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Somewhere over the rainbow – way up high – there is our Ray of Hope

posted Nov 23, 2009, 8:40 PM by 藥物教育資源中心DERC

(Originally posted on 2006-05-16)

Have you ever felt frustrated in your daily work to the extent that you just wish you are not a pharmacist? It really does not matter where you work, because whether in the hospitals or in the community, the frustrations are there. There just does not seem to be signs of improvement on either side of the practice. This seems to have gone on for ages and seems to go on forever...

But is this really so? Can't we do anything to change the situation? Oh, yes, of course! Surely we have to do something and indeed we have done a lot. Just that this time we are serious about what we are doing and this time it is no longer the usual outcries, the isolated complaints, the scattered sounds of discontent here and there. This time, we are here to announce to the entire Hong Kong SAR that we really mean what we are saying.

Now, this letter serves to keep you informed about what are our plans with some information on the operational details. This is perhaps the most important letter that you must read in order to get the latest ground breaking development news about the progress of the pharmacy profession in Hong Kong. So, please read on.

The Formation of the "Separation of Prescribing from Dispensing Alliance (SPDA)" 「爭取醫藥分家大聯盟」

Recently, the three professional societies/association including the Pharmaceutical Society of Hong Kong (PSHK), the Practising Pharmacists Association of Hong Kong (PPAHK) and the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong (SHPHK) have come together to form the “Separation of Prescribing from Dispensing Alliance – (SPDA) 「爭取醫藥分家大聯盟」”.

This SPD Alliance essentially continues the work of the Task Force on Separation of Prescribing from Dispensing which was formed some time ago with members also from PSHK, PPAHK and SHPHK. You might not be aware but the task force, through a series of meetings and efforts beginning from mid 2005, has collected many papers and references on the development progress of Separation of Prescribing from Dispensing in overseas countries as well as in Hong Kong. It has come to a point for the task force to recognize that in order to make effective changes to the situation; we need to appoint a Consultant who can advise on the political moves that are necessary to address the issues surrounding the SPD topic which will receive the appropriate attention from the public and the Government. To this end, Mr Mau Chi Wang (繆熾宏) who is the Managing Director of Paradigm Shift Consultancy (新觀點顧問公司) was appointed. With his advice and input, the SPDA is formed.

Mr Mau also has made a series of proposals / suggestions on how the SPDA should work aggressively and to get prepared so that when the Coroner Court releases the investigation report about the Dr SL Lee’s wrong medication dispensing incidents, the SPD Alliance is there to make a prompt response to the report on behalf of the pharmacy profession.

With Mr Mau’s input and facilitation, members should have learnt and read about the press conference which was held jointly by PSHK, PPAHK and SHPHK on May 3rd where the three Presidents and the Education Director of Drug Education Resources Centre spoke about the problems of medications mismanagement that has occurred in the old aged homes as revealed and reported in the mass media.

This particular example where the pharmacist profession has acted promptly and appropriately by stating the stand and position of the pharmacist profession on drug related problems that come to light has shown how important it is for us to get prepared in a structured and organized manner so that in the event of any medication incidents that find their ways to the public eyes, we can speak up for the profession and indeed for the public to convey the message that pharmacists can have their roles and contribution to improve the overall medication management process in the hospitals, in the community as well as in the old aged homes for the benefits of our patients and that such roles should be recognized and be given the opportunity to take place.

The Membership for SPD Alliance

For the SPD Alliance, there would be a core group and in order to effectively manage the size of the group, it was decided that the total number of core group members should be between 9 to 15, with the Presidents and some General Committee members from each of the 3 societies/association as well as some members from the original SPD Task Force.

The scope and objectives of the SPD Alliance

The SPD Alliance would have the following objectives:

  1. To organize and deliver a Strategic Planning Workshop in September/October 2006 involving the appropriate representatives from various pharmacy practice sectors to work out the roadmap for the development of SPD in Hong Kong.
  2. To organize or co-organize public awareness campaign/programs to promote the importance of SPD.

The Scopes of work for the SPD Alliance include:

  • Lobby the political parties, legislators, government departments
  • Organize media coverage and press conferences
  • Raise funds in order to cover the financial costs
  • Publish publications e.g. pamphlet, booklet, promotion leaflet
  • Hold forums or meetings to update pharmacists on progress and development
  • Conduct surveys to collect feedback from the public and the profession

The actions plans for the next 2 months :

The SPD Alliance would have the action plans work out. Some of the immediate actions include :

  • Attend the Joint Meeting of Health Services & Social Welfare Panel on Nursing Home issue at Legco LegCo on 15th May 2006. (福利事務委員會及衛生事務委員會聯席會議 about 安老院派錯藥事件). Please see detail submissions made by SHPHK, PSHK and PPAHK.
  • Attend the meeting of 「醫療專職人員聯席會議」 on 19th May to discuss the appointment of representatives from the allied health group to run for the 800 members of the Election Committee to vote for the HKSAR Chief Executive in March 2007.
  • Hold press conference on May 21st to announce the formation of SPDA and a series of other important announcements.
  • Arrange meetings with the relevant people including : the Chief Executive, the Central Policy Unit, the Executive Council, Legco Members and head of political parties, various influential politicians, etc.
  • Increase public awareness about SPD and prepare materials for making TV documentary, newspaper column coverage, etc.

The Future is in our hands

Now, you can see the whole picture about the entire plan on SPD by the three professional societies and association. You will definitely agree that the future is in our hands and needless to emphasize but it is very important that we get the full support from all of you in what we intend to do. You may have many questions about the details; you may even have doubts about what we are doing and how we are doing them. This is absolutely acceptable and perfectly understandable. But you must not question about the intention of this whole exercise. All of those who have participated in the process so far share only one vision – we can do it. We have given in our time and efforts and we want to move forward together. Please join in and support us. Give us your constructive comments and let us do this together.

Remember, the journey is long and hard. If we do not unite, we will waste time battling against each other in the profession. Remember, somewhere over the rainbow – way up high – there is our Ray of Hope. So, give us your blessings and support.

Stay tuned and watch out for more news update.

From the three Presidents on behalf of the SPD Alliance,

Mr Benjamin Kwong, President, The Pharmaceutical Society of Hong Kong
Mr Billy Chung, President, The Practising Pharmacists Association of Hong Kong
Mr K W Ng, President, The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong