Victorian health minister Jill Hennessy has lauded Supercare pharmacies for their role in November’s thunderstorm asthma event as she calls for tenders
Ms Hennessy yesterday announced the tender process for the next seven Supercare pharmacies, which will be set to open 24 hours a day with a nurse on site from 6pm to 10pm.
The Andrews Labor Government is also providing an additional $25.7 million to further support the initiative that will open 20 Supercare Pharmacies across Victoria.
Last July, the first five Supercare Pharmacies opened round-the-clock in Ascot Vale (pictured), Craigieburn, Wantirna South, Yarraville and Ballarat. Since then, more than 30,000 visits have been made at these pharmacies between 10pm and 7am, with patient numbers growing every month.
Ms Hennessy says that Supercare pharmacies played an important role in the November 21, 2016 thunderstorm asthma event, with a surge in demand after hours more than three times greater than usual attendances.
People were given Ventolin and other asthma medications, preventing many from having to go to a busy hospital emergency department, she says.
“We saw during the unprecedented thunderstorm asthma event just how important is was for people to be able to access urgently needed medications and care close to home and at all hours of the day and night,” Ms Hennessy says.
Peter O’Connor, owner of the Carnovale Pharmacy in Yarraville, told the AJP the day after the storm that the event was “incredible”.
“I have never seen anything remotely like it, in 25 years of working in pharmacy,” he said.
“It was the busiest I’ve ever seen a pharmacy.”
Other non-Supercare pharmacies, such as the Tambassis Pharmacy in Brunswick, stayed open long past their regular opening hours to help affected customers.
The next seven Supercare pharmacies are expected to open in mid-2017, with the remaining eight to open in 2018.
“Supercare Pharmacies give families another option and the peace of mind of knowing round-the-clock care is on hand, close to home,” Ms Hennessy says.
“We are now looking for more pharmacies to open all day, every day to help families and people like shift workers who need non-emergency care and medicines after hours.”