National Medicines Symposium 2020

NPS MedicineWise is hosting our next National Medicines Symposium (NMS) 2020 virtually on 7 December 2020

Attracting people from all sectors of the health industry, NMS 2020 is a rare opportunity to network, share expertise, ideas and innovations.


About NMS 2020

The theme for NMS 2020 is Rising to the medication safety challenge’.

A unique cross-disciplinary event, NMS 2020 will bring together the most influential organisations, individuals and decision makers in the health sector to discuss and debate key issues around quality use of medicines and health technologies, and to encourage collective impact with a focus on the needs of the consumer.

In the context of medicine safety being named as a National Health Priority Area and the third WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm, the program will provide the latest content in the medicines and health environment, delivered by acclaimed experts.

Attracting people from all sectors of the health industry, NMS 2020 is a rare opportunity to network, share expertise, ideas and innovations.


Troubleshooting guide for virtual event

If you are having any problems accessing the NMS 2020 virtual event please check our troubleshooting page.



NMS 2020 will take place on Monday 7 December from 10.00am - 3.15pm AEDT.

All times listen in the program below are in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).





Welcome to country

Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council

Conference welcome

Tim Ferguson


Official welcome

Dr Andrew Knight, Chair of Board, NPS MedicineWise

Medication safety is everyone's business

Prof Amanda Wheeler, Griffith University


How do we rise to the challenge of medication safety?

Facilitator: Tim Ferguson

Adj A/Prof Steve Morris, CEO, NPS MedicineWise 

Ms Leanne Wells, CEO, Consumers Health Forum

Dr Robert Herkes, Chief Medical Officer, ACSQHC



Poster presentations and networking

11:45-12:05 AEDST

Lightning talks 

Stream 1: Medications without harm

Optimising medication safety in Australia for older hospitalised patients -Ms Sarah Dinh, NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group

Reforming opioid regulation to reduce harm -Ms Elspeth Kay, Therapeutic Goods Administration

Identifying risk factors for medicine-related problems across the continuum of emergency department care: A multicentre Australian study - Prof Elizabeth Manias, Deakin University

Medicines safety in hospitals: Linking PBS data to hospital adverse event and hospital pharmacy workforce data -Mr Jerry Yik, Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia

Stream 2: Partnerships in health, collaborating for impact

Pharmacist-led opioid stewardship in a General Practice – an emerging concept - Ms Margaret Jordan, The University of Sydney

Initiating a national consortium approach to support optimal use of bDMARDs - Prof Debra Rowett, UniSA

The Discharge Huddle: Collaborating for better patient care and improved medication safety - Mr Andrew Shakespeare, Central Coast LHD

Software plus soft power; inexpensive, sustainable opioid stewardship that is adaptable to current best practice - Dr Jennifer Stevens, St Vincents Hospital

Stream 3: Insights from consumer journeys

Consumer insights on opioid deprescribing and the development of evidence-based opioid deprescribing guidelines: A qualitative analysis -Ms Aili Langford, The University of Sydney

A patient-centred approach to deprescribing benzodiazepines in the wake of prescription monitoring programs: A qualitative study - Ms Erin Oldenhof, Reconnexion; Deakin University

The role of safety in decisions about accelerated access to medicines: A mixed-methods study of consumer perspectives - Miss Jessica Pace, Sydney Health Ethics (SHE), The University of Sydney

Opioids and surgery pain: Empowering consumers to be active participants in pain management - Ms Parnaz Aminian, Austin Health



Concurrent stream 1 

Medicines literacy for all

Facilitator: Judy Gregurke

Dr Simon Morgan, Medical Educator, GP Synergy

Dr Danielle Muscat, The University of Sydney

Mr Karl Briscoe, CEO, NATSIHWA

Ms Tere Dawson, Health Issues Centre



Concurrent stream 2

Medication safety across settings

Facilitator: Tim Ferguson

Dr Paresh Dawda, Director, Prestantia Health

Prof Clara Chow, The University of Sydney

Dr Melanie Wroth, Aged Care Commission

Dr Simon Judkins, Austin Health

1:00 – 1.30



Lightning talks

Stream 1: Clinical innovation to meet new challenges

HANDI. The Handbook of Non Drug Interventions - Dr Ben Ewald, Brunker Rd General Practice

An innovative electronic anticoagulation alert system to improve continuity of patient care on discharge from an Emergency Department - Mr Andrew Harding, Austin Health

Patient-generated health data paving a way for a continuous model of patient care - Mr Evgeniy Miroshnichenko, Queensland University of Technology

Passing on the message - what do prescribers tell patients about drug safety concerns? - Ms Alice Bhasale, The University of Sydney

Stream 2: Medicines literacy for all 

Validity and reliability of clinical resources on adverse effects of medicines: Drug-induced liver injury - Ms Elle Coberger, Canterbury District Health Board

Developing policy and regulation for use of cannabis-based medicines – challenges of community, industry and health practitioner knowledge and expectations - Ms Judith Mackson, NSW Ministry of Health

Are young Australians at risk of harm from over-the-counter analgesic use? - Ms Tahlia Duyster, Griffith University

Vaccine Story: The journey a vaccine takes to a remote Australian community - Mr Tobias Speare, Central Australian Rural Practitioners Association Inc.

