Australian pharmacy has always evolved in step with advancing innovation in medicines, but the pace is quickening.

Through the challenges of COVID-19, pharmacy innovations have accelerated; barriers to virtual care continue to fall, and Australians’ collective digital literacy has increased; new models of team-based care have moved specialty pharmacy into the mainstream.

Our task now is to ensure our future workforce is fit for the task of more complex, interconnected care.

Hospital-based or hospital-informed training creates practitioners whose native habitat is multidisciplinary, collaborative care, surrounded by specialists and generalists from all healthcare professions.

Our members are shaping this evolution.

Through our Branches and Specialty Practice leadership committees, Directors of Pharmacy forums, Pharmacy Forecasts and countless informal discussions, we have heard your ideas for how we can provide the framework, supports and advocacy to establish our vision of the future of our profession within reality.

SHPA is embarking on a phase of transformation over the second half of 2023 and into 2024.

Through unprecedented investment in a new recognition program, specialty pharmacy and digital infrastructure, we are taking our organisation into a new era, transforming pharmacy to ensure the benefits of cutting-edge medicines and pharmacy practices reach every Australian.

Tom Simpson
SHPA President


How do we recognise your unique specialty experience, today and into the future?

SHPA is developing a comprehensive program to recognise the career progression of Australian pharmacists and technicians.

Our new recognition program (1) will help practitioners navigate an increasingly mobile professional landscape, as walls between care settings fall and more pharmacy care is delivered through specialty practice in interdisciplinary teams. SHPA’s recognition program will enable the achievements of Australian pharmacists to be clearly and concisely understood by their employers and peers, by healthcare colleagues and, most importantly, by the patients in their care.

The new program will fill a key gap in professional recognition as Australian pharmacists build their knowledge and expertise (2) and advance through their careers, increasing their positive impact on patient care, and growing into an increasing number of leading and specialty roles.

Importantly, pathways for pharmacy technicians will also be available, recognising the increasing autonomy and impact of these key roles, alongside fast-track pharmacist pathways that follow evidence-based Residency frameworks (3).

What we're doing:

1. Recognising and supporting your progress

Later this year, SHPA is launching a new program that will recognise specialty skills and experience in Australian pharmacy.

SHPA’s recognition program will enable the achievements of practitioners to be clearly and concisely understood by their employers and peers, by healthcare colleagues and, most importantly, by the patients in their care.

The program will guide Australian pharmacists and technicians through an intuitive portfolio-building portal, enabling practitioners to build a career-long evidence library, and submit portfolios for recognition against three progressive levels, and any one of more than 30 specialty disciplines aligned with our Specialty Practice.

2. Informing education

SHPA is expanding Australia’s pre-eminent pharmacy education program, our centrepiece of expert, member-led specialty development.

Our Foundation-level education will become entirely self-paced through online modules, ensuring pharmacists can instantly undertake this key learning upon starting or commencing a specialty rotation or moving into an area of practice.

We are also introducing access to our Clinical Competency Achievement Tool (ClinCAT®) for pharmacy technicians and Allied Health peers, and exploring extension into international pharmacy practice, ensuring broader access to this key competency framework that supports training and development.

In 2024, education of all levels will be available for conversion into microcredentials, extending the value of targeted, specialty learning across our leading seminar program. Completed microcredentials will automatically feed into each user’s recognition program library as evidence of career development.

3. Fast-tracking development through Residencies

We are accelerating investment into Australia’s only formal, structured experiential learning program for pharmacy, comprising generalist Foundation Residencies that feed into specialty Advanced Training Residencies. Eleven specialty ATRs are currently available, with three in development, including outside hospital settings.

The residency model is a powerful and proven driver of early career success and satisfaction, valued by practitioners and managers alike, guiding pharmacists’ professional journeys along structured learning pathways to increase their capability and capacity to contribute to patient care.


How do we improve connection between like-minded practitioners, across the country and overseas?

Specialty pharmacy is not the future – it is a cornerstone of our practice.

Medicines are our most common healthcare intervention, but many still confer high risk in the hospital setting and on discharge. The increasing complexity of medicines has fostered a long history of specialty skill development in hospital pharmacy, honing the precise medicines knowledge and expertise of pharmacists and technicians to ensure their safe and timely use.

Specialty pharmacy (4) is the foundation of innovations reducing delays to treatment and the length of hospital stays; these include collaborative prescribing (5) and pharmacist-led stewardship programs in antimicrobial, anticoagulant, analgesic, and antipsychotic treatments.

As Australia’s peak body championing specialty pharmacy practice, SHPA will continue to grow our support for pharmacists and technicians with  Standards of Practice (6) that support the specialty care they provide, eventually spanning 23 pharmacy disciplines.

What we're doing:

4. Investing in Specialty Practice

By the end of 2023, we will support 33 Specialty Practice groups, while investment in digital infrastructure will tighten connections between practitioners around the country through direct notifications and a new app.

SHPA’s Specialty Practice program is the cornerstone of specialty pharmacy in Australia, surrounding and empowering pharmacists and technicians in networks and partnerships that facilitate interdisciplinary care, wrapped around the patient. Through this model, pharmacists and technicians are recognised for the highly specialised skills in medication management they bring to the healthcare team, whether this is in aged care, a GP practice, a community pharmacy or on a hospital ward.

5. Championing collaborative care

SHPA will continue to champion collaborative care across settings as hospital-informed pharmacy expertise rises to meet our public health challenges including medicines access, equity and safety, transitions of care and Closing the Gap.

