Hazard allowance and tax holiday for essential healthcare workers

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Pharmacists and pharmacy staff are real oxygen for treating the patients, without them a single pill cannot reach the patients either in hospital or in community pharmacy settings. While most doctors are consulting online through telehealth and have closed their doors, we remain open and work at frontline. We cannot work from home. It is a very difficult time and it seems like we are forgotten healthcare professionals and completely sidelined by the general public, media and Government.

We are working very hard behind the scenes to make sure each patient under our care gets timely supply of their medicines. We are still offering medication, device counselling, education to the patients to practise good personal hygiene and social distancing. We are always bombarded by consumers for masks, sanitisers and other enquiries. Never to forget a typical pharmacist see 150 to 220 patients in one shift, making a workload of two minutes per prescription item. In these two minutes we must do all the legal, clinical and ethical checks in addition to medicine dispensing and counselling the patient. Since we encounter patients directly, and wouldn’t know whether they have Covid-19 infection, especially those who are asymptomatic, with the only available PPE (a three-ply mask, which is not enough to protect us), infection hazard in such situation increases for us and the chances of transmitting the infection to our family members also increases. Additionally, we are now facing lot of rude angry customers when we cannot fulfil their request either due to shortage of medicines or fear of stockpiling. We have been abused, punched, spat on, and even had medicine bottles thrown at us.

While we appreciate that Government is protecting those that have lost their jobs since the very beginning of this pandemic, increasing payments of others, giving supports where available, the Government is forgetting pharmacists and pharmacy workers who must have to turn up to work at front line to potentially save the lives of others. Therefore, pharmacy healthcare workers should get hazard allowance and tax-free income during the Covid-19 crisis. We have 32412 registered pharmacists in Australia and 3 to 4 times pharmacy staff including student pharmacist, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants making a healthcare workforce of approximately 100K.

Therefore, I request my fellow pharmacists including pharmacy owners, pharmacy staff, their families, other healthcare workers, patients and consumers to sign this petition with your valuable comments.

PLEASE SIGN AT BOTH LINKS AND SHARE TO MAKE OTHERS AWARE 

Sign the petition before the House of Representatives here 

Sign the petition on Change.org here

References:

https://ajp.com.au/news/i-am-putting-my-life-at-risk-every-single-day/

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/20/pharmacists-abused-by-customers-who-have-turned-into-animals-over-medicine-limits

https://www.smh.com.au/national/on-coronavirus-frontline-pharmacists-face-assault-abuse-and-threats-20200401-p54fwl.html

https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/coronavirus-australia-pharmacists-spat-on-abused-over-covid19-panic-buying/news-story/f90c8f6d37b27a4fbba7dbe898407e46

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-07/nsw-regional-pharmacist-abused-spat-on-during-coronavirus-crisis/12129124

https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/pharmacists-cop-abuse-and-death-threats-amid-coronavirus-pandemic 

Article from USA where they give tax holiday

https://www.pharmacist.com/article/apha-coronavirus-watch-pharmacists-added-federal-tax-holiday-legislation?fbclid=IwAR3JJmUAlTy2Rm4tARm8A-uzQx-D9Nq5OXZUUqSHULYKFQR4K1BNjHylDvU