SA fund to se­cure phar­macy ser­vices

Pharmacy Daily - - Front Page -

SOUTH Aus­tralian phar­ma­cies im­pacted by COVID-19 will be given ac­cess to a $200,000 emer­gency fund an­nounced by State Health Min­is­ter, Stephen Wade this morn­ing.

The fund has been es­tab­lished to en­sure crit­i­cal phar­macy ser­vices can be main­tained in the event that a store is threat­ened with clo­sure due to COVID-19.

“En­sur­ing ac­cess to medicines dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic is part of the Mar­shall Lib­eral Gov­ern­ment’s strong plan to pro­tect South Aus­tralians from the im­pacts of the dis­ease by en­sur­ing they are able to ac­cess treat­ment for other health prob­lems,” he said.

“While South Aus­tralia has per­formed ex­tremely well so far, we re­main at risk, so it is im­por­tant that we in­tro­duce mea­sures now to pro­tect these vi­tal ser­vices.

“By en­sur­ing our phar­ma­cies can re­main open, we will help to re­duce de­mand and at­ten­dance at our pub­lic hos­pi­tals and emer­gency de­part­ments in the event of a sec­ond wave.”

SA Health’s Chief Phar­ma­cist, Naomi Burgess, said the Con­tin­u­ance of Crit­i­cal Com­mu­nity Phar­macy Ser­vices Pro­gram, was set up af­ter con­cerns were raised over the abil­ity of sin­gle phar­ma­cist stores and ru­ral and re­mote phar­ma­cies to main­tain ser­vices in the event of an out­break amongst their staff.

“Phar­ma­cies im­pacted by COVID-19 will be able to ap­ply for the pro­gram if their work­force can­not be im­me­di­ately sup­ported by ex­ist­ing op­tions or locum ser­vices,” she said.

“We urge all phar­ma­cies to es­tab­lish con­tin­gency plans to mit­i­gate the risks of loss of staff or the clo­sure of the phar­macy due to a COVID-19 re­lated event, the fund will only be avail­able to South Aus­tralian phar­ma­cies that have ex­hausted all other op­tions.”

The fund will be over­seen by the Phar­macy Reg­u­la­tion Author­ity SA, and will pro­vide ac­cess to qual­i­fied phar­ma­cists and phar­macy as­sis­tants who have vol­un­teered to un­der­take such roles, to en­sure crit­i­cal ser­vices can be main­tained.

SA Health said phar­ma­cies would be able to ac­cess the sup­port for a pe­riod of up to five days.

Mem­bers of the Ru­ral Phar­macy Net­work Aus­tralia Face­book group have wel­comed the fund as a “great idea”, while the group’s ad­min­is­tra­tor sug­gested that a sim­i­lar scheme was “needed na­tion­wide”.

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