Regional health chief calls for extended retail pharmacy hours


The head of Bendigo Health has called for extended pharmacy hours among other initiatives to reduce pressure on local hospitals.

Extended pharmacy trading hours, including under the Victorian Government’s Supercare pharmacy initiative, could significantly benefit the local community, says Bendigo Health CEO John Mulder, who spoke to Bendigo Advertiser journalist Emma D’Agostino yesterday about Bendigo’s brand-new hospital and other public health initiatives.

“We have a large pharmacy here in the new hospital but not a retail pharmacy as such, there’s retail pharmacies nearby that are available to the public but yes, they’re not always open for those hours. Anything that stops pressure on the Emergency Department is a good thing,” he says.

“If people need access to medication and they’ve got no other choice I can imagine why they would come to a new hospital and come to an emergency department,” Mr Mulder told Ms D’Agostino.

“Out of hours GP services, home doctor GP services, all of those things are going to make a big difference… if people have got alternatives rather than coming into an ED and having to wait, 24-hour pharmacy, retail pharmacy, late-night pharmacy is going to be a big advantage to our community.”

Ahead of the expected request for tenders for the next round of Supercare Pharmacies, D’Agostino also asked readers recently whether they saw a need for a 24-hour Supercare Pharmacy in the area.

Advertiser readers were “overwhelmingly” in favour of a local pharmacy with extended trading hours.

The Victorian Government has committed $28.7 million to introduce 20 Supercare Pharmacies by 2018, designed to help families, shift workers and others in need of non-emergency care after hours.

Five opened last year, including the Carnovale Pharmacy in Yarraville and the Ascot Vale Pharmacy.

The Pharmacy Guild Victorian Branch’s Anthony Tassone says that the Guild is “looking to continue to work with the Victorian Government to not only increase access to community pharmacy, but to increase and expand its role in providing better health outcomes for Victorians”.

 

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