Message from the President
As the year 2017 approaches the end, it is essential that we reflect on the activities and achievements of the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) and the general changes in the country that have impacted on pharmaceutical services during the year.
The International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) held the 77th World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in South Koreaunder the theme ‘Medicines and Beyond. The Soul of Pharmacy’. Delegates exchanged ideas on the changing role of pharmacists, where communities require more than just dispensing of medicines. Active participation in the health care of the patient coupled with innovation in technology, education and practice are required from the pharmacist. The changing South African healthcare scenario allows for dispensing of medicines by various healthcare personnel. As pharmacists, we will have to differentiate ourselves from those that just dispense medicines and ensure that our contribution is meaningful in the health care of the patient. Many pharmacists have initiated innovative practices that make a significant difference to patient care. We are proud of these pharmacists and hope that other members of the profession will follow the great example they have set. Future issues of Pharmaciae will feature some of the innovative practices that enhance the pharmaceutical services provided to our communities by some of our colleagues.
Response to the call for participation by pharmacists and pharmacies in the National Pharmacy Month programme, which focussed on the importance of vaccination, was excellent. Immunisation for children and adults is an area of pharmaceutical care that can benefit significantly from greater pharmacist involvement, especially with respect to education, advice and monitoring. It is hoped that pharmacists will strive to ensure that this crucial therapeutic class of pharmaceuticals are utilised optimally by all South Africans.
The SAPC is aware of the continual financial constraints experienced by pharmacists and pharmacy support personnel. We have endeavoured to curb general annual fee increases so that they do not exceed the rate of inflation, despite the rising number and costs of services supported by the Council. At a recent Council meeting, a decision was taken for the fees of students, education and training providers and tutors to remain unchanged. The fees for these categories have remained unchanged since 2014, signalling the commitment of the Council to education and training of more pharmacists and pharmacy support personnel.
Peer review of pharmacies and providers of education and training is a key responsibility of the SAPC. This is a quality assurance process to verify that relevant regulations and practice guidelines are adequately implemented. Council would like pharmacists and Council representatives to work collaboratively to ensure that practices by pharmacists comply with the required guidelines and do not expose the public to harm. Since the Council representatives are currently called ‘Inspectors’, a term that is not conducive to a collaborative relationship, these representatives will be called ‘Monitoring Officers’ in future. This issue of Pharmaciae has further details on this change.
Antibiotic resistance continues to threaten the world. The global plea for healthcare workers to implement practices that minimise antibiotic resistance remains strong. Pharmacists are ideally placed within the healthcare team to educate patients and prescribers on poor practices that may further propagate this deadly phenomenon. We encourage our colleagues to actively participate in the global effort to minimise antibiotic resistance.
Feedback from users of the customer care lines of the SAPC has shown significant improvement in 2017. This is probably due to changes in workflow and personnel that were implemented as part of a drive to improve customer experiences. Additional changes with the objective to further improve the customer experience will be implemented in the new year in response to reports from a work study analysis and a task team that was appointed to investigate customer perceptions of the SAPC.
We would like to thank the pharmacy profession for the support during the past year. We also express our gratitude to the team in the Office of the Registrar who work long hours to ensure that the operational functions of the SAPC are achieved.
On behalf of all Council members, I wish you and your family an enjoyable and safe festive period.