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Important message from Outback Pharmacies

Thursday, 19th March, 2020

Jason Harvey of Outback Pharmacies in Broken Hill. Jason Harvey of Outback Pharmacies in Broken Hill.

To the customers, friends and family of Outback Pharmacies, the community of Broken Hill and the Far West. Please take the time to read this long, but important statement.

We all understand that these are unique and challenging times. Whatever your thoughts are about Coronavirus and COVID-19, I think we can all agree that this is a new experience for all of us.

The Far West NSW hasn’t had any confirmed cases of COVID-19 yet, but it will come here eventually. When it does, it will present even more new challenges for us and like most challenges it will be much easier to overcome them if we all work together for the common good.

Outback Pharmacies will always endeavour to provide you with your medications and healthcare advice and in a safe and timely manner. This has become more of a challenge in the past few weeks and specifically the past few days for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, many customers throughout Australia believe that they need to stock up on medications for various reasons, often asking their pharmacies for many months of their medications to be dispensed at the one time.

This has led to large pharmacy chains, particularly in metropolitan areas deciding, against advice, to bulk purchase multiple months worth of stock for their pharmacies. This has resulted in the major wholesalers being out of stock of many common medications. This has particularly affected rural and remote pharmacies. We have been advised that these should mostly be short term issues.

Despite what some commentators are saying in the media, current government advice is that you don’t need to stock up with multiple months of your medications just in case. Any supply issues should be resolved shortly. Current advice is that you only need to keep a one-month supply of your medications on hand.

Please keep in mind that the overstocking of your medications means that some of our more vulnerable customers - those who can’t get in to the pharmacy as often, or may have trouble affording their medications may be missing out.

Having said that, please make sure you are diligent with your medications and don’t leave things until the last minute to get them dispensed as we don’t want you missing out either.

The past few days have seen our stores be incredibly busy. Perhaps busier than we have ever been before. There have often been times where customers have had to wait much longer than usual to get their scripts dispensed. There have also been times when we may have not have had the medications that you need in stock.

Please be patient with us and our staff. We understand that people are maybe feeling very anxious and frustrated about the world at the moment, but please try to not take out your frustrations out on our staff. They are doing an incredible job at the moment under trying circumstances.

We are exploring all our options at the moment about the best ways to keep everyone safe, to minimize wait times and make everything a little easier. A few tips and notes to keep in mind:

- If you begin to show any symptoms of COVID-19, please do not come into the pharmacies for advice. Many of our customers are in the most at risk groups if they do contract the virus. We are more than happy for you to phone us or contact us via email or Messenger and we can help you decide on the next course of action.

- To minimise wait times and contact with people, please take advantage of leaving your scripts on file with us and ordering them via the MedAdvisor App, phone, email or Messenger. Please contact us for more details on this.

- We are more than happy to deliver to your home or workplace and are putting steps in place to be able to increase our capacity to do this.

- If you are having trouble keeping up with your medications, perhaps consider getting them packed into a Webster Pak to make things easier for you.

- We are more than happy to pop out to your car or meet you at the door if we need to. Just please contact us beforehand.

- From today we will not be asking customers to sign their scripts when they are collected at the pharmacies to minimise common contact. This maybe only a temporary measure. If you still wish to sign them, please do so at home beforehand.

- We will be temporarily removing all perfume and make-up testers

- When paying for items, we encourage people to use the Tap and go feature on their card or smartphone

- Shortly, we will have hand sanitizing stations set-up at the entrances at each store and ask that all people use them before entering. They are not up and running just yet because we ourselves cant get hand sanitizer. Hopefully that will change soon.

- We will be restricting the number of particular products that you can purchase at the one time to make it fair on everyone. We will advise of these products in-store. Despite what some people think, you probably don’t need a carton of bottles of hand sanitizer as has been requested.

This is a very fluid situation and we will have to change our protocols and procedures once new directives are given to us by the various government and organisational bodies.

Our goal will always be the safe supply of medications and information for our customers.

Looking at other countries around the world, if lock downs do eventually happen, then generally pharmacies have been one of the few businesses that do remain open. At this stage we have every intention of staying open as best we can to support you and your families.

Finally, if you take nothing else from this post, please remember this. There are lots of great local businesses and health professionals in the area who are doing everything they can to help as many people as they can and some are struggling. When COVID-19 does come, this will get exponentially worse. Please support them as best you can and in a world where you can be anything, if nothing else, be kind.

If you have any questions, please contact our stores

 

CP Peoples Chemist

8087 3326 

peopleschemist@outbackpharmacies.com.au

 

Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse 

Broken Hill

8087 2266 

brokenhill@goodpricepharmacy.com.au

 

Tembys Day & Night Pharmacy

8087 3452 

tembyspharmacy@outbackpharmacies.com.au

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