Westmead pharmacy staff meet COVID-19 challenges

Westmead Hospital emergency department pharmacists Chris Hidayat, Deborah Hanna, Vincent Viengkhou, Maggie Tso and Sophia Xu.

In what has been a challenging year for health systems, Westmead Hospital pharmacists have been at the forefront of supporting clinicians and patients to achieve the best outcomes.

The hospital pharmacy staff have been working closely with departments to educate staff and patients about the correct and safe use of medicines.

Westmead Hospital pharmacy director David Ng said the department was also working with other hospital departments providing timely access to medicines throughout the pandemic.

“The pharmacy staff have trained and upskilled fellow pharmacists in preparation for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients,” David said.

“The staff have been working with the intensive care unit, emergency department and infectious diseases teams to provide specialist advice, clinical reviews and care for COVID-19 patients.

“The pandemic has changed the way we practice and we’ve assisted in many ways, including helping to establish the hospital’s COVID-19 screening clinic and review the way we administer high-risk drugs to COVID-19 patients.”

Westmead Hospital pharmacy staff also collaborated with the WSLHD Drug and Therapeutics Committee and Commonwealth agencies to oversee experimental therapies such as Remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19.

“We’ve ensured our essential medicines and hand hygiene products were also in constant supply to all Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) staff and community members,” David said.

This year’s timely theme for World Pharmacist Day (25 September) is ‘Transforming Global Health’.