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Pharmacist role expansion

Pharmacist serving customer

Victorians will soon have access to quicker and more convenient treatment options, with the role of community pharmacists expanding.

The state parliament passed legislation on August 3, for a pilot to give Victorians more options to access treatment and advice for common conditions and basic healthcare needs from October.

Amendments to the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 passed and means pharmacists will soon be able to treat minor skin conditions, reissue oral contraceptives, and supply medication for uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas said the pilot will help Victorians get timely and important health care.

“This pilot will test an expanded role for community pharmacists and will help Victorians struggling to get an appointment with a [general practitioner],” Ms Thomas said. 

“Timely care is so important, even for basic health conditions, and this trial will explore the effectiveness of expanding the range of care pharmacists can offer to help Victorians access the care they need, when they need it.”

The pilot will also allow participating pharmacists to provide a range of travel and other public health vaccines.

The state government said pharmacist prescribing is already a well-established practice internationally, and evidence shows it can be a safe and effective way to give people basic healthcare when they need it.

All stages of the pilot are being guided by expert advisory and clinical groups, representing consumers and the pharmacy and medical professions.

Community pharmacists can participate in the pilot through an opt-in EOI process and will have to meet certain conditions before they can start providing services.

This will include mandatory training and an assessment of the facilities available at the pharmacy.

The 12-month pilot will be evaluated with recommendations provided to government to help inform longer-term decision making around the prescribing role of community pharmacists.

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Source Star Weekly

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