What’s been happening at the frontline at the Commonwealth Games 2018 pharmacy, including a visit from royalty

With the final medals of GC2018 still to be won this weekend, the GC2018 Pharmacy team has been working hard to ensure athletes and officials have access to required medicines and appropriate information in relation to use and safety in sport.  

Throughout the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, 19 pharmacists from a range of backgrounds including hospital, community and academia, under the leadership of GC2018 Pharmacy Clinical Lead Rachael Raleigh, have been working from 7am to 11pm to ensure the athletes and their team are at the top of their game. So far the pharmacy service has dispensed over 1600 items for more than 1100 athletes, officials and games family.

“We are primarily treating acute illnesses as we are working with a relatively healthy population. Sports-related musculoskeletal aches and pains are amongst the most commonly treated ailments, which is not surprising given level of competition currently underway,” Ms Raleigh said. 

“The pressures these athletes put their bodies through is phenomenal, their perseverance is truly inspirational.” 

A visit from Prince Edward was a highlight at the GC2018 pharmacy. He talks to pharmacist Rachael Raleigh

A number of pharmacists have worked at previous Games, including Bill Davy who has volunteered as a pharmacist for the last three Australian Commonwealth Games (Brisbane 1982, Melbourne 2006, Gold Coast 2018) and at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. 

“Volunteering isn’t a job, it’s a willingness to give, care and reflect all the qualities that make Australia such a great place to be. The rewards aren’t monetary but they are there in the simplest thank you from a grateful athlete or official. If the opportunity to volunteer ever presents itself I would strongly suggest you take it,” said Mr Davy.

Debbie Rigby and Mark Stuart have also participated at multiple games.

“I appreciate the multidisciplinary environment in the Polyclinic, and working as a team in the pharmacy. It is an amazing experience for any sports enthusiast, and would highly recommend it to other pharmacists,” said Ms Rigby.

Mark Stuart, who is also the pharmacist for the International Olympic Committee Medical Commission, and superintendent pharmacist from the previous Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014 referred to the Gold Coast 2018 pharmacy service as being “truly exceptional, and a world class service for the athletes showcasing the best of the Australian pharmacy profession”.

Veronica Lehndorf waits for customers

Planning for the Games pharmacy service began over two years ago, with the pharmacy being run as a satellite of the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service under Director of Pharmacy Liz Coombes.

The pharmacists working in the village include Alicia Jackson, Bill Davy, Debbie Rigby, Frances Gray, Gilbert Yeates, Julianne Stuart, Kelly Mulvogue, Lawrence Bray, Libby McCourt, Michelle Bothwell, Nerida Smith, Rachael Raleigh, Rebecca Prigg, Robert Kumar, Robyn Cook, Sara McMillan, Tamasine Philp and Veronica Lehndorf.

Rebecca Prigg and Fran Gray

So far 69 of the 71 (97%) of Commonwealth Nations have accessed pharmacy services, indicating widespread confidence and respect for the excellent level of care being provided. The pharmacy team will be continuing to work hard over the next two days to ensure pharmacy services are at the top of their Game until all the athletes leave the village.