Media Release 16/11/2022

What are we waiting for

Initiatives to allow pharmacists in Queensland and NSW to perform a wide range of services within their scope of practice is welcomed and should be replicated across all jurisdictions in Australia, the Australian Patients Association (APA) says.

The Chief Executive Officer of the APA, Stephen Mason, said that APA research had shown patients overwhelmingly endorsed pharmacists providing more services.

“The health system is under enormous pressure at the moment and GPs and emergency departments are stretched to breaking points,” he said.

“Something has to be done to ease the workload on GPs and allowing pharmacists to work to their full scope is a pragmatic and sensible way to help GPs and the health system – and most importantly, help patients.

“Patients are concerned about not only the increasing waiting times to see a GP but the increased ‘out-of-pocket costs’ to see a GP.

“Following the lead of Queensland and NSW is a solution that is waiting to be enacted.”

Mr Mason said that community pharmacists had shown they were qualified and equipped to provide extra services.

“A trial UTI service in Queensland, which has just been made permanent, saw 9000 women – who could not get in to see their GP – treated at pharmacies,” he said.

“And 1000 of these women said they would have gone to an emergency department if they had not been able to receive the help and medicines at a pharmacy.

“And during the height of the COVID-19 crisis in July last year, community pharmacists were brought into the vaccination rollout and since then have delivered more than 9 million doses nationally.

“The skills and training pharmacists have is national and so these initiatives which help patients must be implemented nationally.

“It’s good policy, good for the health system and good for patients.

“What are we waiting for?”

For further information contact: Stephen Mason Ph: 0408 944 859