A key focus in Partnered Pharmacist Medication Charting (PPMC), proven to be ten times safer for patients, who as a result spend 10% less time in hospital; in 2023, SHPA is investing in PPMC credentialling to ensure its benefits can reach more practitioners and patients.

6. Setting the standard

SHPA’s landmark Standard of Practice in Clinical Pharmacy Services has guided Australian practice for a decade. In 2023-24 we’re rebuilding this central blueprint for clinical pharmacy practice to reflect contemporary and emerging practices that complete the patient journey in and out of hospital.

Our members’ deep history in specialty pharmacy enables their expertise to shape policy decisions and practice standards, facilitating profession- and nation-wide impact; SHPA has 11 specialty Standards of Practice in development, which will bring the number of new and updated standards to 23.

In progress
On the horizon


Who will speak for the pharmacists and technicians of the future?

SHPA is evolving to meet the moment.

To move between increasingly collaborative care settings, specialty practitioners need a strong champion and flexible, career-long support (7) as they accumulate experience, expertise and evidence of their impact.

Collaborative models of team-based care (8) allow pharmacy, medical, nursing and allied health care professionals to practice at the top of their scope, delivering true interdisciplinary synergy for the ultimate benefit of every patient .

As pharmacists and technicians are more agile and mobile in their roles, between community pharmacies, hospitals, primary care and aged care, SHPA is evolving to meet the needs of our entire profession (9), a truly representative peak body for pharmacy practice in Australia.

What we're doing:

7. Investing in digital

We continue to make significant investment in digital infrastructure and capability to ensure pharmacists and technicians, members and users, are better connected and supported through intuitive technology.

Phase 1 of SHPA’s Digital Infrastructure Project included the new member dashboard and comprehensive CPD Planning + Recording tool.

Phase 2 – which will begin roll-out in late 2023 – will see a new app-enabled Member Hub and portfolio-building portal for our new recognition program, supporting you with information and connection via alerts and notifications and maybe (just maybe) the end of email as we know it.

8. Your voice for deprescribing

The world’s first journal-published use of the term ‘deprescribing’ was in SHPA’s Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, 20 years ago. Today, our members are behind the rise of deprescribing from a novel phrase to a proven principle embraced by team-based care.

Pharmacist-supported deprescribing recognises the art of achieving safe balance between the quality and length of life made possible by modern medicines, and the harmful impacts of polypharmacy and hyperpolypharmacy. Working collaboratively and with the patient at the centre, deprescribing can reduce mortality and hospitalisation, decrease healthcare costs, and improve quality of life.

As the peak body driving deprescribing, SHPA will lead the push for formal recognition of deprescribing as a core tenet of medicines safety.

9. An inclusive future

Hospital pharmacists remain core to our identity as an organisation, but much has changed in the eight decades since SHPA’s founding. SHPA embraces the entire profession across its membership, a truly representative peak body for pharmacy practice in Australia.

With practice development recognition (1) applicable to all settings – community and residential care, primary and transitions of care, and hospital care – and to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, we are evolving to meet the needs of the entire sector, in service to all communities.

The timeline below shows our history of representation and progress, informing and informed by advances in Australia pharmacy.


For more than 80 years, SHPA has represented and advocated for practitioners operating at the highest levels of pharmacy and healthcare, leading and harnessing innovations on a national scale to advance professional pharmacy services, supporting all Australians. 

Transformation 2024 is the next step in our story.

Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Victoria inaugurated in Victoria
Society conference becomes annual event
Limited pharmaceutical benefits scheme introduced
First hospital drug subcommittees established
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme legislated
Inaugural meeting of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) National Council
First SHPA National Conference held in Adelaide
Australian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy established
Hospital-based clinical pharmacy services embedded nationally
Medibank (Medicare) established
The Therapeutic Goods Administration is formalised
First Community Pharmacy Agreement (CPA) begins
First SHPA Standards of Practice for Clinical Pharmacy published
Clinical pharmacy services are supported in the community setting through Australian Government funding for Medication Management Reviews in residential aged care facilities
Pharmaceutical Reform Agreements (PRAs) introduced, providing a funding model for medicines equity and clinical pharmacy services in Australian hospitals
First edition of Clinical Pharmacy: A practical approach published
SHPA becomes first Australian professional pharmacy organisation to welcome Technicians as members
National Medicines Policy
First Pharmaceutical Reform Agreement (PRA) signed by Victoria
Western Australian and Queensland sign PRA
Northern Territory signs PRA
‘Deprescribing’ first published, in Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research
Revised SHPA Standards of Practice for Clinical Pharmacy published
South Australia signs PRA
Tasmania first jurisdiction to introduce real-time prescription monitoring (RTPM)
Tasmania signs PRA
Partnered Pharmacist Medication Charting (PPMC) piloted at Victoria’s Alfred Health
Revised SHPA Standards of Practice for Clinical Pharmacy Services published
Advanced Practice program launched by the Australia Pharmacy Council
Foundation Residencies launched
Medicine shortages in Australia: A snapshot of shortages in Australian hospitals released
Specialty Practice launched
Advanced Practice Collaborative formed
Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety begins
Medication Safety declared Australia’s 10th National Health Priority Area
First round of Advancing Practice opens
Reducing Opioid-related Harm report released
SHPA reaches 5,000 members
Advanced Training Residencies launched
TGA introduces new mandated system for managing and communicating medicines shortages
Record attendance of 1,303 at MM2018
Smaller opioid pack sizes and other restrictions mandated
SHPA website relaunched
CPD Planning + Recording launched
81st FIP World Congress of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences held in Brisbane
Revised SHPA Standards of Practice for Clinical Pharmacy Services published

© 2023 The Society of Hospital Pharmaciss of Australia