Stream 3: Medication safety and innovation

What are the top 10 unanswered questions about medicines in people living with dementia? - Dr Lisa Kalisch Ellett, University of South Australia

Real-world implementation of artificial intelligence to improve adverse drug reaction reporting in an Australian hospital - Dr David Liew, Austin Health

Safety, governance and access: Implementing equity in perioperative antibiotic surgical prophylaxis for consumers with penicillin allergy undergoing cataract surgery - Mr Cameron Phillips, Flinders Medical Centre

eviQ and eviQ Education: Providing online evidence-based cancer treatment information to health professionals and consumers - Mrs Julia Shingleton, eviQ, Cancer Institute NSW

1:55– 2:15

Keynote presentation

The Social Life of Medicines: Person-centred Approaches to Medication Safety

Prof Alex Broom, The University of Sydney


Breakout rooms into different streams

Medication without harm

Insights from consumer journeys

Clinical innovation to meet new challenges

Partnerships in health, collaborating for impact

Medicines literacy for all 



Wrap up and key insights

Facilitator, Tim Ferguson

Prof Andrew McLachlan, The University of Sydney

Dr Paresh Dawda, Director, Prestantia Health

Ms Judy Gregurke, Director, CHESS Solutions Pty Ltd

Closing address

Adj A/Prof Steve Morris, CEO, NPS MedicineWise



Mr Karl Briscoe

‘Karl Briscoe is a proud Kuku Yalanji man from Mossman – Daintree area of Far North Queensland.

Karl is the CEO of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA). Karl has worked for over 18 years in the health sector at various levels of government and non-government including local, state and national levels which has enabled him to form a vast strategic network across Australia.

NATSIHWA is the peak body for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners in Australia’.


Prof Alex Broom


Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology at the School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Sydney. He is recognised as an international leader in sociology, with a specific interest in health. This has included a focus on the social, cultural and political dimensions of cancer and palliative care, and more recently, infectious diseases. 

His work takes a person-centred approach, qualitatively exploring the complex intersections of individual experience and social/political context. He leads a team of social science researchers at The University of Sydney, and his recent books include Dying: A Social Perspective on the End of Life (Routledge, 2015), Bodies and Suffering: Emotions and Relations of Care  (Routledge 2017, with Ana Dragojlovic), and, Survivorship: A Sociology of Cancer in Everyday Life (Routledge, 2021 with Katie Kenny). 

He works on translational research with a wide range of clinical researchers, policy makers and end-user organisations, with a focus on how to utilise novel social science understandings to bring about change, where needed, for those governing, providing and receiving care across a range of settings and contexts (e.g. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 2019; American Journal of Infection Control, 2018; Journal of Hospital Infection, 2018; BMJ Global Health, 2020; Clinical Cancer Research, 2020). 

Prof Clara Chow

Professor Clara Chow is Academic Director of the Westmead Applied Research Centre (WARC), Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. She is a cardiologist and the Program Director of Community Based Cardiac Services at Westmead hospital, Sydney, Australia. 

She currently holds honorary appointments as the Charles Perkins Centre Westmead Academic Co-director and President of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand. Professor Chow’s research focuses on the prevention of cardiovascular disease, innovation in the delivery of cardiovascular care and the evaluation of digital health interventions. 

She has expertise in the design, delivery and implementation of clinical trials. Her PhD from the University of Sydney, Australia was in cardiovascular epidemiology and international public Health and her Postdoc from McMaster University, Canada in clinical trials and cardiac imaging. She is supported by a NSW Health Clinician Scientist Fellowship


Ms Tere Dawson


Tere has a strong background in the health sector with almost 30 years’ experience in academia, research and training. This includes almost 20 years’ of experience in consumer engagement and participation practice and research. She has a Masters of Public Health, a Masters and PhD in sociology and anthropology and has published widely. Using her Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, she was instrumental in the development of our nationally accredited courses in consumer leadership and engagement. The courses aim to develop the capacity of consumers and the health sector to implement best practice consumer engagement. Tere manages consultancy, research and tailored training for the health sector and community groups across Australia.

