Poll: Do you support COVID-19 testing in pharmacies?

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?

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  1. Steven J

    Once again the Guild perks up at the smell of profit.

  2. Evan Walters

    Due to the possibility that someone yet to present with symptoms may have been into the pharmacy I’m still concerned that people are waiting in store for their scripts during the pandemic. The advice from community pharmacies this far has been clear and adequate, “if you have COVID-like symptoms do not enter the store”. I find it disturbing to suggest turning community pharmacies into COVID testing sites of any kind.

  3. JimT

    this is not a matter for making money, it must be for the greater good, hence using pharmacies or any place where people need to congregate/wait in near proximitry to others is not good. The drive through concept keeps patients in their own space and seems to be time efficient. If you’re needing a Covid-19 test you shouldn’t need to be anywhere except getting a test done or self-isolated.

  4. disillusioned

    I’m not opposed to the idea provided proper PPE is provided and it is an opt-in program. As far as I’m aware, this targets people that are already coming in to the Pharmacy, so risk to the public isn’t materially higher as they will present to the pharmacy either way.
    The public who just want COVID testing without pharmacy services would prefer (or perhaps be forced?) to attend a fully fledged testing facility.

    The benefit to Pharmacists besides the inherent benefits of more testing in the community will be that it may increase Pharmacist productivity or at the least, the breadth of their outputs. Upskilling Pharmacists in new areas like this will open Pharmacists to other jobs such as working at mass covid testing facilities, manning covid hotlines etc, which will increase demand for Pharmacist hours and thus increase their market rates. It also opens up other possibilities in the future such as influenza testing etc.
    By opening Pharmacists to other employment opportunities, it will reduce their dependence on the Pharmacy Guild who seek to restrict them to their four walls.

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