A win for Queensland patients
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-centred 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.
Under the Pilot, qualified community pharmacists will safely treat patients for everyday health conditions, like wound management, swimmer’s ear, nausea and vomiting, some skin conditions, and some chronic diseases.
Mr Xynias said the Pilot aims to supplement – not replace – existing primary healthcare services and give patients in Queensland timely access to the healthcare they need.
“The Pilot framework ensures collaboration between a patient, their pharmacist and their regular General Practitioner through active communication and referrals, meaning patients will have more options for getting timely access to treatment,” says Mr Xynias.
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.
To find out more about Queensland Community Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot go to https://pharmacyfullscope.com.au/qld/
Patients in North Queensland will be the first to experience these new treatments for everyday health conditions with occasions of service due to commence in March 2024.
Education and training for pharmacists outside North Queensland will commence in late 2023 and early 2024, with occasions of service delivered from 2025.