Queensland’s pharmacists are concerned by instructions from the state’s government for Covid-19 testing to take place in community pharmacies.
Pharmaceutical Society of Australia president Chris Freeman said the announcement sends the wrong message to symptomatic people who should be self-isolating.
“The concern is that this decision will put not only pharmacists at risk, but those with chronic health conditions who regularly visit a pharmacy and are at higher risk of contracting Covid-19,” said associate professor Freeman. “The Queensland government did not consult broadly with pharmacists and pharmacy groups and we do not want people who potentially have Covid-19 wandering into a pharmacy to get tested.”
According to Freeman, while the new government directive will involve training for pharmacists and testing will only be available at a limited number of pharmaceutical outlets, current arrangements to test only at dedicated facilities are designed to limit unintended exposure between members of the public as well as workers.
“It is essential that there is effective infection control and PPE available for health care workers running this service and guidance similar to that which exists for GP Respiratory Clinics conducting Covid-19 testing that would need to be adopted,” said Freeman.
“Pharmacists and pharmacy staff must be protected from Covid-19 exposure or it places their community’s ongoing access to medicines and expert pharmacist care at risk.”