Pharmacists and doctors working together during COVID-19

Helen Cant, our Pharmacist of the Year 2018, shares how her team are managing medication distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Here in Tokoroa we have had a real team approach to medication distribution. We organised a script prioritisation so that prescribers identify which scripts are urgent and which are routine and annotate the scripts. Urgent are done same-day, routine are 3 days. We will try to keep this system going long term.”

Pharmacists and GPs in Tokoroa have been working together to try and meet the overwhelming public demand for medicines.

“To help manage the overwhelming demand one of our local GP practices volunteered to free up a GP last Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to help at one of the local pharmacies. He and I sorted dispensed prescriptions into alphabetically labelled cardboard boxes, and he also helped identify who was waiting outside, both to free up pharmacy staff, and because he had PPE gear.”
“He was horrified at the realities of life in pharmacy including that PPE gear was not made available to pharmacies in a timely way. That practice now says every medical practice should “adopt a pharmacy” because they recognise that pharmacy staff are at least as at risk as staff in GP practices, if not more so. They have now included the pharmacy in their daily meeting to optimise communication and ensure pharmacy staff are as safe as possible.”

We encourage other pharmacists to share their experiences and their solutions to dealing with COVID-19 by emailing us on