The Pharmacy Board has issued advice about pharmacist decisions and actions around the coronavirus pandemic
“Registered health practitioners play a vital role in treating and containing the novel coronavirus (COVID-19),” said the Pharmacy Board.
“The Pharmacy Board of Australia recognises that as health practitioners, you may be feeling anxious and concerned about decisions you may need to take to provide the best care in these challenging and uncertain circumstances, especially if the coronavirus becomes more widespread.
“We recognise that in these challenging circumstances, there may be a need for you to adjust established procedures to provide appropriate care to patients and clients.
“The regulatory guidance of National Boards is designed to be flexible and to provide a framework for decision-making in a wide range of situations.”
The Board advises that if a concern is raised about a pharmacist’s decisions and actions, the specific facts will be considered, including the factors relevant to the working environment.
It notes that it would also take account of any relevant information about resources, guidelines or protocols in place at the time.
“We encourage all registered health practitioners to work with colleagues and people using services, to use your professional judgement to assess risk, and to deliver safe care informed by any relevant guidance and the values and principles set out in professional standards and the codes of conduct for your profession,” the Board said.
“We also encourage you to take steps to look after your health, including to seek help when needed.
“It is vital that during this rapidly evolving situation, everyone follows national public health directions and guidance.”
Meanwhile the Australian Medical Association has now declared COVID-19 a national public health emergency.
AMA President, Dr Tony Bartone, said that the AMA calls on all Australian governments to act urgently on all public health measures to prevent community transmission of Covid-19.
“We need to get ahead of the curve – and this must start with the immediate banning of mass gatherings and ensuring that frontline medical and health workers are provided with the best possible information and equipment to protect the health of Australians.
“The Government’s public health advertising campaign must provide consistent and clear messages to allow Australians to guard against transmission and to go about their daily lives,” Dr Bartone said.
On Friday Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more should not go ahead.
He also said Australians should reconsider any non-essential travel.