Lara Torr supports the Bunbury Drive-In Chemist through COVID

Pharmacist Lara Torr with Pharmacy Assistants Catherine Hough and Jen Mosedale who created the new Webster-pak shelving system.
Pharmacist Lara Torr with Pharmacy Assistants Catherine Hough and Jen Mosedale who created the new Webster-pak shelving system.

A PHARMACY Manager's quick thinking and ability to adapt has brought about positive changes for the wider community.

Bunbury Drive-In Chemist Pharmacy Manager Lara Torr told the Mail that when the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, the industry wasn't prepared.

"People still didn't really think it was happening. I had people yelling at me saying what are you doing, there's no COVID in the South West. But there was," Ms Torr said.

Having started working at the chemist some 16 years ago, Ms Torr has been Pharmacy Manager at the chemist for the last three years.

She was instrumental in the decision to close the chemist in March 2020 and begin serving patients only through serving windows.

"I was communicating a lot with my cousin who works in the eastern states as a psychiatrist. I quickly realised that we needed to jump on this quicker than what industry advice we were receiving."

Now over one year later, the Bunbury Drive-In Chemist continues to succeed.

At the start of 2020, the chemist had just 60 patients receiving their medication in Webster-paks; a multi-dose administration aid that assists patients with taking their correct medication.

Through contracts with the South West Aboriginal Medical Service and Disability Support service Activ, that number has skyrocketed to 300.

"We started working with SWAMS in July last year. We now have a strong working relationship with them and are able to meet the expectations and needs of their Indigenous patients," Mrs Torr said.

Thanks to the success of the contract, the Drive-In Chemist began serving patients from Activ in January, who are a disability service supported by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Pharmacy Assistants Jen Mosedale and Catherine Hough were behind the team at the chemist that designed the new system to accommodate the influx in patients.

"Instead of having a customer with all their medications in pre-prepared basket for their Webster-pak, ours is a giant float that we pull each individual medication request from," Catherine Hough said.

Every medication in the designated shelving area has an assigned position making for the steady flow of Webster-pak creation.

Ms Torr added that it's the positive interactions her staff have with clients and friends that she's most proud of.

"Our rapid growth has also allowed our staff to play important roles in developing our systems, designing their work stations, creating teams and procedures and policies that ensure quality assurance."

She said the chemist was a lot more prepared if a lockdown should happen again.