Emergency After Hours Service

Australians are spoiled for choice when it comes to after-hours access at community pharmacies.

What makes them so accessible is their location and the extended opening hours that a great many pharmacies have. In fact, the vast majority of pharmacies are open after-hours, including on weekends.

There are 5,700 community pharmacies across Australia and these are the most frequently accessed health destination with more than 350 million patient visits annually.

Some 55 per cent of consumers shop at a pharmacy that is open seven days a week, with a further 32 per cent shopping at a pharmacy that is open Monday to Saturday, but which is closed on Sunday.

These are remarkable levels of access to a complex, professional service. And that service is speedy as well: 40 per cent of consumers estimate it generally takes five minutes or less for their prescription to be filled, with an additional 40 per cent waiting no more than 10 minutes.

Moreover, Australians typically have a choice of local pharmacies. Most Australians are in reasonably close proximity to competing pharmacies, with research finding that overall, 87 per cent of Australians are within 2.5km of a pharmacy.

When compared with medical centres, the benefits for consumers attending pharmacies are clear.

On average across Australia, close to three quarters (72 per cent) of pharmacies are still open on weekdays after the nearest Medical Centre (within 200 metres) has closed.

On weekends, 41 per of pharmacies are still open after the nearest medical centre has closed.

Conversely, just 9 per cent of medical centres are open after the nearest pharmacy has closed.  Outside of capital cities, 31 per cent of pharmacies are still open on weekends after the nearest medical centre has closed.

Also outside of capital cities, 88 per cent of pharmacies are still open on weekdays after the nearest medical centres (defined as 5km in regional cities) has closed.  On weekends, 85 per cent of pharmacies are still open after hours after the nearest medical centre has closed.

In contrast, just 22 per cent of medical centres are open after the nearest pharmacy has closed on weekdays. On weekends 25 per cent of medical centres are open after the nearest pharmacy has closed.

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