Guild will be taken to have made disclosure in writing to its members and its Branches
under Rules 79, 80 and 81 if the information is made available to members and:
(i) the information is readily accessible so as to be useable for a subsequent reference by the
members and its Branches;
(ii) the members and its Branches are promptly notified by electronic means that the
information is available for retrieval on that information system and the nature of the
information; and
(iii) the information is available on the Guild’s information system for retrieval by electronic
communication for a minimum of seven(7) years from the date the disclosure is made.

PBS savings threaten pharmacy viability

Dec 17, 2013
The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook shows the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is not only sustainable, but is also delivering the largest savings of any budget measure.

Payments under the PBS are expected to be $526 million lower in 2013-14, and $2.7 billion lower over four years.  

The MYEFO document says this largely reflects “higher than estimated savings resulting from existing pricing policy.” This confirms the PBS is sustainable.

This $2.7 billion fillip for the Budget comes on top of the $6 billion of downgrades of PBS expenditure forward estimates since the 2011-12 Budget.

The Executive Director of the Guild, David Quilty, said: “While this is great news for taxpayers and for the Commonwealth coffers, it must be remembered that these exponential PBS savings are having a flow-on impact on the viability of local community pharmacies.”

The Pharmacy Guild estimates that the total impact of price disclosure on community pharmacies in 2014-15 will be on average a $90,000 reduction off the bottom line.  This includes $30,000 off the bottom line as a result of the accelerated price disclosure measure announced by the previous Government in August, without consultation with the industry. We believe this will threaten the viability of 40 per cent of Australia’s 5350 pharmacies – forcing loss of services and jobs.

Just this week the Government confirmed another round of price disclosure reductions to take effect from April next year. It has been clear for some years that the existing price disclosure regime is continuing to deliver larger than expected savings to the Commonwealth.

The Guild will continue to press the Government on the need for an adjustment to pharmacy remuneration to offset the impact of the newly-legislated accelerated price disclosure when it kicks in next financial year.

Audit confirms award compliance progress

Dec 16, 2013
The Fair Work Ombudsman’s national pharmacy audit report shows significant progress in award compliance across the industry.

The Ombudsman’s office (FWO) gives strong recognition to the role the Pharmacy Guild in educating members to comply with the Pharmacy Industry Award 2010.  Guild members achieved higher levels of compliance (79%) than the broader industry (75%). The Ombudsman’s report concluded: “The impact of the Guild’s involvement with their members in promoting compliance and particularly their pre-audit was evident throughout this campaign.”

Pharmacy businesses were found to be more likely to be compliant if they were Guild members and actively sought the advice of the Guild IR Managers.

The Executive Director of the Guild, David Quilty, said: “The Guild is confident – and the national audit confirms – that the overwhelming majority of community pharmacies act in good faith to comply fully with the complex requirements of the Pharmacy Industry Award.

“The progress shown in the national audit reflects the Guild’s work, co-operatively with the FWO, to remind pharmacy owners of the need to be diligent in understanding and meeting their obligations under the award,” he said.

“The Guild appreciates the constructive approach by the FWO, and will ensure its findings inform our ongoing work assisting our members to comply with their workplace obligations,” Mr Quilty said.  

While we will continue to strive for zero non-compliance, a sector wide 25% non-compliance rate is within FWO tolerances and certainly a significant improvement on the 44% non-compliance rate found in the 2010 Queensland audit which triggered the national audit.  The non-compliance in Queensland in the national audit was a creditable 12%.  The FWO noted: “In light of the 2010 audit program in Queensland, it was pleasing to find that the majority of businesses in Queensland were compliant.

The highest compliance rate was found in South Australia (93%), with the FWO describing it as an “outstanding result.”  This must be attributed in part to the Guild’s state based payroll service in that State.

The lowest compliance rate was at 33% in Western Australia, but the FWO noted that the sample in Western Australia was only six pharmacies, meaning four were non-compliant. 

The FWO reported very high immediate rectification of any under payments.  “It was pleasing to see employers wanting to work with us and quickly rectifying issues that were identified,” the report said. 

Of the 71 Guild members found to be in contravention, 29% had rectified their contraventions before the audit, and 60% rectified their contraventions immediately after the audit. 

No interns were found to be underpaid in any of the businesses audited.

The FWO noted that some contraventions related to uniform allowance non-compliance.  This is not surprising as the uniform allowance clause was found to be ambiguous during the recent two year review and was changed with effect from 1 October 2013 to provide better clarity in how it is to be paid and applied in the workplace.

Media inquiries: Greg Turnbull 0412 910261