The first applications to submit pharmacists’ portfolios have come in following the opening of Advancing Practice, Australia’s new centralised mechanism for assessing pharmacists’ career achievements and impact on patient care.

The opening of Round 1 applications – which close Thursday 15 March – marks a coming-of-age in Australian pharmacy, at a pivotal time for Australian healthcare. Applicants will have four months to submit their portfolio, peer assessment and impact statements as evidence for evaluation, feedback and if successful credentialing.

Associate Professor Ian Coombes, Chair of the Advancing Practice Advisory Board, which oversees the new program, says “.It is crucial that pharmacists across all care settings are supported to step up and meet the demands of an ageing population and more complex medicines management and thrive at the full scope of their practice.

‘The need to install a rigorous framework through which to build a more highly skilled, flexible and adaptable pharmacy workforce has long been in focus for some of Australia’s leading practitioners.

‘Over the last decade a number of collaborative bodies have built upon a growing body of research and drawn from international example to refine an Advanced Practice framework suitable for the Australian landscape.’

Last year, a one-day roundtable think tank reaffirmed the urgent need for a robust, sustainable, independent credentialing process to recognise transform Australia’s pharmacy workforce.

‘The Advanced Practice Think Tank in February 2017, which comprised representatives from Australian pharmacy bodies, universities and leading international advanced practice groups, reiterated a collective commitment to developing a central operational mechanism for recognition of pharmacists at various stages of advancement and guide the development of the national pharmacy workforce,’ says Associate Professor Coombes.

‘The Think Tank confirmed the establishment of a sustainable credentialing process should not be delayed, should explore closer ties with international partners and should implement principles previously outlined and formally tested by the 2015 pilot of the Australian Pharmacy Council.’

Dr Catherine Duggan, CEO of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), Director of Professional Development at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and member of the Advancing Practice Advisory Board, says the return of a centralised credentialing process puts Australian in-step with global pharmacy workforce development.

‘In the UK, more than 3,000 pharmacists have started the professional recognition program for advanced practice. More than 500 have submitted their professional practice portfolio, peer-assessment evidence and scope of practice evidence and have been awarded recognised credentials for advanced practice:  the model upon which the new Australian approach is based.

‘As outlined in FIP’s 2015 Advanced Practice and Specialisation in Pharmacy global report and landmark 2016 Pharmaceutical Workforce Development Goals, putting education and training infrastructures in place to advance the pharmacy workforce as a basis for enhancing patient care is crucial to meeting tomorrow’s healthcare challenges.’

Download the media release