Mr Tim Ferguson - MC

Tim Ferguson is one of Australia’s most accomplished comedians. He has battled Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for 30 years, but it won’t get in his way!

He wrote and directed the comedy movie SPIN OUT [Sony Pictures, 2016] tours the world with comedy trio the Doug Anthony All Stars [DAAS] and has written bestselling novels, comedy manuals, and live shows.

He’s a highly regarded corporate event host and keynote speaker. He travels in a wheelchair, but has a brilliant ability to delight and amuse audiences. He proves that disability can be conquered. “My wheelchair helps me move faster than most people!”

Tim works with various professional and government organisations to generate employment for disabled people. Tim writes, directs and produces sitcoms, movies, entertainment TV and live comedy shows.


Ms Judy Gregurke


Judy is a management consultant and consumer advocate with extensive leadership experience in health, community, disability and aged care sector management roles. She has a demonstrated passion for empowering and supporting people and representing the views and concerns of service users, consumers and community members.

Judy is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a member of the NPS MedicineWise Board. She is also a Consumer Advisor with the Australian Digital Health Agency, promoting health literacy and decision-making capacity for consumers, and is a volunteer consumer member of Services Australia’s Aged Care Taskforce. 

Dr Robert Herkes

A highly respected senior clinician and leader in intensive care medicine, with extensive operating and leadership experience in the development, evolution and provision of critical care services at both state and national levels.

Dr Herkes is the Chief Medical Officer at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care providing expert clinical advice to the wide range of programs managed by the Commission. Dr Herkes has a significant role in identifying areas for synergies, partnerships and new opportunities across the Australian health sector in collaboration with all health sector stakeholders, and providing leadership and education around the latest evidence on safety and quality in health care.


Dr Simon Judkins


Dr Simon Judkins is an Emergency Physician based in Melbourne. He is the Immediate Past-President of ACEM, a board-member for the International Federation of Emergency Medicine and Convenor of that organisations' International Conference in Melbourne in 2022. He has worked at Austin Health for some time but has recently taken on a role at Echuca Hospital, working to build up a team in the Emergency Department there. Working in different settings has given him an appreciation of the challenges surrounding all aspects of patient safety if different environments, including the challenges of medication safety. His other interests are in EM workforce and Mental Health advocacy.

Dr Andrew Knight

Andrew has been a director of NPS MedicineWise since the 3rd of August 2010 and Chair of Board since 1 July 2019.

He is a staff specialist general practitioner and Director of the South Western Sydney Local Health District Primary and Integrated Care Unit.

Andrew holds academic appointments at the University of NSW and Western Sydney University. He was previously a Director of Training in the Australian General Practice Training Program. He has had extensive experience in quality improvement for general practice through the Australian Primary Care Collaboratives Program. He is the former chair of the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network.

He is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of the NPS MedicineWise Board Governance and Nomination Committee.


Prof Andrew McLachlan

Andrew-Mc Lachlan

Professor Andrew McLachlan AM is a pharmacist, academic and researcher with experience in clinical pharmacology and the quality use of medicines. He is Head of School and Dean at the Sydney Pharmacy School, The University of Sydney. 

Andrew serves on Australian government committees related to medicines policy, evaluation, regulation and antidoping.

Dr Simon Morgan

Simon is a GP and medical educator based in Newcastle, NSW. He has worked in the medical education sphere for over two decades and is passionate about high quality education and training.

Simon has worked in clinical and educational roles in both NSW and the NT, as well as in the Republic of Ireland. He has published over 50 peer reviewed journal articles, and in 2018 received the RACGP Corliss award for his contribution to medical education.

Simon has particular interests in GP supervisor professional development and the rational use of tests and medicines. He is a member of the Choosing Wisely Advisory Group and a proud member of Doctors for the Environment. He spends his spare time cycling, writing travel stories and pretending that he is a musician in an all-GP band, the Euthymics


Adj A/Prof Steve Morris


Steve has worked in numerous clinical and leadership roles in the health sector, spanning pharmacy practice, community and hospitals, primary care, industry and NGOs. 

Before joining NPS MedicineWise, Steve was accountable for the delivery of statewide pharmacy services to the public sector in South Australia, holding dual roles as Executive Director SA Pharmacy, and Chief Pharmacist for SA Health. Originally from the UK, Steve was deputy chief executive of the National Prescribing Centre. 

He is passionate about quality use of medicines and the implementation of evidence-based practice, including the use of data and electronic health systems to support best health outcomes for people. Steve holds an MBA and MSc in Health.

