Queensland will trial COVID-19 testing in pharmacies to increase testing capability in the state.
Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, Steven Miles said the trial was about making testing even more accessible.
“Until we have an approved vaccine for COVID-19, we will continue to rely on methods like testing to keep Queenslanders safe,” Mr Miles said.
“That’s why we’re launching a pilot program to trial testing for COVID-19 in pharmacies.”
Mr Miles said community pharmacies across the state would take part in the pilot project over the next few months.
“Each year there are over 458 million patient visits to community pharmacies – approximately 8.8 million per week,” he said.
“Community pharmacies are often accessible, trusted places in communities across Queensland, including regional and remote areas.
“Making testing available at your local pharmacy will make it even easier for Queenslanders to get tested.”
The Minister said participating pharmacists would be provided with relevant training to conduct the testing, with collected specimens to be analysed by Queensland Health and managed according to existing Queensland Health procedures.
“That means those tested will be advised to isolate in accordance with COVID-19 national guidelines and identified cases will be notified by the relevant Public Health Unit,” said Mr Miles.
“We’re working with Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland and looked at pilots done by some other states.”
He said Queensland Health would conduct a comprehensive review of the pilot program after the trial to determine if it was a feasible way to increase testing opportunities in community pharmacies.
President Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Professor, Trent Twomey said they would work with the Queensland Government to ensure the success of the trial.
“Queenslanders are already presenting in Pharmacy with possible symptoms which are similar to COVID-19 symptoms and requesting cold and flu medications. It makes sense to opportunistically test those members of the community with possible symptoms,” he said.
“Community Pharmacy has a proud history of playing our part in the evolution of Queensland’s primary health care network.”