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NSW pharmacy prescribing trial expands

Woman at the pharmacy handing prescription to pharmacist

More than 1000 pharmacies are now able to assess UTI treatments, with details of the clinical trial linked to the project yet to be published.

The NSW pharmacy prescribing trial has now expanded to more than 1000 pharmacies, following an initial, smaller scale pilot.

From Monday this week, participating pharmacies around the state have been able to assess and prescribe treatments for uncomplicated UTI infections for women aged 18–65 years, with NSW Health officials describing the initial phase as ‘successful’.

For the early trial, which launched in May, NSW Health Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said there were almost 900 consultations that took place in 94 participating pharmacies.

Last week, she confirmed the state government’s $3 million trial will expand.

‘This expansion of services … means more women with uncomplicated UTIs will be able to visit their nearest participating pharmacy and receive advice – and where appropriate – be dispensed medication for their UTI, and information provided to their usual GP to support integrated primary care,’ Dr Chant said.

As part of the project, the University of Newcastle is running a clinical trial to assess the impact of the pharmacy prescribing.

There will also be a separate study looking at the impact of the UTI trial on antimicrobial resistance.

As of 31 July, the details of the clinical trial were not publicly available on the Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR).

‘The UTI main trial has been registered with ANZCTR and we are waiting confirmation for it to be listed on the public register,’ a spokesperson for the university told newsGP.

For RACGP NSW&ACT Chair Professor Charlotte Hespe, GPs in the state ‘are well prepared’ for the trial’s expansion.

‘There have been GPs involved from the very beginning,’ she told newsGP.

‘It would be fair to say that a lot of the issues around the protocol and enrolment of patients have been ironed out so that it is fit for purpose in terms of providing us with a good framework to understand the safety … and the parts that might need to be improved into the future.

‘Our mantra has always been this has to be about high-quality, safe care delivered for patients in the appropriate place at the appropriate time, and not at any cost to the rest of the community.’

Professor Hespe said she feels the assessment of the trial will be looked at objectively.

‘It’s being independently analysed in terms of all of the outputs and the data,’ she said.

As well as the University of Newcastle, the University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, University of New England, Charles Sturt University, The George Institute for Global Health and the Hunter Medical Research Institute are also involved.

The George Institute for Global Health and the Hunter Medical Research Institute are due to evaluate the clinical and economic impact of the trial, with patient safety included as one of the success measures by the NSW Government.

Pharmacist Dr Sarah Dineen-Griffin from the University of Newcastle is the Chief Investigator for the trial and said the study so far showed pharmacists and GPs working collaboratively.

‘We look forward to the evaluation of the main 10-month study data, with now more than 1,000 pharmacies set to participate,’ she said.

The trial is expected to expand to include the resupply of certain oral contraceptive pills in September.
The NSW pharmacy prescribing study follows a controversial trial in Queensland, with several other states now also following a similar direction

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