VICTORIAN Minister for Health Jill Hennessy last week called for tenders for the next seven Supercare Pharmacies, which will open 24-hours-a-day, every day, with a nurse on site from 6pm to 10pm.
It follows the opening of the first five Supercare Pharmacies in July last year, where more than 30,000 visits have been made between 10pm and 7am to the pharmacies in Ascot Vale, Craigieburn, Wantirna South, Yarraville and Ballarat.
With increasing patient numbers, the Victorian Government is providing an additional $25.7 million to further support the initiative that will open a total of 20 Supercare Pharmacies across Victoria.
"Families now have another option instead of a late night dash to emergency with more than a quarter of people saying they would have gone to hospital had it not been for their new Supercare Pharmacy," Ms Hennessy said.
"Supercare Pharmacies also played an important role during the unprecedented thunderstorm asthma event late last year, with a surge in demand after hours more than three times greater than usual attendances on the evening of 21 November."
Supercare Pharmacies provide round-the-clock access to pharmacists for advice, supply of medicines and dispensing prescriptions. The 6pm to 10pm nurse provides face-to-face health advice and treatment for minor injuries or illness.
The free nursing service also assists with wound management, physical assessment, flu and whooping cough immunisations, health screening, sexual health advice and referrals to other services. These nurses have provided more than 1,700 episodes of care across the five sites since August.
The seven Supercare Pharmacies are expected to open in mid-2017, with the remaining eight to open in 2018.