Friday, April 19, 2024

Pharmacies to ease pressure on GPs

The NSW Government has expanded the number of medications accessible through local pharmacies to ease pressure on patients who find it difficult to see a GP.  

The reform is set to expand the number of vaccinations pharmacists can administer, trial pharmacists prescribing medication for urinary tract infections, and develop a pilot for trained pharmacists to prescribe medications for a range of other conditions. 

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the proposed reforms aim to relieve pressure on emergency departments and wait times to see a GP by giving the community more access to primary care services. 

“By giving the community greater access to medications and vaccines through their local pharmacist, we are taking pressure off our hardworking GPs by giving them more time for patients with other medical issues,” Mr Perrottet said. 

As of 14 November, pharmacists are authorised to administer vaccines including Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis A and B, Poliomyelitis, Typhoid and Zoster. 

The pilot will allow appropriately trained pharmacists prescribe medications for conditions such as skin ailments, ear infections and hormonal contraception. 

Health Minister, Brad Hazzard said the trials were in step with pharmacist reforms being implemented in Queensland and would be open to pharmacists in NSW who undertook appropriate additional training. 

“While some in the primary care sector have firm views on the role of pharmacists, their positive contribution to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that they are able to deliver more for their communities,” Mr Hazzard said. 

“NSW Health will work with the pharmacy sector, and its regulators, to inform training to ensure we maintain high safety standards, while also providing the community with more convenience.” 

Minister for Women, Regional Health and Mental Health, Bronnie Taylor said the reforms will be transformational for healthcare in the regions, particularly for women. 

“Pharmacies are part of the fabric of our regional communities and empowering our trusted pharmacists to work their full scope of practice will be a gamechanger for so many,” Mrs Taylor said. 

“The NSW Government has heard loud and clear that the process of getting a script for things like a urinary tract infection or birth control must be made easier.” 

An expression of interest process for participation in the urinary tract infection trial commenced on 14 November.

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