Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman MP has announced that the North Queensland Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot will be expanded statewide, allowing pharmacists to administer a wider range of vaccines and prescribe medicines for common health conditions.
Minister Fentiman confirmed that participating pharmacists will be able to administer more types of vaccines, and prescribe treatments such as:
- The oral contraceptive pill
- Asthma medication
- Nausea and vomiting medication
- Nasal congestion and runny nose medication
- Mild skin condition treatments
- Some heart disease risk reduction
- Support to quit smoking
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s (PSA’s) Queensland President Shane MacDonald MPS welcomed the announcement.
“Pharmacists in Queensland are an integral part of the primary healthcare system, providing a range of services and access to care for all communities.
“The Minister’s announcement is a welcome step toward improving access to care for patients around the state and allowing for a greater number of Queensland pharmacists to practise to their top of scope.
“All Queenslanders will benefit from being able to access timely, quality care from their local pharmacist.
“Queensland has often led the nation on pharmacist scope of practice. Other jurisdictions are watching the results of trials here in Queensland and following suit.” says Mr Macdonald MPS.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch Acting President Rick Xynias congratulated the Queensland Government on announcing the expansion of the Community Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot statewide.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates that Queensland is leading the way for community pharmacists to practice to their full scope of practice, which demonstrates the latent potential of community pharmacists playing a larger role within Queensland’s primary healthcare network.
“The Queensland-wide Pilot follows the successful North-Queensland Community Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot, which was announced in October 2022 by the Palaszczuk Government. The North Queensland Pilot came off the back of the patient-centered and successful Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy trial – Queensland (UTIPP-Q), which became permanent in July 2022 for all Queensland women.
“Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Fentiman have shown great foresight and a true commitment to improving patients’ healthcare options with the expansion of the Pilot as more qualified community pharmacists will be available to safely treat everyday health conditions for all Queenslanders.
“Today’s announcement will give patients what they deserve – timely access to safe treatments for everyday health conditions by properly trained and qualified community pharmacists,” says Mr Xynias.
Community pharmacists taking part in the statewide Pilot will be required to complete up to 12-months of postgraduate education and training, which is currently used by other health professionals learning to prescribe medicines. This practical training is in addition to a four-year undergraduate university degree and a one-year internship already completed to become a registered pharmacist.
National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Professor Trent Twomey says the Pilot will take pressure off overstretched Emergency Departments, which means better health outcomes across the healthcare system.
“We know, based on hospital data, many presentations to hospital emergency departments are for minor conditions that a community pharmacist can treat.
“As a participant in the Pilot, alongside hundreds of committed community pharmacists in the North Queensland Pilot region, we are completing tertiary-level education and practical training to provide patients with access to safe healthcare treatment and services.
“Thanks to today’s announcement, fewer Queenslanders will need to wait longer than recommended to receive the care they need. This Pilot means all Queenslanders will be able to choose to get the care they need from their local community pharmacy.
“Once occasions of service commence, General Practitioners will have greater capacity to offer longer appointments to see their patients with more complex needs, including offering patients longer consultations.
“This announcement of a statewide Pilot brings Queensland pharmacists in line with community pharmacists in other locations like parts of Canada, Wales, England and New Zealand,” says Professor Twomey.