| 27 Mar 2020

Community Pharmacy Services Update

Community pharmacies in South Canterbury will remain open during the 4 week lock down.  Usual pharmacy services, including prescriptions and over-the-counter sales, will be available but the public may notice some differences in how pharmacies do this. Pharmacies may have altered opening and closing times.

There will be measures put in place to reduce infection risk and to protect people requiring pharmacy services and the pharmacy staff.  You will be asked to maintain physical distancing by keeping 2 metres distance from any other person.  Pharmacists may also provide patient consultations over the phone or by using Skype or FaceTime.

We ask the community to phone ahead for repeat prescriptions, and any over-the-counter sales.  Pharmacy staff may choose to deliver to your home, or advise a time for you to collect from the pharmacy. If your medication is needed urgently, please phone the pharmacy.

Please don’t go to the pharmacy – if you feel sick stay home:

  • Call Healthline - 0800 358 5453 or your GP to advise that you may have symptoms and have undertaken any overseas travel in the past 14 days, or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19. Please do not go directly to a pharmacy, GP clinic, or emergency department.
  • Follow the advice from the Ministry of Health – this is useful information that is updated regularly and the government’s new COVID-19 website: www.covid19.govt.nz

Medicines supply

People who need to take medicines regularly may be anxious about continued availability from pharmacies. This is understandable.

Medicine shortages do happen. However, New Zealand’s medicines supply chain – PHARMAC, pharmacies, distributors and suppliers – works very well to minimise shortages, and to fairly distribute any medicines temporarily in short supply.

Prescription medicines are usually dispensed by pharmacists in monthly or 3-monthly amounts. People should not ask for more than these normal amounts – in other words, please do not try to ‘stockpile’ your regular medicines.

Stockpiling medicines makes it more difficult for pharmacists, doctors and PHARMAC to avoid shortages for everyone. We all have a part to play in using health services responsibly at this challenging time so that people who need care most don’t have to wait more than they should.

Renewing the prescription of your regular medicines

When it is time to renew your prescription, contact your GP Clinic. If you are well, your GP Clinic will initially complete a telephone consult, which may lead to your prescription being renewed, or they may still need to see you.

Illness or isolating at home is not a barrier to getting your prescription and other medicines from your pharmacy.

Your GP Clinic can send your prescription to your preferred pharmacy for you.

You can then:

  • have someone else (family member, friend or carer) visit the pharmacy to collect your medicines for you, or
  • ask your pharmacy to arrange delivery to your home.

Note, there may be a small additional charge from your GP Clinic or pharmacy for additional services such as sending prescriptions or delivering your medicines.