Doctors can prescribe medicines via email or fax from April 17, making it more convenient for patients to access medications from their pharmacists during the COVID-19 crisis.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said under the NSW Government changes announced today GPs and nurse practitioners will be able to send a digital image of the prescription.
“These changes are designed to make accessing your medications easier and safer, particularly for those in the community with chronic conditions,” Mr Hazzard said.
“It ensures people with compromised immune systems will not need to go to the doctor’s surgery in person and can get their script entirely through a telehealth appointment.”
Only allowing scripts to be sent by email or fax rather than via text to a pharmacist, will stop potential prescription forgery and diversion to the criminal supply chain.
The regulation amendment follows other recent changes including the strengthening of laws against people who spit or cough on health workers, including pharmacy staff.
President of the Pharmacy Guild of NSW, David Heffernan, said the new $5,000 fines send a clear message that frontline healthcare workers should be treated with respect.
“Community pharmacists and their staff are working tirelessly to put patients’ needs first, often under stressful conditions and we will be here until the end,” Mr Heffernan said.
NSW Health is also addressing the availability of prescription and over-the-counter medicines by introducing limits to ensure equitable access. Pharmacists are also able to dispense certain medications without a prescription and can stay open 24/7.
Families can also take advantage of an initiative announced earlier this year, enabling pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to anyone over 10 years of age.
Advice to pharmacists is available at Advice for community pharmacies on COVID-19.