Date: 3 February 2021
Guild National President George Tambassis and Executive Director Suzanne Greenwood appeared in person and gave evidence at the committee hearing.
In an opening statement, Mr Tambassis said the pandemic had highlighted as never before the vital role that community pharmacies play in the Australian health system.
“As one of the most trusted, and accessible primary healthcare providers, their role has been pivotal in the collaborative national effort to manage COVID-19 while also continuing to provide the medicines and services which their communities rely on,” he said.
“Their role as essential pillars of the health network and as essential health service providers has never been clearer.
“Community pharmacists have had to be positive, and stay positive, and I could not be prouder to represent them here today.
“On average, 97 per cent of consumers in capital cities are no further than 2.5km from a pharmacy. In regional areas, 65 per cent of people are within 2.5km of a pharmacy.
“During the pandemic community pharmacists and their staff have gone above and beyond to serve their communities. Importantly, the geographic spread of the nation’s 5,800 community pharmacies has meant that in the main access to medicines and pharmacy services has been available despite travel restrictions.”
Mr Tambassis said this this access had been further facilitated by pharmacies staying open extended hours and on weekends, and pharmacies implementing additional services to help their communities during the pandemic.
“This has often come at a cost to the pharmacies, but it has not dampened their commitment to ensure the best for their patients,” he said.
The committee chair, Senator Katy Gallagher, on behalf of the committee members, thanked all Guild members for the work they have done for patients during the pandemic.
Contact: The Guild