The current bushfires across Australia have resulted in unprecedented demand on pharmacists working in multiple settings, especially in community pharmacy.
PSA have heard many stories and first hand examples of pharmacists going above and beyond in their support of their communities. We have also heard of barriers to accessing and providing care in these disaster affected zones.
PSA have been in contact with the Commonwealth Department of Health, the office of the Commonwealth Health Minister, and the Australian Defence Force. PSA will continue to provide advice to these agencies about the requirements on the ground.
Members who are experiencing challenges in delivering care to their local communities can email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pass on your requirements to the relevant State and or Commonwealth Departments.
These issues may be in the context of the following
- Logistical supplies of medicines
- Workforce support
- Power interruption
- Payment of medicines
- Mental health support for staff.
In the long term we will continue to address two major areas of concern for you and for your patients:
- The need for more flexible emergency supply arrangements, especially in disaster periods
- The need for meaningful support for community pharmacy in disaster planning and preparedness.
PSA are seeking advice regarding the supply of Schedule 3 medicines during this period from the relevant state health departments, and will provide advice when this available. In the absence of specific information from State health departments regarding the supply of medicines in these circumstances, including salbutamol, we urge pharmacists to exercise their professional judgment in the appropriate supply of medicines.
Times like this can be very hard, even for those not directly affected. If you or your staff require support, you can access the Pharmacists’ Support Service by calling 1300 244 910.
Beyond Blue have some good resources that you, your staff and community may find beneficial during this time, including this guide to looking after yourself in a disaster.
I hope and trust that you all remain safe.
A/Prof Chris Freeman
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia