A personal touch for Tasmanian conference

Over 100 pharmacists from all areas came together over the weekend for the second Tasmanian Pharmacy Conference.

Tasmanian Branch President Helen O’Byrne says she was delighted that, with careful planning, it was possible to hold the conference face to face after what has been a challenging 12 months for the profession.

“Our first conference last year was held just weeks before the full force of Covid-19 hit the world. This time round we had to make sure we planned everything carefully to ensure a CovidSafe event.”

The conference provided two days of information sharing, clinical professional development sessions and the opportunity to network with colleagues and peers.

There was a broad range of conference sessions but without a doubt the outstanding session was a panel discussion with Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hine, Director of Public Health Dr Mark Veitch and Secretary of Department of Health Ms Kathrine Morgan-Wicks providing insight into the work done in the initial stages of the pandemic to ensure the safety of Tasmanians as Covid-19 swept across the world.

The panel, convened by former Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett, provided an understanding of how agencies worked together to formulate the States response at the onset of the pandemic.

“It was incredibly interesting to find out how the decisions that were made early on have without doubt shaped the success of our State’s response to date in keeping Tasmanians safe,” says Ms O’Byrne.

While the border closure to Victoria until midnight the day before the conference meant some interstate delegates, including Guild officials, were unable to attend, Ms O’Byrne says the event has always been aimed firmly at the Tasmanian pharmacy community and the majority of delegates and speakers were locals.

“In our current Covid-19 world there is always a risk that border closures will happen suddenly – so in organising an event such as our conference you plan accordingly. We are incredibly fortunate that we have many internationally renowned experts in their field who also happen to live and work in Tasmania”, says Ms O’Byrne.

“We had a wonderful line up of speakers including economist Saul Eslake who presented on the impact of Covid-19 on the Tasmanian and Australian economies and Professor Katie Flanagan, Head of Infectious Diseases at the Launceston General Hospital who provided an overview of the worldwide Covid-19 vaccine landscape.”

The conference dinner on the Saturday evening included the presentation of the annual Tasmanian Pharmacist Awards, where the 2021 Tasmanian Pharmacist of the Year recipient, Duncan McKenzie was recognised for his work in preparing the Tasmanian hospital system for increased Covid-19 hospitalisations.

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