New South Wales pharmacists will prescribe pills and antibiotics and repeat scripts during major health system changes

Huge changes in chemists and pharmacists start prescribing hundreds of drugs to relieve overwhelmed GPs

  • With a shortage of doctors, a state will allow pharmacists to prescribe drugs
  • The public will be able to obtain private consultations with a pharmacist, for a fee
  • A state premier says the federal government should do more to help

Pharmacists will soon be allowed to prescribe hundreds of drugs to relieve pressure on overwhelmed GP clinics.

With a growing shortage of GPs in Australia, pharmacists in NSW will be able to prescribe antibiotics, birth control pills and refill prescriptions.

Pharmacies will also administer more public health and travel vaccinations when the program begins on Monday.

Under future NSW government plans, the public will be allowed to get a private consultation with a pharmacist – costing $20 to $30 – who can then prescribe medication.

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet said the federal government should provide more support for GPs and more free bulk billing services.

Pharmacists will soon be able to prescribe certain drugs. Pictured is a pharmacist talking to a customer

“We can’t sit back and wait for them to catch up and meet the growing demand,” he said..

The second stage will be a year-long trial where pharmacists will be allowed to prescribe drugs for conditions such as urinary tract infections.

The third stage would involve a pilot program across NSW where pharmacists could prescribe drugs for conditions such as gastro, allergies, shingles and acne.

Mr Perrottet said giving the community better access to medicines and vaccines through pharmacies would reduce pressure on GPs.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the trials would be similar to changes in medical care in Queensland and would be open to pharmacists after undergoing additional training.

“The positive contribution (of pharmacists) to the management of the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that they are able to do more for their communities,” he said.

Mr Hazzard said NSW Health would ensure high safety standards were maintained.

Minister for Women, Regional Health and Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the NSW changes will transform healthcare in the regions, especially for women.

“Pharmacies are part of the fabric of our regional communities and empowering our trusted pharmacists to perform their full scope of practice will be a game changer for so many people,” she said.

There will be a $20 to $30 fee to get a private consultation with a pharmacist.  In the photo, a pharmacist chooses prescription drugs

There will be a $20 to $30 fee to get a private consultation with a pharmacist. In the photo, a pharmacist chooses prescription drugs

“The NSW Government has heard loud and clear that the process of getting a script for things like a urinary tract infection or birth control needs to be made easier. This reform takes this into account and lightens the burden on our general practitioners.

NSW Health will work with pharmacists to support the expansion of the vaccination program with educational modules and materials for themselves and their customers.

Pharmacists in NSW are currently able to administer six vaccines, including for Covid-19 and flu.

Expressions of interest for participation in the urinary tract infection trial open on Monday, with the trial starting in February.

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) called NSW’s move ‘madness’ and a ‘recipe for disaster’.

“This is not a solution for patients, this is a solution for the pharmacy lobby,” said RACGP President Karen Price.

Advertising

About Terry Gongora

Check Also

Doctor acquitted of rape faces suspension for overprescribing drugs and inappropriate patient records

SINGAPORE: A doctor who was acquitted of rape and sexual assault after a high-profile trial, …