26 September 2023

Pharmacists to pilot health care for a year

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Victoria’s pharmacists are to be allowed to provide treatment and advice for common conditions and basic health care needs under a 12-month pilot program.

Announcing the pilot, Minister for Health, Mary-Anne Thomas said legislation had been introduced to amend the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 allowing pharmacists to treat minor skin conditions and reissue oral contraceptives and medication for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) from October this year.

“Modelled on similar schemes in New South Wales and Queensland, participating pharmacist immunisers will also have their scope expanded to administer travel and other public health vaccines,” Ms Thomas said.

“Waiting around to see a GP for a straightforward issue – let alone one that bulk-bills – is a frustrating and stressful experience for many and the pilot is a simple way to increase affordable primary health care in the community, free up GPs to provide more complex care and reduce non-urgent presentations to our busy emergency departments,” she said.

“The design and implementation of the pilot will be guided by expert advisory and clinical groups representing consumers and the pharmacy and medical professions.”

Ms Thomas said the Victorian Budget 2023/24 allocated $20 million to establish the pilot, which would be evaluated and recommendations would help inform longer-term decision making around the role of community pharmacists.

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