Covid-19 Pandemic - Information for Pharmacists 

Our FAQs and Factsheets provide information and general advice which is current at the time of publication. With government initiatives and legislation changing quite rapidly, we will continue to service our members by updating our information as soon as possible. We encourage you to visit our Member Portal for these updates or contact our WAS team for specific advice on 1300 273 762 or at was@professionalsaustralia.org.au

Some statistics in the update have jumped since it was formulated last week however employment related topics remain current. For information regarding Covid-19 and industrial relations, click here .

The update covers the following:

  • What is Coronavirus?
  • Current State of Covid-19
  • The Impact of Covid-19 on the Australian Economy
  • Current Active Measures in Australia
  • Work Health and Safety Laws
  • Workers Compensation
  • Industrial Relations
  • Paid special leave and support for casuals
  • Workers who contract COVID-19
  • Workers who may have contracted COVID–19
  • High risk workers
  • Workers affected by the Travel Ban
  • Discrimination
  • Closures and stand downs
  • Useful Links & Resources
Click here for updates

The PSA has posted information here with respect to the latest information from the Department of Health.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has released information here.

The Guild site provides a protocol for managing a person with possible infection. Importantly they advise the following;

Preparing staff - Pharmacy staff should be briefed on: 

  • Reporting to their supervisor if they have a travel or contact history or suspected COVID-19 symptoms
  • Roles and responsibilities of each staff member 
  • Identified staff member to manage the situation
  • The need to avoid contact with suspected cases
  • Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if required to be in contact with patient
  • Isolation procedures and use of the room/area
  • leaning and disinfecting procedures “
This highlights the importance of a team approach to managing risk. 

The Australian Department of Heath has released guidelines for pharmacies to access Personal Protective Equipment where such equipment cannot be accessed through normal means, and where there is a demonstrated need.  Access the guidelines here.

Home delivery of medications is being funded by the Australian Government to encourage people who have been quarantined in their own homes to stay home. Again, safe practices need to be clearly enunciated. We suggest that the person delivering the medication firstly phone the patient to let you are coming the deliver the medications in the next xxx minutes. On arrival, the deliverer telephones the patient to let them know that you are outside the door and will leave the medication next to the door. Do not touch the door handle. If you have, disinfect your hands immediately. Step away at least 2 metres and wait for the person to pick up the medication and take it inside. Do not accept money but inform the person that an account has been established (if not already arranged), which can be paid when they are better. If the medications are not collected by the patient, do not leave them on the doorstep – take them back to the pharmacy and re-contact the patient for delivery at another time.

Some pharmacies are encouraging clients to pay electronically rather than by cash. There is not a lot of guidance on this topic.  The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control looked at the risk of bank notes as a potential vehicle for influenza transmission. It concluded for the general public;
 “handling banknotes and coins is not practically avoidable and will confer no discernible increased risk compared with handling almost any other communal object used in daily life; and compared with respiratory droplet (coughs and sneezes) and communal hard surfaces and fittings (hand rails, escalator hand belts, door handles etc.) the ability of money to transmit influenza will pretty much pale into insignificance compared with what else is going on in society at the time. The overwhelmingly important issue will be compliance with frequent handwashing and “no-touch-face” advice.” (https://pandemic.internationalsos.com/2019-ncov/ncov-faqs ).

Prudence would suggest that anyone handling money should be washing their hands frequently (or using hand disinfectant ensuring they wait until it dries before doing their next task) and not touching their face.

WHO has released a number of training videos on the topic of COVID-19 and can be accessed here.

Please take the time to read them and discuss with your fellow workers on how they will be implemented (if not already done).  Speed is of the essence in our response. If there are areas where these guidelines are not being followed, do not be backward in raising the issue with your supervisor/owner. If you have any questions/issues regarding the industrial relations aspect of this crisis, please do not hesitate to contact our WAS team.