First e-script dispensed in South Australia

Pictured: Local doctor Danny Byrne who prescribed the first e-script with pharmacist owner Chris Tsamandanis. Source: Supplied/TWC.

E-scripts are officially rolling out in the state and, meanwhile, amendments to emergency response legislation have recognised the importance of keeping pharmacy staff safe

TerryWhite Chemmart Old Reynella has become the first pharmacy in South Australia to dispense an electronic prescriptions with Minfos.

TWC Old Reynella is a pilot pharmacy for the new Minfos e-prescription dispense workflow, which was launched on 3 June.

The token-based e-script was prescribed by local doctor Dr Danny Byrne.

Chris Tsamandanis, pharmacist owner of TWC Old Reynella, is excited to be the first South Australian pharmacy to enter the digital age of dispensing in pharmacy.

“I was surprised at how incredibly streamlined the whole process was,” said Mr Tsamandanis.

Minfos reportedly worked closely with Mr Tsamandanis and the team at TWC Old Reynella, providing them with resources to help guide them with their processes, staff training change management as well as ensuring they had the right hardware, such as the QR code scanner, said TerryWhite Chemmart.

All states and territories across the country have now made the requisite legislative changes to recognise the electronic form of prescriptions, except for Queensland. South Australia gazetted its changes on 18 June.

The milestone moment for South Australia follows closely after pharmacist owner Christine Timms dispensed one of Tasmania’s first e-scripts at TWC Prospect Vale and less than two months after the very first Minfos ‘token-based’ e-script was dispensed in TWC Armidale in New South Wales by pharmacist manager Daniel Flavel.

“We have prepared well for the introduction of e-scripts, through our involvement with the digital health agencies and the ongoing training and support we provide our network,” said TerryWhite Chemmart CEO Duncan Phillips.

“I am pleased to partner with leading technology companies like Minfos to continue to support this innovation in pharmacy and I am looking forward to seeing the benefits it will deliver to our customers.”

A spokesperson for the Australian Digital Health Agency has signalled that e-prescribing under the token model should be going live outside of communities of interest next month.

See the PSA website for more detail on state and territory e-prescribing legislation.

Meanwhile amendments to South Australian emergency response legislation have recognised the role of community pharmacists during the current pandemic.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response (Further Measures) (No 2) Amendment Bill 2020, read by the SA Legislative Council for the first time on Tuesday, sees the recognition of pharmacists and pharmacy assistants as prescribed emergency workers, in order to ensure their protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A maximum penalty for a person who causes harm to a prescribed emergency worker acting in the course of official duties is 15 years’ imprisonment.

The Pharmacy Guild welcomed the introduction of the amendments.

“As pharmacists and their staff continue to do their vital work in the community, it is imperative that they have the full protection of the law against behaviour that is unacceptable,” said Guild SA branch president Nick Panayiaris.

“The idea that pharmacy staff would be abused or assaulted while doing their work is absolutely abhorrent and cannot be tolerated.

“This amendment gives notice to all in the community to respect the safety and rights of people working in pharmacies, all of whom are serving the community under difficult and sometimes confronting circumstances,” he said.

Additionally the amendments, when passed, will see pharmacies legally able to have a pharmacist available for consultation via the internet or other electronic communication while the pharmacy is operating.

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