Pharmacists call on NSW Government to prioritize access for health and emergency workers at testing facilities

Media Release 
Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Pharmacists are struggling to access testing services after the NSW Government announcement that health care workers in parts of NSW are required to undertake a mandatory COVID-19 test once every 3 days.

Members of Professional Pharmacists Australia, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia fully support the testing requirements however it is critical that pharmacists can access testing without waiting in line for 2-3 hours every 3 days.

“Pharmacists are adding hours onto their already long days to wait in extremely long testing lines without any kind of compensation or priority listing,” said Dr Geoff March, PPA President.

“This is a significant burden on Australia’s already exhausted front line health workers.”

The National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Trent Twomey, said community pharmacies were proving to be the circuit breaker in reinvigorating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“Clearly it is imperative that they can remain in their pharmacies administering vaccines and any delay in their testing means delays in patients receiving their vaccinations,” he said. “It is matter of common sense that these community pharmacists be given priority access to testing facilities so they can get back to helping protect their communities without delay."

"I urge the NSW Government to act on this as a health priority.”

The National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, A/Prof Chris Freeman, said that it is imperative that pharmacists and pharmacy staff are given the highest priority.

“As one of Australia’s most accessible frontline healthcare workforce, people rely on their pharmacists. This has been clearly demonstrated throughout the pandemic. Our doors have stayed open, providing access to life-saving medicine and health care, and we are now playing a critical role in the vaccine rollout.

“With pharmacists in hotspot areas now administering a large amount of COVID vaccines, it is crucial that they continue to remain open - and to do that, our pharmacists and pharmacy staff must be given the highest priority at testing facilities.” A/Prof Freeman said.

The three pharmacy bodies have come together to call on the NSW Government to support health and emergency workers, including pharmacists and technicians who are required to undertake surveillance testing by giving them priority access at public testing centers.

Professional Pharmacists Australia are also encouraging employers to provide paid worktime to undertake the testing.

Media Contact: Darren Rodrigo 0414 783 405