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SA fund to help ensure medicine supply

An emergency fund has been established to ensure South Australian community pharmacies significantly affected by COVID-19 can continue to provide critical services.

Health Minister Stephen Wade says the $200,000 funding will be used to maintain the supply of vital medicines and other services should a pharmacy be at risk of closure.

“While South Australia has performed extremely well so far, we remain at risk, so it is important that we introduce measures now to protect these vital services,” Mr Wade said on Tuesday.

“By ensuring our pharmacies can remain open, we will help to reduce demand and attendance at our public hospitals and emergency departments in the event of a second wave.”

SA Health chief pharmacist Naomi Burgess said the program was established after concerns that single-practitioner pharmacies and those in rural and remote areas could struggle to maintain operations in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak among staff.

“Pharmacies impacted will be able to apply for the program if their workforce cannot be immediately supported by existing options or locum services,” Ms Burgess said.

SA’s Pharmacy Regulation Authority will oversee the program and provide access to qualified pharmacists and pharmacy assistants who have volunteered for such roles.

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