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Hundreds flock to 24/7 National Pharmacies store in first week

12 February 2024

Strong demand for afterhours medication and health advice has seen more than 440 people visit or contact Norwood National Pharmacies overnight in its first week operating 24/7.

Norwood National Pharmacies is South Australia’s first 24/7 pharmacy operating under a new State Government scheme, with 384 people visiting the pharmacy, in central Adelaide, between 10pm and 8am from Sunday, 4 February, to Sunday, 11 February.

A further 65 people called afterhours for advice from pharmacists. More than 240 prescriptions were dispensed to afterhours customers for medications, including antibiotics, for pain relief and migraine medication.

Norwood National Pharmacies pharmacists gave advice over the counter and over the phone on UTIs, children’s pain relief, infant colic treatments, baby formula, COVID tests, cold and flu treatments and antihistamines.

Pharmacists also gave advice on how to use medications, including to a patient with an asthma inhaler and spacer who had recently been discharged from hospital. Asthma inhalers were also dispensed over the counter afterhours, preventing potential visits to an emergency department.

Women and couples used the 24/7 pharmacy the most, followed by seniors and young adults.

Norwood National Pharmacies became the first community pharmacy to open its doors 24/7 last week under a $2.5 million a year government initiative to help reduce avoidable presentations to busy hospital emergency departments.

National Pharmacies CEO Vito Borrello said the number of people from across Adelaide coming through the door after hours in the first week of 24/7 trading had highlighted the need for extended pharmacy services.

“Our expert pharmacists have been able to assist worried parents, carers, shift-workers and others in the community who previously would have had to seek help elsewhere,” said Mr Borrello.

“We’ve been delighted by the response to our 24/7 service and look forward to continuing to serve the needs of our community when they need it, day or night,” he said.

Health and Wellbeing Minister Chris Picton said the government had been “blown away” by the response from South Australians who have accessed the new late-night pharmacy service.

“These are people who may have had to otherwise go to an emergency department to get the medication they required,” said Mr Picton.

Two more 24/7 pharmacies will soon open to service Adelaide’s northern and southern regions. Norwood National Pharmacies services the central Adelaide region.

A pharmacist will be on staff 24 hours a day at each of the three pharmacies to provide specialist health advice, dispense medicines and provide professional pharmacy services. The three pharmacies will also have added security including on-site security guards overnight.

In another important pharmacy expansion, from next month, South Australian women aged 18-65 with uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) will be able to access antibiotic treatment through participating pharmacies, without needing to visit a doctor. And from May, eligible women will also be able to visit a local pharmacy to access a resupply of their oral contraceptive pill, without needing a doctor’s appointment

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