NSW Labor has promised millions to expand the number of 24-hour pharmacies in the state
With the NSW election looming on Saturday 23 March, the Opposition Labor government has announced that, if elected, it will be funding the expansion of 24-hour pharmacies across the state.
The funding will come in the form of $5 million over three years to assist with the operation of five more 24/7 pharmacies, covering the cost of a pharmacist, pharmacist assistant, and security guard (between hours of 11pm and 6am).
“Families deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing that there’s a pharmacy they can get to at any hour,” said opposition leader Michael Daley.
NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said: “Often pharmacies are able to provide informal advice to patients in the two lowest triage categories, taking the strain off busy emergency departments.”
The three-year period will allow the pharmacy to establish a reputation for extended hours of operation and become self-sustaining, said Mr Daley.
Each location will be determined in conjunction with pharmacists and local health districts.
Labor made the announcement alongside well-known pharmacists Catherine Bronger and John Bronger.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Ms Bronger told AJP.
“We’ve run a 24/7 pharmacy for four or five years now and it’s hard going. It’s tough – a lot of resources and time needs to go into it.
“The reason why we do it is because it’s a really good service for the community and the community loves it and supports it,” she said.
“We see young families, young mums who can go into an emergency department and wait, or just go into a pharmacy. We see patients who have run out of their medications, diabetics who have run out of their insulin, we see a lot of those patients come in in the middle of the night.
“We see those with common ailments, cuts, burns, that can be looked after in the community pharmacy.
“The only place they can go is the emergency department and you can really decrease the pressure on that.
“We also see patients who are shift workers, who work in the middle of the night. And because we are located near the hospitals they often send people through to us after seeing the doctor there because they need to pick up their medicines somewhere.
“I think [the announcement for more funding] is fabulous, I think NSW will need it, the reason why you don’t see many is because financially you just can’t do it but it really is a service to the community.
“So it’s great to see Labor recognise it.”