There’s been no time to celebrate for the staff of the Capital Chemist at Chisholm after it was named 2020 Pharmacy of the Year by the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Proprietor Rebecca Young said the celebrations will have to be added to the long list of events that have been cancelled or postponed due to coronavirus.
Instead, staff are at the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 and an influx of people lining up for this year’s influenza vaccine which arrived on 1 April.
“The big thing for us has been the flu vaccine,” Mrs Young said. “We received the national immunisation program vaccine for over-65s yesterday on 1 April and already this morning we’ve done about 60 vaccinations.
“Because of the social distancing rules, we’ve had people lined up outside the pharmacy even though it’s been wet, but we’ve managed to keep people under cover and at a safe distance.”
Mrs Young is encouraging people who are vulnerable to stay at home and use the pharmacy’s home delivery service.
“We can deliver to people and a lot of chemists do deliver, so people shouldn’t be coming out unless they have to, even though pharmacies are considered an essential service and will be open.
“We can talk over the phone to arrange contactless delivery and payment. We can still look after our patients so they don’t need to come out if they are unwell or are concerned about coming in to an environment where there may be other sick people,” she said.
Mrs Young said the initial surge for paracetamol had passed and there was no need for people to stockpile medicines. Federal Government legislation, also introduced this week, prevents the stockpiling of medicines such as salbutamol (Ventolin) and paracetamol.
“We’ve got a good supply here, so people don’t need to panic, as we’re only dispensing these medicines if people meet the requirements.”
Capital Chemist Chisholm was one of five finalist community pharmacies in the running to be named 2020 Pharmacy of the Year. It won the Excellence in Business Management award and was then named the best pharmacy among the Pharmacy Guild’s 4000 members.
“Capital Chemist Chisholm had consistently sought to improve its services, performance and viability while maintaining its position as an integral part of the community,” Pharmacy Guild of Australia National Councillor and judge Nick Panayiaris said.
“This pharmacy has a very clear and researched understanding of its community from which it has developed a service tailored to the community’s needs.”
Mrs Young said being named Guild’s Pharmacy of the Year was both exciting and humbling.
“To be recognised as the Pharmacy of the Year is testament to all the work everyone in this pharmacy does every day, and to all our patients who make this work so rewarding,” she said.
“Every member of the staff here is a highly valued and integral part of the team. We consult with the team, listen to the team and work as a team and the results are clear in us being given this award.
“Our patients have also been supporting us in our innovation and this is really rewarding.”
Mrs Young said the team was meant to be celebrating the award at the Gold Coast, but is instead planning a celebration with the community once the COVID-19 pandemic eases.
“We were all excited to celebrate on the Gold Coast, but it’s hard to get too excited about it all when we’re just trying to survive like everyone else in these unusual and challenging circumstances.
“We will certainly make sure that when the time is right, we will have a celebration with our community and invite all the gorgeous patients along for some cake and a morning tea to thank them for their support, many of whom have been coming to the pharmacy since it opened 30 years ago.
“It won’t be forgotten, but now is obviously not the right time to celebrate.”
That said, a long-time loyal customer did drop off a bottle of champagne on Thursday but it won’t be opened until the pandemic is over. Then we’ll all have something to celebrate.