The state government is investing $2.5m a year to fund three 24/7 pharmacies. The first, in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs, is now open.
Round-the-clock pharmacy access
The government is investing $2.5 million a year to fund three 24/7 community pharmacies – National Pharmacies at Norwood, Chemist Warehouse at the Saints Shopping Centre in Salisbury Plain and Chemist Warehouse in Clovelly Park. National Pharmacies at Norwood has started opening 24/7 as of February 4, with the two Chemist Warehouse pharmacies set to follow in early March.
A pharmacist will be on hand 24 hours a day at each of the three pharmacies to provide expert advice and fill prescriptions. There’ll also be on-site security guards overnight to make sure the pharmacies are a safe space for anyone who needs them. That means no matter what unearthly hour of the day or night you need fast access to medication and health advice, it’ll be available from a trusted source.
More pharmacy improvements on the way
As well as the three 24/7 pharmacies, the South Australian Government is providing pharmacists access to mental health first aid training so they can provide initial support to people experiencing mental illness. There are also more vaccines on offer at pharmacies and soon to be expanded access to palliative care medicines in around 30 pharmacies across the state.
Also in 2024, women will have an easier, quicker way to seek advice and access treatment to help handle urinary tract infections (UTIs) and restock their oral contraceptive pill, without the need for a GP appointment or visiting a busy hospital ED.
Super speedy UTI treatment
As any woman who’s ever suffered from a UTI knows, anything that clears it up quicker is a serious win. From March next year, if you’re between 18 and 65 and suspect a UTI, you can skip the whole palaver of seeing a GP for a prescription and head straight to your local community pharmacist. They’ll be able to diagnose you on the spot and provide a one-off course of antibiotics for an uncomplicated UTI straight away. Sounds good and (most importantly) super speedy, doesn’t it?
You will need a consultation with a trained pharmacist first to talk through your symptoms. That means they might charge a consultation fee (a small price for quick relief!). Just so you know: those pharmacists are getting extra training on top of their already extensive knowledge of UTIs to ensure SA women are in safe hands.
Hassle-free access to oral contraceptives
Restocking your oral contraceptive pills will also get a whole lot easier next year. From May 2024, if you’ve had the pill prescribed by a doctor in the past 12 months, trained community pharmacies will be able to resupply you without a fresh script.
Just like with UTIs, you’ll need to have a quick chat first with a pharmacist, who may charge a fee for their expert advice. However, this change means you can maintain your contraceptive routine with ease (even if you leave your resupply to the last minute). Plus, you’ll be reducing the need for GP appointments.
The latest stage of a bigger plan
These handy new pharmacy services are the latest stage of a multi-million dollar state government rollout of initiatives to free up hospital emergency departments and GP waiting rooms. In good news for South Australians, these initiatives are ones that make healthcare way more accessible and convenient.
The 24/7 pharmacies will help people avoid busy hospital emergency departments by providing access to medicines, health advice and pharmacy services around the clock. At the moment, emergency departments are the only walk-in health services open 24/7.
Another initiative to keep South Australians out of hospital is a virtual healthcare service for children and adolescents. If you’re not already familiar with the service, we’ve got all the details for you here.
If you’re a woman experiencing gynaecological issues that are stressing you out, problems with an IUD, or you’re newly pregnant and experiencing symptoms of possible pregnancy loss, there’s a free virtual healthcare service especially for you – run by expert (and very sympathetic) midwifes.
Urgent care clinics
The Federal Government is delivering five Medicare Urgent Care Clinics in SA. These clinics give South Australians the option to see a doctor or nurse for urgent, non-life-threatening health conditions when they can’t get an appointment at their usual GP.
The idea is that you can walk into any Medicare Urgent Care Clinic for bulk billed no out of pocket cost urgent care without the need for an appointment or referral. The five clinics are at Marion, Elizabeth, Mount Gambier, Royal Park and Morphett Vale. The first four are open, while Morphett Vale will be open by the end of the year.
For more information on the community pharmacy initiatives, click here.