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Australian Journal of Pharmacy : February 2005
letters Pharmacist’s role in immunisation— GP comments ring hollow Editor, I read with interest the article by Kymberly Martin in this month’s AJP on immunisa- tion (Calling the shots on education and information, AJP, January 2005, pages 26–30) and enhancing the role of pharma- cists in educating and informing con- sumers about immunisation. The comments from two leading GP immunisation protagonists in supporting (though arguably somewhat a little cau- tiously) an increased pharmacy educa- tion-related involvement need to be taken in context. run by the Immunisation Working Group of the Australian Divisions of Gen- eral Practice (ADGP) under the aegis of the National General Practice Immunisation Program. The program has the overall aim of improving the quality of vaccina- tion services provided by GPs, with the overall goal of improving the immunisa- tion rates Australia-wide. Your readers may be interested in the outcomes of a recent (August 2004) work- shop1 The workshop was well attended by ‘...a large cross-section of delegates from all states and territories and a record number of GPs’ and covered numerous topics related to the aims mentioned above. Workshop sessions included strate- gies for sustainability, hard to reach groups and future innovations in problem solving. They addressed issues such as how to maintain and market sustainabil- ity, positives achieved, overcoming cul- tural issues, and barriers and solutions to increasing immunisation rates. All good stuff and highly relevant with lots of ref- erences to working with consumer groups, caregivers, practice nurses, etc. However, don’t waste your time look- ing for any reference to the role of phar- macy or pharmacists or even mention of either word. Because there isn’t any! No doubt someone at some stage mentioned pharmacy, either positively or negatively, during the day but it certainly didn’t reg- ister on the recorders of the proceedings as having a specific, enhanced or even noteworthy role in any future plans to increase immunisation rates. Now that the Immunise Australia seven-point plan has concluded,2 timely, as the Pharmacy Guild has done through the release of it latest report,3 it is to revisit and promote pharmacy’s role in immunisation and to stress the added- value that pharmacists can bring to the overall immunisation process. Pharmacy has a key role to play in this along side of, and in support of, our med- ical colleagues. If the report of the recent GPs’ workshop is any indication, it may, however, take a lot more to convince them of that. Bill Kelly CEO Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy Barton ACT References: 1. Proceedings from the 4th Biennial National Divisions Immunisation Workshop, Cairns, 18 August 2004, www.adgp.org.au/site/ index.cfm?display=338 accessed 10 January 2004. 2. Immunisation Policy Initiatives, Department of Health and Ageing, www.health.gov.au/ internet/wcms/Publishing.nsf/Content/health- pubhlth-strateg-immunis-7point.htm accessed 10 January 2005. 3. The Role of the Pharmacy in Immunisation in Australia. Pharmacy Guild of Aus- tralia, November 2004, www.guild.org.au/ public/researchdocs/DraftFinalImmunisationRe- portwebversion.pdf accessed 10 January 2005. Declaration of interest: AACP was involved with the University of Sydney in the first report on Immuni- sation in Community Pharmacy, February 1998. Thank you AJP Editor, I write to express appreciation to you and your Journal for consistent attention to dis- ease state management by pharmacists, and in particular for your initiatives regard- ing asthma management developments. We are all now aware of the consider- able contribution being made to the 3+ Asthma Plan by community pharmacies across Australia. The AJP has played a major part in describing the difficulties associated with the 3+ Plan. Since early inception of the Plan, the Pharmacists Asthma Group (PAG) has consistently recommended that pharmacists be informed of the Plan, and that they be encouraged to recommend and refer appropriate asthma patients to a GP for action. Your Journal devoted considerable space to this discussion at the time. The funds now dedicated to the Phar- macy Information Package result from a consistent campaign, described initially by the AJP as a requirement for success. As the AJP reported, such a new ini- tiative for patients, implemented by GPs, and requiring understanding by patients, would not reach best outcomes if phar- macists were not involved. There are a number of initiatives ded- icated to improved asthma management currently underway, and AJP has consis- tently reported on these developments. I congratulate the AJP on the approach to these important health concerns, and wish you success in ‘maintaining the rage’ in 2005. Simon Appel Chair Pharmacists Asthma Group Letter to the editor competition A your say S a joint initiative to reward readers for taking the time to write letters to the editor to the AJP, Therapeutic Guidelines Limited has agreed to sponsor a 12-month subscription to eTG complete—the electronic version of the familiar book series—to be awarded to the writer of the best letter submitted each month. When sending a letter to the editor, please limit your letter to 300 words, and include your name, address and a contact telephone number should the editor require clarification. THE WINNER this month is Bill Kelly. 70 ? THE AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF PHARMACY VOL 86 FEBRUARY 2005