Victorian Community Pharmacy Pilot expands

The Victorian Government has announced it will allow participating community pharmacies to treat mild psoriasis or shingles from early March as part of its Community Pharmacy Pilot.

New data has revealed that 3,700 Victorians have accessed care at a pharmacy since the start of the pilot. The pilot showed that around 2,000 women sought care and antibiotics for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs). With an additional 1300 women going to their local pharmacy for a script refill for their oral contraceptive pill.

To participate, all pharmacists must complete mandatory training and demonstrate they know when someone should be referred to a GP or hospital. They must also have appropriate consulting facilities within the pharmacy.

The pilot is guided by experts and clinical groups representing the pharmacy and medical professions. At its conclusion, the pilot will be evaluated, and any recommendations will inform longer-term decision-making.

There is no charge for patients to see a participating pharmacist to receive care under the pilot. If medications are required, the cost to the patient would be no more than if they had received prescription from a GP.

Premier Jacinta Allan said, “It just makes sense to be able to pop down to your local pharmacy to get treatment for everyday conditions and basic health care needs, and our pilot program is helping thousands of women do just that.”

The Pharmacy Guild has welcomed the announcement, “The addition of shingles and the flare-up of mild plaque psoriasis to the pilot will provide patients with the option to visit their trusted local community pharmacist to receive a wider range of treatment,” said Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Victorian Branch President Anthony Tassone.

“The Victorian pharmacist prescribing pilot has already helped thousands of patients who have visited their local community pharmacy to receive treatment for conditions such as uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs), the repeat supply of oral contraceptives and travel health.”

“This is a clear demonstration of the trust that patients have in highly trained community pharmacists to provide safe, timely and quality care for everyday conditions and healthcare needs,” Mr Tassone said.

“For conditions such as shingles and UTIs, the timely provision of treatment is vital to relieve painful symptoms and mitigate against further complications. Appropriately trained community pharmacists are well equipped to provide this care to patients when and where they need it,” Mr Tassone said.

“The Victorian pharmacist prescribing pilot is a win for patients as well as practical step to relieve pressure on our overstretched GPs and emergency departments.”



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