Date: 30 March 2021
Community pharmacists have once again risen to the challenge, ensuring critical medicines get to patients during the recent floods in NSW and Queensland.
A case in point is Blooms The Chemist at Windsor, NSW, which coordinated a mission to get supplies to an aged care facility isolated by the floods.
Pharmacist Lizzy Gripper, herself unable to get home because of the floods, organised a mission to get medicines to the 80 residents at the nearby Middleton Nursing Home.
“They were cut off by the water and we couldn’t get medicines to them by road, so we had to organise something pretty quickly,” she said.
“We were lucky that the son of one of the residents has a helicopter and he offered it to us to get the medicines over there.
“We all set to work to pack up what was needed, so had our five pharmacists, two pharmacy assistants and our delivery driver all working packing up the prescription medicines, as well as OTC medicines and other supplies we thought they might need.”
The pharmacy team started work in the early hours of the morning to ensure everything was ready for the midday flight.
Ms Gripper said one patient with Parkinson’s presented a particular challenge.
“The medicine for this patient needs to be used in a very short time after it is taken out of the fridge,” she said.
“We had to coordinate where the helicopter could land on our side of the water and meet them there and make sure we weren’t waiting around for it.
“There was a fair bit of logistical work to organise on top of packing up the medicines.
“But we all got a great sense of satisfaction when we heard the medicines had arrived and everyone was ok.
“It was a challenge, but the team worked closely and hard to look after our patients.”
Ms Gripper said the pharmacy was ready to repeat the exercise if needed, depending on how quickly roads were able to be reopened.
“We are keeping a close eye on things,” she said.
Not surprisingly, the experience was a new one for Ms Gripper who has only been a pharmacist for a year.
“First it was COVID-19 and now the floods so my first year as a community pharmacist has certainly been an interesting time,” she said.
“But it’s also been very rewarding doing everything we can to help our patients during these times.”
Contact: The Guild