Date: 17 February 2021
Director of the pharmacy Marcus Leong said he and his staff recognised these challenges and the need to ensure the suburb’s 4,500 residents could access medicines and services through the pharmacy.
“Darwin is a very multicultural society and we have a very strong sense of community,” Mr Leong said.
“A big group of our customers is from different ethnic groups so now we are different from other pharmacies in the local area in that we have staff members who are multilingual.
“Hibiscus pharmacy is an independent pharmacy so one advantage is we can tailor ourselves to meet the needs of the community.
“We listen to our customers so we know the local community and we know that a lot of these people need more attention because they can’t speak English all that well.
“For instance, they need help to understand the messages being sent out to everyone during the COVID-19 crisis.
“So we engage staff who speak multiple languages - Chinese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek Portuguese, Filipino - just to make sure essential information is passed on to those who may not be good at English.”
Mr Leong said his multi-lingual staff also worked hard to ensure patients understood what was happening and understood they hadn’t been left out when messages and information were distributed.
The pharmacy provides a home delivery service which gets a lot of positive feedback from patients.
“Even though in Darwin we haven’t been affected as much by COVID-19, there is still a lot of anxiety and a lot of phobia - a lot of elderly people were resisting coming out to do their shopping,” he said.
“But by offering the home delivery service, we actually have the opportunity to visit them, have a chat with them and reassure them about what is going on.
“This creates a lot of bonding and strengthens the bonds we already have with our patients.
“It also gives us the opportunity to bond with new members of the community.”
The pharmacy also prides itself on its close relationship with doctors in the area.
“We work very proactively with the local GPs.
“There are a lot of local doctors located around the pharmacy and while we have always had good relationships with them these have been strengthened during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Throughout COVID-19 we have established strong bonds with them and they really appreciate the fact that a pharmacist is engaging with them.
“We let them know what is happening on the pharmacy floor and what the patients are thinking because a lot of patients can’t see their doctor face to face because of COVID-19.
“Many of these patients have had phone conference or video conference consultations.
“But these are challenging especially for the elderly community who are a big proportion of our customer base here at Hibiscus Pharmacy.
“We try to assist them to understand what the doctors are saying over the phone or on the video, and we are able to pass on the information from the doctor to them.
“This of course is something we never had to do before, but we find now is extremely valuable for our patients.”
Contact: The Guild