With health anxiety rising in the community, out of stocks and price changes, are patients becoming increasingly abusive in pharmacy?
The beginning of the 2020s has brought significant stressors for large numbers of Australians – concerned about the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, and the health impacts of a horror bushfire season, including poor air quality.
As a result, many Australians have been seeking to buy hand sanitisers and face masks from pharmacy, but finding stock levels low or non-existent, and prices higher than they expected.
Pharmacy Guild national president George Tambassis told members earlier this month that the Guild understands the “pressure” such demand is placing on pharmacy, while Victorian branch president Anthony Tassone told the AJP that he has referred one supplier of masks to the ACCC over an increase in its price to pharmacies, which then has had to be passed onto consumers.
In January, one Canberra pharmacy owner told the AJP that there had been sufficient “panic” over the poor air quality in the capital that some patients became distressed or angry when they could not purchase face masks.
We’d like to know if you think that pharmacists and pharmacy assistants are exposed to a growing level of abuse from patients – whether that means more patients becoming difficult, or whether the behaviour itself has become worse, as well as more frequent.
We’d also like to know whether you think unusual events like the stressors experienced by Australians this summer are a contributor… and how abuse from customers affects you.
In our poll below, check as many responses as apply… and please feel free to share your stories, as well as strategies to manage difficult patients and to cope with being mistreated, in the comments.
Pharmacists who are distressed can contact the Pharmacists’ Support service on 1300 244 910.