SA Health to trial COVID-19 testing in community pharmacies

Sunday, 19 July 2020


South Australia (SA) Health has announced a two week pilot that will allow pharmacists to test patients for COVID-19 in a move that has been welcomed by the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA).


Up to five metropolitan pharmacies will take part in the pilot and to ensure only ‘incidental’ customers are captured, SA Health will not be promoting the pharmacy-based service during the pilot and will continue to encourage the community to visit a GP or dedicated testing clinic.


Eligible pharmacy customers with mild respiratory symptoms will be asked if they want to get tested while they are in the pharmacy. The pilot will assess the feasibility of community pharmacy COVID-19 testing to increase South Australia’s testing capacity.


PSA South Australia Branch President Robyn Johns said patients regularly present to a pharmacy with flu-like symptoms to seek advice and treatment which would warrant a COVID-19 test.


“As the most accessible healthcare provider, pharmacists are well placed to provide patients with COVID-19 tests which will allow a greater number of people to be tested in South Australia,” she said.


“Some patients that enter a pharmacy may not think their symptoms are severe enough to visit the GP or a dedicated testing clinic but as we have seen throughout the pandemic those with mild symptoms can still test positive for COVID-19.


“Suitably trained pharmacists are more than capable of delivering such services and I congratulate SA Health for this forward thinking common-sense approach that could lead to testing being available in community pharmacies across South Australia.”


SA Health in conjunction with SA Pathology, are providing training to upskill pharmacists in swab collection and infection control so they can provide COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients.


Patients must have a mobile smart phone and register with the SA Pathology Personify website to receive notification about their result.


Media contact: PSA SA/NT State Manager Helen Stone: 0418 846 426