Victoria COVID-19 submission highlights barriers
Friday 31 July 2020
The inability to be able to provide medicines and care to residents in the Flemington and North Melbourne public housing towers during lockdown was one of the barriers that has restricted Victorian pharmacists from providing the best possible care to their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA) submission to the Victorian Public Accounts and Estimates Committee inquiry into the Victorian health response to COVID-19, highlights this issue and other serious challenges faced by Victorian pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic.
PSA Victorian President John Jackson said pharmacists practicing at nearby community pharmacies reported significant difficulties in providing medicines and care to people in locked-down towers.
“PSA understands that pharmacotherapy as well as medicine supply was centrally coordinated through the Royal Melbourne Hospital, however residents have longstanding care relationships with nearby community pharmacies, particularly those who live with complex chronic health conditions, he said.
“These pharmacies were open and available to provide care throughout the tower lockdowns and a number were available to provide 24/7 care and medicine supplies on demand.
“It is important to use the existing network of providers of pharmacist care and medicine supply when supporting people during the pandemic, including people subject to detention notices, those who are self-isolating on public health grounds or those requiring protective equipment.”
Other key issues highlighted in the submission centre around amending regulations, stronger medicine related communication, better protection for pharmacists through access to personal protective equipment and additional penalties for those physically or verbally abusing pharmacists.
Mr Jackson said as the pandemic progresses, PSA’s submission outlines a number of improvements needed to better protect Victorians, and to help pharmacists do what they do best, care for the community.
“PSA acknowledges the Victorian Government’s strong health response to COVID-19 and policy decisions, public health orders and funding initiatives aimed at reducing infection rates,” he said.
“There are however lessons to be learned. There have been short comings in the consultation with pharmacy groups which led to gaps in the public health emergency orders and public health messages that created confusion for Victorians in accessing medicines, and more conqueringly risked medicine-related harm.
“I am incredibly proud of how the profession has stood up as frontline health professionals and cared for the community during the pandemic with over 8000 pharmacists working in community pharmacies, hospitals, aged care facilities, general practice and beyond in Victoria.
“Pharmacists are essential workers providing vital face-to-face health care to all Victorians including immunisations, essential medicines and other health supplies.
Media contact: PSA Media 0487 922 176