Beaudesert could have COVID testing in pharmacies under government trail

COVID: Donna Simpson says Discount Drug Store would be able to provide a testing service in Beaudesert.
COVID: Donna Simpson says Discount Drug Store would be able to provide a testing service in Beaudesert.

The state government has announced a trial of COVID-19 testing in pharmacies to increase testing capability in Queensland.

The news brought a mixed response from Beaudesert chemists.

Discount Drug Store co-owner Donna Simpson said they would be interested in taking part in the pilot.

"We would definitely be involved," she said.

"It would help alleviate the wait times for COVID-19 testing."

However Amcal pharmacy manager Camille Morgan said they would not be interested.

"We are already flat out at the moment," she said.

Priceline Beaudesert Fair owner Shrikesh Morjaria said he would reserve his decision until talks with the Pharmacy Guild clarified how and where testing would be carried out.

"My main concern is that every pharmacy is going to be different, some may not have the infrastructure to offer this service," he said.

"We need to be sure we can ensure the safety of our staff and all our customers before we say yes or no to this."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the pharmacy trial was another way to keep Queenslanders safe.

"Queenslanders have done a great job in slowing the spread of COVID-19," she said.

"This is just another way to make that job easier."

Health Minister Steven Miles said the pilot program 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," he 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 could 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.

"Queensland was one of the first jurisdictions in the world to start testing for COVID-19. We also brought onboard rapid testing machines and introduced serology testing to assist with contact tracing.

"As part of this pilot program pharmacists will be provided with relevant training to conduct the testing. Collected specimens will 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.

"We're working with Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland and looked at pilots done by some other states.

"Queensland Health will conduct a comprehensive review of the pilot program after the trial to determine if this is a feasible way to increase testing opportunities in community pharmacies."

Pharmacy Guild Queensland president 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.

"Community pharmacy has a proud history of playing our part in the evolution of Queensland's primary health care network."