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: firstname.lastname@example.org