Tasmanian pharmacists to support palliative care at home

18 January 2024


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has partnered with the Tasmanian Government to help support palliative care patients stay at home and receive the care and medicines they need in a comfortable, familiar environment.

Announced by Health Minister Guy Barnett MP in Launceston today, the program supports community pharmacies across Tasmania to continuously stock essential palliative care medicines, ensuring these are available to patients across the state when needed.

PSA will deliver training in the provision of essential palliative care medicines for pharmacists and GPs as part of the program, ensuring the safe and quality use of medicines thanks to funding from the Tasmanian Department of Health.

PSA Tasmanian President David Peachey MPS said the joint approach demonstrated a commitment to improving palliative care for all Tasmanians.

“PSA is proud to be a part of this innovative program to improve services and support for palliative care patients within our community,” Mr Peachey said.

“Timely access to medicines to manage end of life symptoms is essential to a quality end of life journey for patients and their families. Palliative medications are needed within hours, not days, which is why it is so important that they are easily accessible within the community.

“Having more Tasmanian pharmacists educated and trained to supply palliative medicines means that we can make their safe and quality use more accessible to more people at the end of their lives,” Mr Peachey concluded.

PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS also welcomed the move, pointing to the growing role of pharmacists in palliative care following nation-wide consultation on the upcoming palliative care foundation training program.

“Upskilling local pharmacists in palliative care will increase the capacity of community palliative care teams, community pharmacists, and general practitioners to provide care to patients at the end of life,” she said.

“Pharmacists will increase collaboration and coordination of local palliative care services, reducing unnecessary hospital presentations.

“We look forward to evolving the support for pharmacists within the palliative care team as part of the ComPPaCT initiative,” Dr Sim concluded.

The pharmacist palliative care foundation training program will be available to all Australian registered pharmacists. More information and instruction on how to enrol will be communicated to PSA members in 2024.

Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Pharmacists relieved at reinstatement of expanded continued dispensing, but again call for it to be permanent

22 December 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the new Continued Dispensing Emergency Measure Determination issued by the Federal Government yesterday, supporting Australians affected by natural disasters and other emergencies.

The new determination allows pharmacists to provide patients with up to one month’s supply of 755 different Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines (up from 150 medicines) if they are unable to access their prescription or prescriber in an emergency situation. The determination takes immediate effect.

PSA National President Dr Fei Sim FPS welcomed the move but again urged the Federal Government to make it a permanent.

“While this decision is welcome relief for patients and pharmacists in disaster affected areas, PSA has long advocated for the permanent expansion of continued dispensing nation-wide,” Dr Sim said.

“Every time there is a disaster, the government extends or reinstates this measure. However, this always takes a few days, and leaves patients without access to their medicines when they need them most. It is time to make it permanent.

“Regulations should be in place to support the safe and effective use of medicines, not hinder it. It makes no sense these measures expire after each natural disaster passes.

“With the effects of climate change making natural disasters harsher and more frequent, we know that these threats will continue.

“Not all emergences are natural disasters. Whether it be bereavement, domestic violence, house fire or car crash, the sad reality is that people are suddenly separated from their medicine in other emergencies.

“Permanently expanding the medicines covered by continued dispensing arrangements is necessary to give Australians peace-of-mind that no matter what, they will always be able to access to the medicines they need,” Dr Sim concluded.


This measure was also recommended as part of PSA’s 2023-24 Federal Budget Submission. Find the full submission here.

WA women to have access to UTI care through pharmacists

4 August 2023


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the West Australian Government’s commitment to improving access to care for thousands of women suffering from urinary tract infections each year.


From today, 4 August 2023, pharmacists who have undergone specific training will be able to prescribe antibiotics for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) in patients aged 18 to 65 years old. The training is now available to all WA pharmacists.


PSA Western Australia President Kristian Ray welcomed the move, saying that patient’s access to care should be front of mind.


