Emergency Locum Service
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. For more information on participation and eligibility requirements, please refer to the Program Rules in the section below.
To be eligible, Pharmacies must be located in a rural or remote location, defined as a Modified Monash Category MM3 – MM7, according to the Modified Monash Model (MMM). Your pharmacy’s MM Category can be viewed on the Australian Government’s Health Workforce Locator website.
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.
Modified Monash Model (MMM) FAQ
What is the Modified Monash Model?ExpandClose
The MMM is a geographical classification that categorises different areas in Australia into seven remoteness categories. It was developed to better target health workforce programs to attract health professionals to more remote and smaller communities. The MMM classifies metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to geographical remoteness, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and town size.
For further information, please refer to the MMM factsheet at https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/modified-monash-model-fact-sheet
Why is ELS transitioning from the PhARIA rural classification system to the Modified Monash Model (MMM) rural classification system?ExpandClose
In 2015, the Department of Health introduced the MMM classification system as it better targets health workforce programs by categorising metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas according to both geographical remoteness, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and town size.
The Department of Health began transitioning Commonwealth health programs to the new MMM classification system from 1 January 2020.
The decision to adopt the use of the MMM for the ELS program from 1 July 2021 to ensure greater support for regional, rural and remote pharmacies was made by the Department of Health in conjunction with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Further information on the MMM rural classification system can be found here: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/2019/12/modified-monash-model—fact-sheet.pdf
How is the Modified Monash Model (MMM) calculated?ExpandClose
The MMM 2019 was updated on 1 July 2019 and is calculated using the latest available Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016) Census data and geographic information. The MMM measures remoteness and population size on a scale of Modified Monash (MM) category MM1 to MM7. MM1 is a major city and MM7 is very remote.
What MM categories are eligible for the ELS Program?ExpandClose
From 1 July 2021, Pharmacies located in MM categories 3 to 7 are permitted to access the ELS.
How do I find out what MM category my Pharmacy is located in?ExpandClose
Your pharmacy’s MM category can be viewed on the Australian Government’s Health Workforce Locator website: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/health-workforce-locator/health-workforce-locator.
Click on the MMM tickbox in the Classification Filter, type in your Pharmacy’s address and click Search Location. Your MM category will be displayed underneath your address and also on the map.
I want to change my pharmacy’s MM category. Can I do this?ExpandClose
No. A pharmacy’s MM category cannot be changed.
How often do MM categories get updated?ExpandClose
The MMM is updated after each Census. The 2015 MMM was derived from 2011 ABS Census data.
The current MMM was updated in 2019 using 2016 ABS Census data and geography information.
The next ABS Census is in August 2021. The MMM will therefore be updated sometime after the 2021 Census. A specific date cannot be provided at this stage.
Emergency Locum Service FAQ
I am/our pharmacist is self-isolating for 14 days, can the ELS program be extended to cover this whole period?ExpandClose
The Department has advised that in the event that a pharmacist is:
- Isolating themselves at home on the advice of a medical practitioner, for confirmed COVID-19; or
- Meeting the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection after consultation with either the national COVID-19 hotline, state COVID-19 hotlines, a registered medical or nursing practitioner or COVID-19 trained health clinic triage staff
Then the maximum placement duration is extended to 14 consecutive days.
How do I apply for an emergency locum?ExpandClose
You can make an application for an emergency locum at the ELS Provider website (http://www.emergencylocumservice.com.au) or by telephone on 1800 991 541
Who is eligible to apply for an emergency locum?ExpandClose
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.
What classifies as a rural or remote area?ExpandClose
Eligible locations are classified as having a MM Category of MM3 – MM7. Your pharmacy’s MM Category can be viewed on the Australian Government’s Health Workforce Locator website.
What classifies as an emergency situation?ExpandClose
An emergency situation is defined as any situation that means the Pharmacist is unable to undertake dispensing duties or fully operate the Pharmacy, with little or no notice, that arises due to:
– Illness or injury
– The need to seek urgent medical care or treatment
– A family emergency involving:
~Illness or injury of an immediate family member or dependent relative.
~Bereavement due to a death of a member of immediate family.
I have to travel to the city for a medical appointment in in a week’s time, can I use the ELS to obtain a locum to cover my absence for this appointment?ExpandClose
No, the ELS can only be used where there is little or no notice of your required absence and is only designed to cover circumstances where you require urgent medical care or treatment.
What classifies as valid supporting documentation?ExpandClose
Valid forms of supporting documentation include:
– A medical certificate, preferred in emergency situations due to unforeseen illness;
– A Death certificate; or
– A Commonwealth statutory declaration for all other emergency situations. Please note a statutory declaration must not be made before a Pharmacist employed by the applicant’s Pharmacy.
Note: A Pharmacist will have 30 days in which to provide valid supporting documentation. If a Pharmacist fails to provide this documentation with 30 days of the emergency situation, the Pharmacist will be responsible for repaying the full amount that was provided to assist with the travel costs of the locum pharmacist.
How much funding is available under the ELS Program?ExpandClose
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. However, the ELS Program is limited on the basis of available funds. Lodging an application does not guarantee access to the ELS Program. Consequently, Community Pharmacies satisfying the Eligibility Criteria will not necessarily receive access to the ELS Program.
How long can I have a locum under the Program?ExpandClose
ELS placements are for a minimum of one day and a maximum of seven days. If a pharmacist has a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection, please refer to FAQ 1.
What are the opening hours for ELS?ExpandClose
ELS can be contacted anytime 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What can I use the funding from ELS to pay for?ExpandClose
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, accommodation, meals etc. will not be covered.
Do I have input into which locum is placed at my Pharmacy?ExpandClose
No, locum placements are organised by the current ELS provider and the Program Rules stipulate that applicants must accept the locum provided to them.
What sort of accommodation do I need to provide the locum?ExpandClose
Accommodation needs to be of a reasonable standard, e.g. a self-contained unit or hotel/motel/guesthouse.