Making a significant contribution to our healthcare system, pharmacists are the medication experts who ensure our patients receive the right dose of the right drug.
World Pharmacists Day is this Saturday, 25 September, with pharmacists from across Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) expressing pride, passion and excitement for their work – the importance of which has been highlighted during a difficult year.
“COVID has changed the way we work, but it continues to be a streamlined process between the pharmacy team, clinicians and patients,” said Fatima Small, director of Pharmacy at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals.
“The staff have been working tirelessly within the intensive care unit, emergency department and infectious diseases teams to provide specialist advice, clinical reviews and care for our COVID-19 patients.
“It humbles me to see all of our staff so willing to work across the diverse teams at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals – educating clinicians and patients about the correct and safe use of medicines and raising awareness of the services which our department offers.”
Pharmacists are an integral part of any hospital, especially in the emergency department, cardiology unit, ICU, and mental health wards and, more recently, COVID vaccination centres where vaccine recipients often have a complex array of multiple medications.
Director of Pharmacy at Westmead Hospital David Ng said that pharmacists have stepped up to meet the many challenges in helping to deliver the best care for our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In February, our pharmacists helped lead the way in working with state-wide procedures and workflows in establishing one of the first COVID-19 vaccination hubs in NSW at Westmead Hospital,” said David.
“We provided expert advice on cold chain management, logistics and vaccine handling, as well as supporting the Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre.
The pharmacy teams across western Sydney provide expert advice and leadership on all matters relating to medication safety.
They facilitate clinical and medication reviews, provide education to our inpatients and outpatients and support our multi-disciplinary teams to ensure quality use of medicines.
With each day being filled with different challenges and opportunities, pharmacist at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals Chin-Yen Yeo said medication safety is always at the forefront of their minds.
“Pharmacists are always working diligently in the background,” the antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist said.
“Medication is such a vital role of healthcare, and it must be done correctly every single time. If something goes wrong, it can be the difference between life or death.”
Fatima Small reflected that whilst most of their work occurs within hospital walls, continuity of care for patients is also an essential part of pharmacists’ role.
“We want to make sure every patient leaves hospital empowered and knowing more about their medications than when they came in. Ensuring that they can access their required medication at their local pharmacy or GP and ensuring they are fully equipped with medication knowledge is essential!
“I am so proud of the team at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospital. They are so resilient. I truly believe they hidden heroes of our hospital.”