Health Science Academy (HSA) is a small to medium sized private Further Education and Training (FET) college focusing on training and education in the pharmaceutical industry and the healthcare sector. HSA students include doctors, nurses, pharmacist’s assistants, front shop assistants, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals active within the sector.
The pharmacy workforce is a critical part of any health system and planning for an adequate South African pharmacy workforce is important if high quality pharmaceutical services are to be delivered to the whole population. This includes the qualification of pharmacists and pharmacy support workers, and the optimal use of existing pharmacy personnel. It is estimated that there are 19 750 pharmacists in South Africa including interns and community pharmacists who are presently serving their community service year.
All areas of pharmacy practice in the country report shortages community, hospital, industry, and academia, with vacancy rates for pharmacists of up to 76% reported in the public sector in one province.
Due to the shortage of pharmacists, pharmacy mid-level workers, mainly pharmacist’s assistants, play an important role in the provision of pharmaceutical services in the country. The South African Pharmacy Council’s vision for 2030 include 24 000 pharmacists and 22 000 pharmacy support personnel being registered and serving the health needs of South Africans
It is estimated that in April 2023, there are 4 072 learner Basic and 2 302 learner Post Basic pharmacist’s assistants busy studying to achieve their qualification. There are 3 401 qualified Basic learners and 16 488 qualified Post Basic learners. The Pharmacy Council has finalised the curriculum for the inclusion of the qualifications for pharmacist’s assistants at NQF level 4 (Basic) and NQF level 5 (Post Basic) as part qualifications into Pharmacy Technician (PT) qualification at NQF level 6.
Expertise and Services
HSA has created a portal for the training of pharmacists and pharmacy support personnel called PharmEd. This portal gives access to courses that addresses practice management issues and other general topics of interest.
As part of our offering to the health sector, we have introduced skills programmes on subjects such as stock management, an introduction to the pharmaceutical sector and diseases as well as customer service, merchandising and sales.
PPO Serve (Professional Provider Organisation Services) is a health management company that helps clinicians get organised into teams to deliver Value Based Care, with the aim of making quality healthcare more affordable and accessible to all South Africans. Private healthcare is becoming increasingly unaffordable for the majority of South Africans. This is due to a fee-for-service tariff based on a fragmented service model that forces clinicians to work alone, making it hard to collaborate with colleagues, and results in inefficiencies because it prevents clinicians to deliver the care that their patients really need. PPO Serve helps clinicians to form their own multidisciplinary teams by providing them with all the tools needed to set up a successful Value Based Care business.
Our population medicine product, The Value Care Team (TVCT) is structured as a multidisciplinary team of GPs, a consulting physicians and associate allied healthcare professionals, directed by a Business Manager and employs nurse care coordinators. There are subcontracts for palliative care; with a 24/7 health support call centre and a hospital case management service. The approach includes the POPI enrolling of target patient populations, and the creation of complete and accurate patient information. Care Coordinators assess severity using disease specific, frailty, mental health tools as well as the degree of social isolation. Multidisciplinary team forums then link every patient to individual care plans which are then loaded into the workflow system that specifies tasks and monitors progression. Forums include local clinical and social partners such as from subacute hospitals, the local hospice, and psychiatric facilities. Care plans provide comprehensive proactive care that improves outcomes for patient populations. A new Value Based Care Population healthcare project was launched in September 2019 in Pretoria North, with the Government Employee Medical Scheme (GEMS) as the anchor medical scheme, and this has been renewed for 2021.
The GP Care Cell is a PEPFAR sponsored HIV focused product for non-Scheme members that links our managed network of GPs to the Gauteng Health Department for access to antiretroviral therapy and NHLS pathology tests for the screening, identification and management of people living with HIV. The GPCC has run projects in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg, and Sedibeng Health districts. It has the potential to be a national franchise model for public private collaboration.
The Birthing Team is our maternity product, where the team is made up of midwives backed by obstetricians, and the aim is to change the current culture of the default delivery being the caesarean section (around 80% currently in the private sector) and instead do normal vaginal deliveries whenever possible. TBT has done some 2,000 deliveries for self funded women, and two of the 3 major units have achieved 40% CS rates, with ongoing reduction as the Teams mature. TBT is now contracting with medical schemes.
The Cardiac Focused Factory is a product in development, which aims to efficiently use cardiac catheterisation laboratories to provide angiograms with or without coronary interventions plus pacemaker insertions at significantly reduced prices, based on a Team model that achieves economies of scale including staff substitutional and switching much of the work up and post procedure care from the hospital back into the PHC service.
Skills Panda is a training institution that embraces technology to ignite the skills and capabilities in the students we train. We work with corporates and SETAs to fund the learning paths of deserving South African youths to prepare them for high tech and high value careers. Skills Panda training programs are SETA Accredited and B-BBEE aligned ensuring that our clients maximize points earned under Skills Development or Socio-Economic Development. To date, Skills Panda has registered over 800 learners on its virtual campus through sponsored learnerships and short courses/ skills programs. Our learner recruitment efforts centre around learners who are township and rural based with specific preference given to black disabled youths.
Our courses offered as a learnership or structured skills programs include: