Health access to change

Community pharmacists will be able to provide treatment and advice for a range of common conditions under a new state government 12-month pilot program. 

Services include advice or treatment for women with uncomplicated urinary tract infections or a resupply of their existing contraceptive pill without needing a prescription – with a broader public health vaccination offering, travel health consultations and treatment for mild skin conditions. 

About 400 pharmacies across the state have signed up for the pilot, with another 200 set to join the program. 

Participating pharmacies in the Macedon Ranges area include: Priceline Pharmacy Gisborne, Gisborne’s Hardy’S UFS Pharmacy Kyneton Terry White Chemmart, Malmsbury Pharmacy, Riddells Creek Pharmacy, Romsey Pharmacy, Trentham Pharmacy, and Woodend’s Terrywhite Chemmart. 

Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas and Premier Jacinta Allan recently launched the pilot program in Gisborne. 

“Our pharmacists are already a trusted source for many Victorians – this pilot will expand their role providing more options for people needing quick medical advice for common ailments,” Ms Allen said. 

Victorians won’t be charged for a pharmacy consultation for UTIs, mild skin conditions or a resupply of the contraceptive pill – pharmacies may charge a fee for a travel health consultation and vaccinations, while the cost of medication will remain the same as a prescription from a GP. Ms Thomas said Victorians were eager for accessible and affordable primary care. 

“With pharmacy consultation and prescribing already commonplace in many countries, we know it can provide a safe and affordable alternative for Victorians, while freeing up GPs for those with more urgent needs,” she said. 

To be eligible to participate, all pharmacists are required to successfully complete mandatory training in the piloted services and demonstrate they are well equipped to know if someone should be referred to a GP or hospital. They must also prove they have the appropriate facilities within the pharmacy, like a private consulting room. 

The pilot is being guided by expert advisory and clinical groups representing Victorians and the pharmacy and medical professions, including the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, and Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation. 

At its conclusion, the pilot will be evaluated, and any recommendations will help inform longer-term decision making around the role of community pharmacists.