three-day supply of prescription medicines that can be issued in emergencies has
been extended to allow community pharmacists to supply larger quantities of
most prescription-only medicines to patients without a prescription.
Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said those in a bushfire-affected area
who don’t have access to their medicine or prescription, can call their GP and
ask them to send a prescription to a nearby pharmacist.
“If you can’t contact your GP, you can go to a
local pharmacy to get an emergency supply of most medicines without a
prescription. Only certain medicines, such as benzodiazepines and opioids, will
still require a prescription,” Dr Chant said.
“Communities can also be assured that pharmacists
are continuing to supply most medicines to carers on behalf of a patient, including
inhalers used to treat asthma.”
These special arrangements for the emergency supply
of medicines to patients in areas affected by the NSW bushfires are in place
until 31 March 2020.
NSW Health is also supplying free disposable P2/N95
face masks to communities via pharmacies in bushfire-affected local health
districts. Community members are advised to ring ahead to ensure stock is
Free face masks are also available in evacuation
centres and health facilities.
P2 masks are not suitable for everyone and not recommended for general
use. People with pre-existing heart and lung conditions should consult their
doctor before using P2 masks.
Dr Chant said the masks can be useful for people who have to work
outside in very smoky conditions, or when returning to bush fire affected
“For these masks to be effective, it’s important
they are fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions and form a tight
seal around the face,” Dr Chant said.
“The best way to protect yourself from bushfire smoke and poor air
quality is to reduce your exposure by staying indoors with windows and doors
closed, and to avoid outdoor exercise.”