South Australian community pharmacies significantly impacted by COVID-19 can continue to provide critical services following the South Australian Government’s announcement to establish a $200,000 emergency fund.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement of the funding which will be used to maintain pharmacy services when a COVID-19 related event threatens the closure or significant disruption of pharmacy services.
PSA South Australia President Robyn Johns, says this initiative by the South Australian Government would ensure South Australians can continue to receive essential services and care provided by community pharmacies.
“Community pharmacy staff have remained on the frontline throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as an essential service and continue to work and serve their communities despite the risk associated with COVID-19,” she says.
“During a pandemic it is important that all members of the community continue to have access to essential medicines as well as other critical pharmacy services and treatment.
“While COVID-19 cases in South Australia have remained quite low compared to other parts of Australia it is important for this measure to be in place to protect South Australians and community pharmacies.”
Called the Continuance of Critical Community Pharmacy Service Program, the initiative aims to ensure all South Australian have access to pharmacy services, including medicine dispensing and counselling, dose administration aids (such as WebsterPaks), medicines for aged care facilities and opioid pharmacotherapy.
The program was established after concerns were raised by PSA and other pharmacy groups that a small number of pharmacies, particularly those in rural and remote areas, may struggle to maintain their services in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Ms Johns says pharmacies impacted by COVID-19 would be able to apply for the program, which would see an experienced team of pharmacy staff called upon at short notice to ensure the provision of essential pharmacy services.
“To prevent a pharmacy closure and ensure continued provision of essential services, the program will manage the deep clean of the pharmacy premises and the placement of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) with financial assistance provided through the support of the South Australian Government.
“The fund will only be available to South Australian pharmacies that have exhausted all other options and it is important for pharmacies to establish contingency plans for loss of staff or the closure of a pharmacy due to COVID-19.”
The program will be administered by PRASA on behalf of the pharmacy professional organisations.
Text by: The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia