Pharmacies get new role in asthma emergencies

Pharmacies will play a central role in any future asthma surges in Victoria.

Triple zero operators will no longer tell emergency patients an ambulance is on the way if there are not enough ambulances to meet demand.

Instead patients will be advised to seek alternative medical assistance – which could include going to the nearest pharmacy, a hospital or a GP.

Pharmacies will be alerted to future asthma surges by an app that is being developed by the Victorian branch of the Pharmacy Guild.

The new strategies were flagged in the final report on last year’s asthma thunderstorm in Victoria , which claimed nine lives.

It highlights the “significant role” pharmacists played on the night.

They had little knowledge of what was going on but stayed open later than usual to provide advice and medication to patients.

Pharmacists also contacted each other to