We want to know what you think
Last week the Palaszczuk Government announced that it would trial opportunistic testing of “minimally symptomatic” people already attending Queensland pharmacies for treatment.
The news came a few weeks after South Australia said it was rolling out a two-week testing pilot commencing at several metropolitan pharmacies – the first Australian state to do so.
SA Health stated it would not be promoting the pharmacy-based service during the pilot and would continue to encourage the community to visit a GP or dedicated testing clinic, to ensure only ‘incidental’ customers were captured by pharmacies.
However pharmacists and doctors have expressed concern after public announcements by the Queensland government that COVID-19 testing in community pharmacies will be promoted across the state. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the news of the trial on her Facebook page.
The Pharmacy Guild welcomed the announcement, with Queensland branch president Trent Twomey encouraging community pharmacies to take part in the trial over the coming months.
“It makes sense to opportunistically test those members of the community with possible symptoms, as they are already attending the pharmacy for their medications and healthcare advice,” he said.
But PSA National President Chris Freeman responded that the announcement sent the wrong message to people who should be at home self-isolating when displaying symptoms of COVID-19, and raised concerns “for the safety and wellbeing of pharmacists, pharmacy staff and the general public”.
“We have continually asked members of the community not to enter a pharmacy if they are unwell and displaying COVID-19 symptoms,” he said.
“We do not want people who potentially have COVID-19 wandering into a pharmacy to get tested.
“The concern is that this decision will put not only pharmacists at risk but those with chronic health conditions who regularly visit a pharmacy and are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19.”
The announcement was also met with concern from some pharmacists and members of the public. We want to gauge the general feeling amongst our readers. What do you think of the trial?