Dr Danielle Muscat

Dr Danielle Muscat, B.Psych. [Hons], PhD, is a founding member and Westmead Lead of the Sydney Health Literacy Lab. She currently holds a highly-competitive Westmead Fellowship (Early Career Researcher) funded by the Research and Education Network, Western Sydney Local Health District. In 2019, she was appointed as an Advisor on Health Literacy to the World Health Organisation and Health Literacy Chapter Co-Lead for the revised International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS). Dr Muscat’s PhD research involved the development and evaluation of the world’s first combined health literacy and shared decision-making training program for adults with lower literacy, implemented across TAFE NSW.


Dr Paresh Dawda


Paresh has a portfolio of roles as a GP, academic, educator and consultant. He is the Director and Principal of an innovative outreach primary care service as well as a forthcoming technology enabled general practice, Next Practice Canberra. His clinical practice is focused on people with complex and chronic conditions including those residing in disability homes, residential aged care and frail elderly. He has academic affiliations and is Editor-in-Chief of BMJ’s Integrated Healthcare Journal. He has developed and designed leadership, quality and patient safety programmes for the NHS and general practice organisational development initiatives for a number of PHNs across Australia. He has a proven track record of achievements, having spoken at national and international conferences, acted as adviser on a number of Commonwealth committees as well as jurisdictional health committees and is an GP Consultant Adviser at the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation and eHealth. The golden thread uniting his broad interests is a passion for high quality person-centred care.

Ms Leanne Wells

Leanne has held executive positions in federal government and non-government organisations. Leanne is the Chief Executive Officer of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia and previously served as CEO of national peak and local service delivery organisations in the primary care sector. 

She is a health advocate and service executive with over thirty years’ experience in health and social policy, program and service development. Leanne has broad governance experience and is currently Board Director of Coordinare (South East New South Wales’ Primary Health Network), the Ozhelp Foundation, and the Australian Pharmacy Council, Independent Chair of Coordinare’s Community Advisory Committee and a member of the Healthdirect Clinical Governance Advisory Committee. 

She has several advisory appointments including the Commonwealth’s Primary Health Care Advisory Group, the National Preventative Strategy Advisory Committee and the OECD PaRIS Patient Advisory Panel.Leanne has tertiary qualifications in communications and business. She is a member of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management.


Prof Amanda Wheeler


Amanda Wheeler, Professor of Mental Health at Griffith University is a registered pharmacist who has worked as a health practitioner, educator and researcher in mental health and pharmacy practice for over 20 years. 

Amanda is nationally and internationally recognised for her expertise in these areas. Her research focuses on quality improvement, professional practice, workforce development and capacity building. These themes come together with the common goal of improving outcomes for consumers and carers and are integrated across the full scope of her work.

Dr Melanie Wroth

Dr Wroth graduated in Medicine from the University of Sydney in 1981 and became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in 1992. She began her longstanding involvement in medical care for older Australians in 1990.

Dr Wroth is a Senior Staff Specialist in Geriatric Medicine at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She has been extensively engaged in clinical teaching especially in Geriatric Medicine, and is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney. She has been a consultant to the NSW Medical Council, and is a senior member of the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.


Key dates

  • Registration open: Wednesday, 30 September 2020
  • Registration closes: Friday, 4 December 2020


Registration for NMS 2020 is now open. We welcome all delegates and look forward to seeing you online at this virtual event.

Registration fees

The registration fee for all virtual attendees is $100.

The fee is in Australian dollars and includes 10% Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST).


Registration fees must be paid by MasterCard or Visa at the time of registration. Note that payments will appear as Expert Events on your credit card statement.

How to register

You must register your participation via the NMS 2020 online portal. You will receive an immediate confirmation via email, including a paid tax invoice. If you do not receive this email, please first check your junk box, then contact [email protected].

Cancellation policy

Registration refunds will not be provided as presentations will be recorded and available for viewing on demand for a set period of time at the conclusion of the event. Cancellations due to extenuating circumstances will be considered by the Organising Committee.

Transfer of registration

You may transfer your registration for this Event to a colleague by advising the symposium secretariat via [email protected].



Contact the NMS secretariat.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 07 3848 2100

Post: Expert Events, PO Box 351, Hamilton Central QLD 4007 Australia.


Previous events

The ninth National Medicines Symposium (NMS) 2018 was held 19–20 May 2018 at the National Convention Centre in Canberra. Thank you to everyone who came and contributed to make NMS 2018 such an excellent experience.

Find out more about NMS 2018.