‘I never thought that this would happen to me.’

customer smashes screen guard into pharmacist's face

Shocking security footage has captured the moment a customer smashed a sneeze guard into a pharmacist’s face

The Pharmacy Guild and head of Pharmacy4Less have called for action following the attack, which took place at the Pharmacy4Less Auburn on Monday night, and released security footage showing the incident.

In the footage, the customer is seen pacing around in front of the dispensary, at one point coming around to the side of the counter and peering in.

When pharmacist Ahmed Ouf arrives to serve him, he first attempts to enter the dispensary before being directed back around the front.

Seconds later he smashes the COVID-19 “sneeze guard” Perspex screen into Mr Ouf’s face, then leaves, dragging goods off one of the shelves as he goes.

Police have been alerted to the incident.

“I’ve been attacked verbally lots of times but as a health care professional who is on the frontline, I never thought that this would happen to me,” Mr Ouf said.

“This should not happen to anyone at his workplace. We need more protection,” he said.

The Pharmacy Guild said that community pharmacists providing medicines and advice to patients across Australia deserve to be treated with respect, and not subjected to abusive behaviour from a tiny minority of patients.

It urged the general public to respect the right of pharmacy staff to safety and courtesy.

National President George Tambassis said he was very disturbed to hear this latest report of aggressive and violent behaviour.

“The overwhelming majority of Australians respect and trust their local pharmacy staff, which makes it all the more unacceptable when somebody behaves so poorly as we saw in an Auburn pharmacy last night,” Mr Tambassis said.

“Pharmacists and pharmacy staff will not and should not be expected to endure aggression and threatening abuse from a tiny minority of Australians who are engaging in this behaviour. 

“The safety and wellbeing of our staff and other patients is paramount.”

Pharmacy4Less CEO Feras Karem said, “Ahmed Ouf is a dedicated and experienced pharmacist who was left shaken by the incident”.

“Such incidents need to be dealt with by the authorities to send a clear message that it is not acceptable, but also to send a message to pharmacists and healthcare professionals that they will be supported by the authorities and provided the necessary protection.”

The Guild has published the security footage here.

Pharmacists can contact the Pharmacists Support Service on 1300 244 910 for peer support  related to the demands of being a pharmacist in Australia.

Members can call PDL on 1300 854 838 for support from a Professional Officer.

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