“Pharmacists are well positioned to play a greater role in primary health care and will make UTI treatments more accessible for more West Australians,” Mr Ray said.


“There are hundreds of thousands of women living in Western Australia that will benefit from this policy, particularly in rural and remote WA where there are significant barriers to accessing timely care.


“This program is about improving access to care where it is clinically appropriate, and working with the rest of the primary care team to promote a collaborative care model for Western Australians.


“There are robust referral pathways in place for patients who suffer from recurring UTIs, or might fall outside of the clinical inclusion criteria.


“As some of the most accessible healthcare professionals, pharmacists play a vital role in supporting the health and wellbeing of our communities.


“As pharmacists, we are committed to working collaboratively with the entire health sector to deliver best outcomes for patients.


“I am looking forward to working closely with the Government to ensure the success of the program, improving access to safe, timely care,” Mr Ray concluded.


The PSA training program Managing Uncomplicated Cystitis (Urinary Tract Infection) is now available to all WA pharmacists. More information is available here.


Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0480 099 798  E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au

Better access to medicines a huge win for NSW patients

13 November 2022


The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes today’s announcement from New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet, improving access to medicines and vaccines by expanding the scope of practice for NSW pharmacists.


The NSW Government has committed to a 12-month trial allowing pharmacists to prescribe medication for urinary tract infections (UTIs) similar to the program already trialled in Queensland, as well as a state-wide trial of pharmacist prescribing for oral contraceptives, and medication for ear infections and minor skin ailments.


Pharmacists will also be able to administer more vaccinations from Monday 14 November, including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV), Poliomyelitis, Typhoid, and Zoster vaccines.


PSA NSW President Chelsea Felkai said the move will improve access to medicines and vaccination for residents across NSW, helping to address current GP shortages.


“Giving patients across NSW greater access to vaccinations, contraception and medicines for minor ailments through local pharmacies will significantly improve access to healthcare, especially in regional and rural parts of the state,” Ms Felkai said.


“Trained Queensland pharmacists have been successfully prescribing for uncomplicated UTIs since 2020, giving patients timely access to medicines in an environment where it could otherwise take up to six weeks to get a GP appointment.


“Pharmacists have the skills and expertise to renew patient prescriptions for ongoing health concerns, especially where their chronic condition is stable, removing barriers to medicine access.


“As the most accessible healthcare professional, pharmacists should be able to offer patients renewals of their ongoing medications. Allowing pharmacists to renew prescriptions for oral contraceptives is the first step in giving patients greater access to medicines for stable but chronic conditions that have already been diagnosed.”


Ms Felkai said the community has demonstrated their confidence in pharmacist-administered vaccines throughout the pandemic, with pharmacists now firmly entrenched as part of Australia’s immuniser workforce:


“We share the concerns NSW Health has on the potential for Japanese Encephalitis outbreaks in regional NSW this summer. We are proud that pharmacists will be able to play their part in helping at-risk people protect themselves against this disease.


“While the world has re-opened to travel, the health system remains under significant pressure. Providing patients with more options to access travel vaccinations just makes sense.


“Pharmacists are trained and experienced immunisers. In community pharmacies alone, over 9 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, and that doesn’t to count the doses pharmacists have administered in hubs, general practices or aged care facilities.


“This is an important vote of confidence in pharmacists across NSW, in our skills and expertise as part of the primary healthcare team. We thank the NSW Government for their support and look forward to working with the NSW Government to implement these measures.

PSA National President, Dr Fei Sim, also commended the NSW Government on this announcement, and called on other jurisdictions to follow suit.


“PSA has been calling on governments around Australia to allow pharmacists to play a greater role in community health. It’s great to see NSW leading the way in improving patient access to medicines. Pharmacists have the skills and medicine expertise to renew prescriptions for stable, chronic conditions. With ongoing GP shortages across the country, it is time for other jurisdictions to follow NSW’s lead.



Media contact:   Georgia Clarke   M: 0410 505 315     E: georgia.clarke@psa.org.au