Date: 8 September 2021
By Suzanne Greenwood, Executive Director
This month we celebrate a major occasion - World Pharmacists Day - which this year takes on a special significance given the huge role community pharmacies across Australia have played, and continue to play, in the COVID-19 crisis.
In Australia, we have more than 5,900 community pharmacies which throughout the pandemic have remained open, have gone above and beyond to provide services and medicines to patients, and have been stalwarts of the community.
People right across this nation have turned to their local pharmacies during these uncertain and unpredictable times for help, advice and support. And they do so because they trust their pharmacists. They trust their pharmacists to give them the right medicines and advice; they trust their pharmacists to be there when they need them; and they trust their pharmacists as members of their own community.
So, this year’s theme for World Pharmacists Day - Pharmacy always trusted for your health - is one that I think very neatly reflects the fundamental philosophy behind the importance of your local pharmacy and the pharmacists and their team who work there.
COVID-19 has made a lot of people reassess who they turn to for advice and information. The dynamics of COVID-19 have moved so quickly that the communication channels to the public have failed to keep pace. This has led to confused messaging and often patients have turned to the local community pharmacy for advice and clarification. Why? Because they trust them, they can easily get in to talk to the pharmacist and they trust the information and advice they are provided with.
This trust has been further reinforced with community pharmacies becoming central vaccination points and helping to bring vaccination target rates up closer to the desired levels needed to get the country back on track to achieve a degree of normality. When the vaccine rollout seemed to have stalled, the onboarding of eligible pharmacies to administer vaccines kickstarted the campaign and brought hope for an end to lockdowns and other restrictions.
Of course, with COVID-19 it is easy to focus on what pharmacies and pharmacists are doing but it is also important to note that while all the additional pressures of COVID-19 are there, pharmacists are still maintaining ‘business as usual’ services for their patients. All the services which patients have come to expect are still being provided over and above the additional stresses and workloads that the pandemic has imposed on the pharmacies.
With all this going on, I am sure there will be many people who will take time to thank pharmacists for the extra work they are putting in as they meet patient expectations every day. We expect them to be there after hours and on weekends. We expect them to provide advice and services. We expect them to be able to meet our health needs when and where we want them met.
So, I would like to invite you all to take the time on World Pharmacists Day this year, 25 September, to go out of your way and thank your pharmacists for what they are doing.
We should all be proud of how our community pharmacy network has risen to the occasion during COVID-19, and indeed during other crises such a bushfires and floods, and continued to strive for better health and wellness outcomes for all Australians.
On 25 September let them know you appreciate what they are doing.
And the fact that 25 September is a Saturday?
Well, that’s just a normal working day for most pharmacists.
Contact: The Guild