WA legislative barriers blocking rapid antigen testing use must be removed
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) WA Branch is calling for changes to public health orders regarding the use of rapid antigen testing across the state.
At present, the use of this diagnostic technology is currently prohibited by Directions under the Health Act, stating that, ‘a person must not use a Rapid Antigen Test as a tool to detect or diagnose COVID-19’. Its use is only permitted for logistical reasons and is yet to be expanded to the health workforce.
PSA WA Branch President, Keegan Wong, stressed that changes must be made to the legislation if the state is to keep up with the rest of the country.
“From next week, supermarket chains like Coles and Woolworths will be selling rapid antigen tests for at-home purposes, yet here in WA, there are still legislative barriers in place that are blocking its provision to health workers including our pharmacists.
“It is currently be used for transport, freight and logistics, testing drivers at the borders, but strangely, the legislation has not yet taken into account the state’s health workers. This goes to show that the McGowan Government is more concerned about border control than the welfare of those on the frontline.
“Antigen testing will become a cornerstone of life as the virus eventually spreads across the nation and will ultimately reduce the risk of pharmacy closures due to COVID-19 exposure and subsequent isolation periods for pharmacists and pharmacy staff. For Australia’s most geographically-dispersed state, it is imperative that communities continue to have access to essential medicines and health services.
“We need to see immediate amendment to this outdated piece of legislation, allowing the state to keep up to speed with the rest of the nation whose uptake of this technology is increasing.
“PSA calls on the McGowan Government to protect the interests and wellbeing of WA’s pharmacists and frontline health workers by removing these barriers,” Mr Wong said.
Media contact: PSA media 0424 777 463