The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) has formally released the organisation’s first Reconciliation Action Plan, following endorsement by Reconciliation Australia, capping a year of advocacy and activity aimed at improving health care equity and outcomes for Australia’s first peoples.
SHPA Chief Executive Kristin Michaels says the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) marks an important moment of accountability.
‘We celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first pharmacists of Australia, bush medicine practitioners and doctors who practised on this land.
‘We pledge to listen, to learn and to act as we respectfully and collaboratively strengthen our organisation’s reconciliation journey.
‘And we plan to go on this journey in stages, beginning with our staff group based in Naarm. This frame is important, to ensure change is embedded at the heart of our organisation, first.’
The endorsement by Reconciliation Australia comes after SHPA was the first pharmacy organisation to openly support the Voice to Parliament in March, and the only pharmacy co-signatory among more than 125 health and medical organisations behind an open letter in September outlining collective support for the Yes vote.
SHPA President Tom Simpson says the Reflect RAP continues a history of speaking up to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
‘As a progressive organisation SHPA is committed to being a positive force for change.
‘We will continue to advocate for culturally safe practice in pharmacy, lead advocacy to expand the Closing the Gap Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Co-Payment Measure to include public hospitals and support our SHPA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Specialty Practice Group, which is unique in Australian pharmacy.
‘The Board of Directors thanks the many voices that helped bring this important document to life. Our RAP steps out actions that are challenging but achievable and we look forward to reporting on our progress into next year.’