A question of privacy


consumers privacy pharmacy

Concerns have been raised over privacy provisions in some pharmacies that administer vaccinations

In its latest communique, the Victorian Pharmacy Authority says it has “become aware that some pharmacies may not be ensuring adequate privacy when administering vaccines”.

“The private consultation area or room used to administer vaccinations must be set up so that the procedure cannot be seen or overheard by other persons in the pharmacy,” the VPA advises.

“This does not preclude the use of temporary structures with adequate screening but privacy must be assured”.

While no detail on the number of pharmacies involved has been provided, the issue of privacy provision for these and other professional services has bene raised previously, and was one of the issues raised by GP groups and other opponents of pharmacy-based vaccination services.

The VPA also specified that its “current and revised guidelines specify that a ‘first aid couch or similar’ is to be in the room where vaccinations are carried out”.

The purpose of providing this is for clients who are uneasy about injections in general and are inclined to feel faint, nervous or unsteady, it states.

“People who have experienced problems of this kind may then recline or lie down during the procedure. The Authority does not specify any make, model or design. The requirement may be met by a foldable bed or reclining chair with footrest”.

These requirements are backed by those of other states bodies.

The Tasmanian Pharmacy Authority, for example requires on its application for provision of vaccination services that a pharmacy must have

* Room for a client to lie down and have first aid/CPR administered

*Seating nearby, visible from the dispensary, to observe clients after vaccinations

* Private for sound and in terms of visibility*

*Of sufficient size to have three seats: for the practitioner, the client and a carer; and for the client to lie down if there is an adverse reaction

If screens are being used, the applicant must provide details about their construction and height.

The Queensland pharmacist vaccination standard 2016 states that pharmacy premises are to have the following minimum facilities and staffing resources:

* A screened or private consulting room that ensures patients privacy and confidentiality

* seating for the patients and their carer during the vaccination

*sufficient space and appropriate surfaces for the patient to lie down in the event of an adverse reaction and for staff to safely perform resuscitation procedures

*an area that provides for direct visual observation with sufficient seating where patients can wait for at least 15 minutes following the vaccination

A spokesperson for the PSA said its Guidelines: Immunisation Services advises that: “Immunisation services should be delivered in a private consultation area to protect the privacy and confidentiality of consumers. There should be adequate seating for consumers in the immunisation service area allowing them to remain in the general vicinity for at least 15 minutes following vaccination”.

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