The Emergency Locum Service Program aims to increase access to quality pharmacy services for rural Patients by improving and strengthening the pharmacy workforce in regional and remote areas of Australia.

The Emergency Locum Service provides support to Pharmacists in rural and remote areas through direct access to Pharmacist locums in emergency situations such as illness, bereavement, or family emergencies.

The service provides up to $2,500 (GST exclusive) to fund the travel costs of Pharmacist locums to attend a rural or remote Pharmacy, as well as 24-hour/seven-day access to emergency locum telephone services. The service aims to place a locum in any location in Australia within 24 hours, for a maximum of seven days.

This service is only available to rural Pharmacy owners in true emergencies; for example, the death of a Pharmacist, spouse or family member, or personal emergencies such as sickness or accident. The service is not available for holidays or other non-essential absences.

To be eligible, Pharmacies must be located in a rural or remote location, defined as Pharmacy Accessibility Remoteness Index of Australia(PhARIA) Category 2 to Category 6. The PhARIA index can be found on the PhARIA website.

Applicants can apply for funding under the Emergency Locum Service Program via the online form located here or by contacting the Emergency Locum Service on 1800 357 001.

The Emergency Locum Service provides up to $2,500 (GST exclusive) to cover all travel costs between the locum’s home and the location of the locum placement. The Pharmacy is responsible for the locum’s accommodation and wages.

Emergency Locum Service FAQ

  1. You can make an application for an emergency locum at the ELS Provider website or by telephone on 1800 357 001.

  2. A Pharmacy must be:

    • A Community Pharmacy
    • Located in a rural or remote location
    • Unable to undertake dispensing duties or to fully and effectively operate the Pharmacy due to an emergency situation.
  3. Eligible locations are classified as having a PhARIA rating between 2-6 inclusive. A full list of PhARIA locations is located here.

  4. An emergency situation is defined as:

    • The Pharmacist is unable to undertake dispensing duties or to fully and effectively operate the Pharmacy due to illness or injury.
    • A family emergency requires the Pharmacist to be present at an alternate location, or take action that renders themselves unavailable to undertake dispensing duties or to fully and effectively operate the Pharmacy. A family emergency is defined as:
      • Illness or injury to a member of immediate family
      • Illness or injury to a dependant relative
      • Bereavement due to a death of a member of immediate family.
  5. Funding is available up to $2,500 (GST exclusive) each time you use the ELS program. There is no limit to the amount of times you can access the Program each year.

  6. ELS placements are for a minimum of one day and a maximum of seven days.

  7. ELS can be contacted anytime 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  8. ELS funding is only intended to be used to contribute to the travel costs between the locum’s home and the Pharmacy location. Other costs such as locum wages, meals etc. will not be covered.

  9. No, locum placements are organised by the current ELS provider and the Program Rules stipulate that applicants must accept the locum provided to them.

  10. Under the terms of the ELS the rate is $60/hr + superannuation.

  11. Accommodation needs to be of a reasonable standard, e.g. a self-contained unit or hotel/motel/guesthouse.