South Australia is set to trial a pharmacy-based COVID-19 testing service.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade said the trial will involve up to five pharmacies and capitalise on the trust and and goodwill pharmacists have within their communities.
“People often present to a pharmacy with mild cold or flu-like symptoms to seek advice from their pharmacist or to obtain treatment for symptom relief, and these are the very people we want to get a COVID-19 test,” the Minister said.
“We want to build on our network of more than over 60 COVID-19 testing locations in South Australia to make it as easy as possible to get a test.
“As part of our efforts to encourage everyone with symptoms to get tested, over the next two weeks we are trialling a pharmacy-based service where eligible customers will be asked if they want to get tested while they are in the pharmacy.”
South Australia’s Chief Pharmacist, Naomi Burgess said ongoing training and support was being provided to the pharmacies taking part in the trial.
“We worked closely with SA Pathology to develop a training program to upskill pharmacists in swab collection and infection control so they can provide COVID-19 testing for symptomatic customers over the age of 18,” Ms Burgess said.
“Making sure the pharmacists are safe and feel safe performing these tests is a high priority list and a number of infection control measures will be put in place, including ensuring pharmacies have enough Personal Protective Equipment, swabs and pathology specimen bags.
“Increasing the availability of tests and making them as easy to access as possible will increase our State’s ability to respond to potential outbreaks.”
She said customers who agree to be tested will need to have a smartphone and register with the SA Pathology Personify website to receive notification about their result.
“To ensure the pilot only captures incidental customers, the service will not be promoted and pharmacists will identify eligible candidates on a case-by-case basis,” said Ms Burgess.
She said the pilot will run for two weeks and outcomes will be evaluated before any future decisions are made on expansion or continuation of the scheme.