Labor is promising to support 10 after-hours pharmacies across the state with $4 million, something the Tasmania Pharmacy Guild is welcoming.
The party, if elected, is promising to provide $1 million a year to support 10 after-hours pharmacies.
Labor health spokesperson Bastian Seidel said by expanding access to after-hours pharmacies, it helped reduce the number of presentations to emergency departments for minor ailments.
“Tasmania’s community pharmacists have the potential to play a significant role in reducing the burden on our overstretched emergency departments,” he said.
“But to really make a difference, we need to use community pharmacists to the full scope of their practice.
“Tasmania has not kept pace with the rate of regulatory evolution seen around the rest of the country as the benefits and safety of pharmacist-administered vaccination has become apparent.
“There is capacity for rapid implementation of this commitment to ensure broad access to influenza vaccination during the Covid-19 vaccination rollout.”
The funding will deliver extended hours to two pharmacies in each electorate and the locations will be selected by an expression of interest.
Youngtown Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Jason Martin said last year the pharmacy extended its hours but the support was needed.
“We have such a large catchment where there isn’t primary healthcare services, apart from emergency departments and I’ve definitely seen in the last 12 months just how much people value being able to come in.
“There’s no way we’re going to be doing 20 million [COVID-19] vaccines without engaging all healthcare providers to be a part of that. Access to healthcare practitioners to provide a vaccine is going to be paramount to achieve the goals that are being set,” he said.
“So being able to have extended hours is going to get more coverage of more individuals.”
Tasmanian Pharmacy Guild president Helen O’Byrne said Labor’s promise recognised pharmacists were accessible providers of primary healthcare.
She said for regional and rural communities it meant their pharmacies may be able to open the entirety of a Saturday and in the city centres meant Sunday trading may be available.
“It is difficult to operate extended hours when there are penalty rates, so it does support our pharmacy community to open,” she said.
“It’s a great positive recognition that community pharmacies have the capacity to roll these programs [vaccinations] out.”