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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : October 2006
psa NCE each year the heads of all Australian governments fly in to Canberra for a meeting to refine the way services are delivered to the population. Among the issues discussed at this year’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting were plans to bring in a single national registration scheme for a range of health practitioners (including pharmacists) and a national scheme for the accreditation of health professions’ education and training. In relation to the national registration scheme, the official COAG communiqué said: ‘In order to facilitate workforce mobil- ity, improve safety and quality, and reduce red tape, COAG has agreed to establish by July 2008 a single national registration scheme for health professionals, begin- ning with the nine professions currently registered in all jurisdictions. COAG has agreed to undertake consultation with stakeholders on its preferred model of a national cross-professional registration body which would also involve health pro- fessions participating in the scheme’s gov- ernance through profession-specific pan- els and committees. COAG noted that this is the first tranche of national registration and that other professional groups (including Aboriginal health workers) may be added over time.’ An additional COAG statement said: ‘COAG has agreed to undertake consul- tation with stakeholders on its preferred model, a single cross-profession national registration board that would assume ongoing administration for a consolidated national health practitioner registration scheme. The scheme would maintain a presence in each state and territory, pri- marily to manage receipt and investiga- tion of complaints/notifications and dis- ciplinary matters regarding registered practitioners. All governments (state, ter- ritory and the Commonwealth) would be involved in governance arrangements, with a primary policy setting, governance from the president Pharmaceutical Society of Australia president Brian Grogan Towards national registration O and implementation role for the ministe- rial council comprising Commonwealth, state and territory health ministers, to be detailed in the Intergovernmental Agree- ment. ‘In addition, the scheme would facili- tate expert input on professional matters for professions covered by the scheme, to be provided through participation on pro- fession-specific committees, panels or such other mechanisms. ‘Under the preferred model, the scheme would be implemented in parallel with proposed reforms to establish a national accreditation scheme, and would be self funding, with estimated establish- ment costs of up to $12.3 million over four years to be jointly funded by the Com- monwealth and the states and territories.’ PSA supports...a national registration scheme as it would help resolve...issues ...such as barriers to movement between states and duplication of fees and charges PSA supports the implementation of a national registration scheme as it would help resolve several current issues for the profession such as barriers to movement between states and duplication of fees and charges. The Society expects to be involved in the consultation process and to have strong representation on committees at both the national level and any state- based bodies (such as complaint/discipli- nary panels). As the major provider of standards for the specific services pro- vided by pharmacists, PSA believes its 16 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL.87 OCTOBER 2006 input will be valuable in setting up struc- tures to deal with complaints and discipli- nary issues. We do not believe such mat- ters should be dealt with by an overall national authority, but should remain the province of each individual jurisdiction. While supporting the move towards national registration, we would have con- cerns, however, if the final structure of a national registration scheme tried to impose a ‘one size fits all’ requirement across all health professions. There are certain issues unique to pharmacy (as indeed there are issues unique to each of the other registered health professions) and wewould like the final structure to be able to accommodate the needs of the profession. Regarding the national accreditation scheme, COAG had this to say: ‘COAG has also agreed to undertake consultation with stakeholders on its pre- ferred model, a single cross-profession national accreditation authority [costing $7.5m] that would be given effect through either a statutory body or a non-statutory corporate body. All governments (Com- monwealth, state, territory) would be involved in governance arrangements, including a primary policy setting, gover- nance and implementation role for a min- isterial council comprising Common- wealth, state and territory health ministers, to be detailed in the Intergov- ernmental Agreement. ‘COAG has further agreed that the pre- ferred model would facilitate expert input on professional matters for professions covered by the scheme.’ Once again, PSA expects to be among the stakeholders consulted and we will be representing members’ views in the appropriate forums. It’s certain the scheme will cover existing pharmacy courses (currently under the jurisdiction of the Council of Pharmacy Registering Authorities), but it is less clear how widely it will be applied beyond that (that is, to activities such as CPE or credentialing). ¦