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QUT Pharmacists offer bushfire support

First published 3 February 2020

Professor Greg Kyle, Head of Discipline for Pharmacy in the School of Clinical Sciences, leads an effort to support fellow pharmacists and their clients who are suffering from the bushfire crisis.

Professor Kyle developed a proposal endorsed by the Faculty of Health, which would see registered pharmacist academics volunteering to provide temporary locum relief for the pharmacists affected by fires in rural areas of southern New South Wales.

The initiative, which is designed for delivery in collaboration with the New South Wales Pharmacy Guild, has funding support by the Faculty of Health, through full pay for special leave, and its volunteer pharmacist academics, who would meet their own travel costs. No fees would be charged for the locum services, which would provide continuity of pharmaceutical services to clients while providing crucial relief to pharmacists who could attend to personal and family needs. Should pharmacists take advantage of this support, the Guild would allocate volunteering pharmacist academics to locations based on greatest need.

When formulating his proposal, Professor Kyle identified southern New South Wales as a key location to receive support, given its high density of pharmacies in bushfire ravaged zones.

Professor Kyle’s initiative was promoted by the Council of Pharmacy Schools of Australia and New Zealand as an exemplar of support efforts occurring across the pharmaceutical academic community to the profession’s major professional bodies and its membership base.

The proposal was warmly received by the Guild; however, local pharmacist owners have so far preferred to remain in their pharmacies to directly support their communities. 

Pharmacists are community-orientated by trade, working in partnership with prescribing physicians, allied health professionals and clients, who rely on pharmacists’ expertise and relational conduct to ensure successful pharmaceutical interventions. Developing strong relationships within the local community is paramount to a pharmacist’s ability to effectively serve its members.

Professor Kyle said, “The Guild contacted pharmacy owners and urged them to recognise the mental health issues that can stem from an event such as the fires, and to take some time for themselves. “

 “Before returning to study for two higher degrees (Master of Clinical Pharmacy and PhD), I was a pharmacy owner in a rural community (Qld), so I understand the pressures of pharmacy ownership in small communities.”, Professor Kyle said.

Professor Kyle and his wife moved to Brisbane from Canberra in 2016 to take up his role as Head of Discipline for Pharmacy. “We continue to watch the fire situation keenly and the devastation has affected us deeply. We still have friends in the areas affected.”

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Many people need help in times of crisis, such as the Australian bushfires. Reach out for support if you need it.

If you are in an emergency, or at imminent risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000.

To talk to someone now, call:

Adults can reach support services at:

  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

Children and young people can reach support services:

  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
  • Headspace 1800 650 890

To access online resources: