Pharmacists in NSW will be permitted to prescribe medication without a general practitioner (GP), under a new trial commissioned by the state government.
This is part of new reforms for the state’s health system, which also allow pharmacists to administer a wider spate of vaccines directly to patients.
Here’s what you need to know.
The new measures
Starting today, pharmacists in NSW can administer additional vaccines to patients, including for Hepatitis A and B.
Prior to this, pharmacists could only administer six vaccines, including for COVID-19 and the flu.
In the same announcement, the NSW Government said it will support trials that allow pharmacists to prescribe some medications without consultation from a GP. This would include medicine for urinary tract infections and skin conditions.
This trial will only be open to pharmacists who undertake education programs before the trial starts.
Patients previously needed the participation of a GP to access these vaccines and medications.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the reforms would provide patients with more avenues to access healthcare.
“By giving the community greater access to medications and vaccines through their local pharmacist, we are taking pressure off our hardworking GPs by giving them more time for patients with other medical issues.”
The NSW branch of the AMA supported measures allowing greater access to vaccines, but opposed pharmacists being allowed to prescribe medication.
They said this would undermine patient safety and create a conflict of interest for pharmacists.
The AMA said the measures introduced in NSW would contribute to the “collapse” of general practice.
A pilot program giving pharmacists the authority to prescribe medication and administer more vaccines was announced in Queensland earlier this year.
It came after a report in 2020 from the Queensland Government and the Federal Government’s Productivity Commission found that giving pharmacists greater powers could improve healthcare access and limit workforce pressures in the medical industry.