QLD women can now access immediate treatment for UTI’s through community pharmacies

Queensland women will now be able to seek immediate advice and treatment, inclusive of the supply of antibiotics when appropriate, for uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) through their local community pharmacy. With one in two Australian women experiencing a UTI in their lifetime1, being able to receive early, convenient and effective treatment from their local participating community pharmacy is a huge advancement for women’s health.


The Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot – Queensland (UTIPP-Q) reached a key milestone today with the Queensland Government releasing the Drug Therapy Protocol – Pharmacist UTI Trial. The endorsed model of care enables eligible community pharmacists participating in the pilot to provide empirical treatment to non-pregnant women with acute uncomplicated cystitis, through the supply of antibiotics.


The Drug Therapy Protocol is another positive step forward for the historic pilot, which has already seen success with a large majority of community pharmacies to participate across Queensland.


The  Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) Queensland Branch Manager Chris Campbell said the quality and skill of pharmacists in Queensland has been clearly demonstrated and supported by the Queensland Department of Health with this pilot.


“This brings access to Queensland women a service already successful in other countries and is welcomed with the back drop of COVID19, a time when pharmacists have kept the doors open to provide quality primary healthcare to Queenslanders.”


Professor Lisa Nissen from QUT, Pilot and Consortium Lead said “this is another fantastic opportunity for pharmacists to increase their contribution to patient care in the community. We are looking forward to evaluating the outcomes.”


The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland, Branch President Adjunct Professor Trent Twomey thanked the Queensland Government for continuing to realise the value of community pharmacy in delivering accessible primary healthcare.


“Community  pharmacists stand prepared and waiting to increase their scope of practice and deliver more health services to Queenslanders. We have seen first-hand the importance of community pharmacy this year with consumers relying heavily on their trusted community pharmacy for healthcare advice and flu immunisation throughout the pandemic.”


“Pharmacists  complete a minimum five years of training as well as on-going, mandatory professional development and have specialist training prior to participating in the UTI Pilot3.”


Professor Twomey  said that community pharmacy is well placed to reduce unnecessary hospitalisations and strain on Government resources due to uncomplicated urinary tract infections, particularly in a time when we have seen the coronavirus pandemic impact many GP and hospital resources.

“Community  pharmacists are conveniently located across Queensland with extended opening hours and no appointments necessary. Most community pharmacies are located within 2.5km of Queenslanders, which ensures that women experiencing a UTI can be seen and treated immediately to avoid further complications that could result in hospitalisations.”


Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot – Queensland (UTIPP-Q): The Facts


1.  Following on from Recommendation Two in the 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry into Community Pharmacy, the Queensland Department of Health opened a tender for providers to develop and implement a pilot that will allow trained community pharmacists to provide appropriate treatment for uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).


2. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland and the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia is part of a consortium led by QUT which was successful in winning the tender for the pilot. The pilot framework, clinical protocol, ethics and software platforms have been developed.


3. The pilot will be open to non-pregnant women, aged 18-65 who are deemed to have an uncomplicated urinary tract infection. Men will not be eligible to be treated as part of the pilot as symptoms are not reflective of an uncomplicated urinary tract infection. The pilot will run for two years, from Friday 19 June.


4. The pilot is open to all Queensland pharmacies that are accredited through the Quality Care Pharmacy Program (QCPP).


5. Participating pharmacists have undergone additional mandatory training to assess, diagnose and offer appropriate treatment to patients as part of the pilot. The approved online CPD training is available through both the Guild and PSA Learning and Development platform.


6. Treatment options may include a supply of antibiotics (if appropriate). If, through the screening process, the patient is deemed to not have an uncomplicated urinary tract infection, their treatment options may include a referral to a GP for further investigation, as covered in the PSA Guidance for provision of antibiotics for acute uncomplicated cystitis in females (the practice standard).


7. There is a precedent for pharmacist prescribing regarding treatment of uncomplicated urinary tract infections in other OECD countries, including NZ and UK.


8. Community pharmacy is easily accessible. In capital cities, 97% of consumers are no further than 2.5km from a community pharmacy. In regional areas, 65% of people are within 2.5 km of a pharmacy.


9. Community pharmacies are the most frequently accessed and most accessible health destination, with over 456 million individual patient visits annually and the vast majority of pharmacies open after-hours, including weekends.


10.Pharmacists are one of the most trusted professions. Public opinion surveys have shown that 84% of adults trust the advice they receive from pharmacists.


11. Community pharmacists are accessible and understand this target demographic. At 30 September 2019, there were 32,035 registered pharmacists in Australia. 62.8% of pharmacists are women; and over 60% are under 40 years of age.


  1. AIHW data, Potentially preventable hospitalisations, 2017-18, Queensland. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/potentially-preventable-hospitalisations/data
  2. Kidney Health Australia Fact Sheet: https://kidney.org.au/cms_uploads/docs/urinary-tract-infections-fact-sheet.pdf
  3. All participating pharmacists are required to undertake mandatory training prior to administering the service. This education is independently accredited with a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accrediting organisation that adheres to the Australian Pharmacy Council’s (APC) Standards and Guidelines.

Media contact: PSA media: 0487 922 176