13 November 2022

The NSW Government is making it easier to access more medications through a local pharmacy to ease the pressure on patients who find it difficult to get an appointment with a GP. 

The landmark reform will expand the number of vaccinations pharmacists can administer, trial pharmacists prescribing medication for urinary tract infections and also develop a pilot for trained pharmacists to prescribe medications for a range of other conditions.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the proposed reforms aim to relieve pressure on emergency departments and wait times to see a GP, by giving the community more access to primary care services. 
 
“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,” Mr Perrottet said.
 
“We are stepping up to provide yet another innovative policy to improve the lives of people by offering more support for primary care.
 
“The Federal Government should be providing more support for GPs and a greater amount of free bulk-billing services but we can’t sit around and wait for them to catch-up and meet the growing demand.”
 
The NSW Government will increase the community’s access to primary care through:
  •  Authorising pharmacists to administer a wider range of  public health and travel vaccinations from 14 November 2022, including Japanese Encephalitis, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, Poliomyelitis, Typhoid and Zoster.
  • Funding a 12-month trial to evaluate allowing pharmacists to prescribe medication for urinary tract infections; and
  • Supporting  a state wide pilot where appropriately trained pharmacists can prescribe medications for certain conditions, such as skin ailments, ear infections, and hormonal contraception.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the trials were in step with pharmacist reforms being implemented in Queensland and would be open to pharmacists in NSW who undertook appropriate additional training. 

“While some in the primary care sector have firm views on the role of pharmacists, their positive contribution to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that they are able to deliver more for their communities,” Mr Hazzard said.

“NSW Health will work with the pharmacy sector, and its regulators, to inform training to ensure we maintain high safety standards, while also providing the community with more convenience.”

Minister for Women, Regional Health and Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said these reforms will be transformational for healthcare in the regions, particularly for women. 

“Pharmacies are part of the fabric of our regional communities and empowering our trusted pharmacists to work their full scope of practice will be a gamechanger for so many,” Mrs Taylor said. 

“The NSW Government has heard loud and clear that the process of getting a script for things like a urinary tract infection or birth control must be made easier. This reform delivers on that as well as eases the burden on our GPs.”

NSW Health will work with pharmacists to support the expansion of the vaccination program with education modules and materials for both themselves and their customers.

NSW pharmacists are currently able to administer six vaccines, including COVID-19 and influenza vaccines. 

An expression of interest process for participation in the urinary tract infection trial will commence on 14 November 2022.