The Victorian Government has been supporting its pharmacies and nursing services to provide extra care in their communities by extending their opening hours.
The initiative is helping more people to get easier access to affordable healthcare and medical advice when they need it, 24-hours every day and closer to their home. It involved opening a number of Supercare Pharmacies across the state to provide additional healthcare, run by both pharmacists and nurses, for various minor illnesses and treatments. Has it been helpful?
24 Hour Pharmacies
Supercare Pharmacy Scheme
The Government has 2 main interests in funding Supercare Pharmacies.
- Keep people with minor injuries out of busy hospital emergency departments.
- Providing people with medical advice and products throughout the night.
According to the owner of the Carnovale Pharmacy – one of the first 5 Supercare Pharmacies to open in Victoria, 24-hour pharmacies have allowed patients to avoid long queues at hospitals for medicine and instead received appropriate treatment from a pharmacist.
Additionally, 24 hour pharmacies would be the perfect solution for people who get discharged from the hospital during the night with a prescription, so they could get the medicine immediately.
The Victorian Government committed $28.7 million to creating 20 Supercare Pharmacies in 2018 and the role played by pharmacies is continuing to become more important.
At this years Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference, the Federal Minister for Health, told the audience that the Government’s vision for an even better health system would involve an expanded health care role for the pharmacists.
Since launching in 2017, hundreds of thousands of Victorians have visited a Supercare Pharmacy. Based on last year’s report from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, the government also spent more than $300,000 to increase people’s awareness about this new scheme.
What 24 Hour Pharmacies Can Offer
The Pharmacies are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and provide all-day access to qualified pharmacists for medical advice, medicine and dispensing prescriptions.
A registered nurse may also operate in a private consulting room to assist with minor issues.
The nursing services may provide:
- Face-to-face medical advice and treatment for minor injuries, wound management, flu and whooping cough immunisations
- Health screening, assessments and advice for illness prevention, including blood pressure checks, blood sugar testing and weight management
- Sexual health advice
- Referrals to other services if required
24 Hour Pharmacies can provide a safe and accessible alternative for less urgent matters, but they would not replace doctors or the need to visit an emergency department in extreme cases.
There are currently 20 Supercare Pharmacies located across Victoria, with 6 located in regional areas. A Supercare Pharmacy still operates under the name and branding of the pharmacy selected though to avoid confusion. There will be signage to indicate it is one of the Supercare Pharmacies.
For more information about the locations of those pharmacies.
A success story
A 69 years old retiree from St Leonards, answering to a SeniorOnline post mentioned how a Supercare Pharmacy enabled him to have his treatment closer to home when he needed it the most.
His arm was injured and he had a crushed nerve. Even though his surgery helped to remove the pressure from the nerves, his wound was physically touched every time he moved his arms.
One evening, he went to a pharmacy nearby to get some bandage to stop the rubbing.
Luckily, it was one of Victoria’s 20 Supercare Pharmacies and after telling the nurse about his problem, he instantly was provided a large tube bandage to stop anything from touching his wound.
The nurse also showed him how to manage the wound so that he could continue his recovery.
This success story was also featured in the annual report from Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to illustrate how Supercare Pharmacies have proven to be a great resource for patients with small injuries.
What are you thoughts about this initiative in Victoria? Would this change have a potential to be applied nationwide?
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