SA fund to secure pharmacy services
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”.