Community pharmacists across Ireland have been asked to consider asking patients with respiratory complaints to wait in their car while a prescription is filled out and to place a phone in consultation rooms in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Interim guidance which was issued by the HSE and Health Protection Surveillance Centre has asked pharmacists to consider how they can limit the exposure of other customers without causing “undue distress or embarrassment” to a potential patient.
Pharmacists have been asked to consider how they might rapidly identify and direct individuals who present with respiratory complaints and who ask for a consultation.
The advice says that consideration should be given to asking patients with respiratory tract infection to wait in their car while their prescription is being filled, if they travelled by car.
The advice also says that there should be a “clearly designated area” for consultations and that pharmacists should check if that area allows for a physical separation of one metre.
If a patient presents with a relevant travel history and coronavirus (also known as Covid-19) symptoms, there is provision being made for testing in the pharmacy by public health teams if the person cannot return home.
The information says “most patients who present to community pharmacists are unlikely to have the virus, however, it is essential that pharmacists maintain awareness of the up to date information on the epidemiology of Covid-19 in Ireland.”