11 May 2023

​Women across NSW will be able to access treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections from community pharmacists from Monday, 15 May 2023, as the NSW Government’s statewide community pharmacy prescribing trial gets underway.

NSW Health Minister Ryan Park said around 100 community pharmacies across the state will participate in this first stage of the trial.

More community pharmacies across NSW will be included in the trial after the middle of the year, which may see more than 5,000 women provided care for their for urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the pharmacy setting.

“The NSW Government is committed to improving access to medicines,” Mr Park said.

“We want to ensure this is done so safely – and we are determined to get it right.

“That is why we are pleased to announce the details of this first phase of this state-wide trial.

“This will not only improve access to medications – but it will also alleviate the pressure on GPs and primary care services.

“We will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth Government on innovative models of care that makes healthcare more accessible for the community.”

Mr Park said under the trial, the NSW Government has committed to covering the $20 patient consultation rebate, even if no medicines are dispensed, meaning the only out-of-pocket costs for women seeking treatment should be for the medication they need.

Starting from July, the trial will also be extended to include the resupply of the oral contraceptive pill.

It will also expand up to 1,000 pharmacies, significantly increasing access to these important services for women right across the state.

You are eligible for UTI treatment at a participating pharmacy if you are:

  • Female
  • Aged between 18 to 65 years (inclusive)
  • Displaying symptoms consistent with an uncomplicated urinary tract infection.

From July 2023, you are eligible to receive a resupply of your oral contraceptive pill from a participating pharmacy if you are:

  • Aged between 18 to 35 years (inclusive)
  • Taking the pill for contraception purposes only
  • Prescribed a low-risk oral contraceptive pill in the last two years by a GP or nurse practitioner. (If this prescription has expired but was issued in the last two years you are still eligible).

The University of Newcastle-led consortium is working closely with GPs, infectious disease clinicians, pharmacists, rural clinicians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to deliver a clinical trial protocol that is safe for patients.

Pharmacist and lead researcher Dr Sarah Dineen-Griffin said the trial has been granted ethics approval and includes several safeguards to ensure that women needing care for UTIs are afforded safe, appropriate and timely access to treatment.

“This trial is about strengthening the health system as a whole, including collaboration and ensuring GPs are informed when their patient sees a pharmacist. Our research team is interested in providing robust evidence, particularly how this trial helps women living in regional and rural NSW to gain better access to the health care they need,” Dr Dineen-Griffin said.

David Heffernan, President of the Pharmacy Guild of NSW said the trial of pharmacist prescribing for UTIs is the first step in the wider reforms.

"These reforms acknowledge the important role pharmacists play in providing primary care services to the communities they serve. The opportunity to provide support to women needing this assistance will further strengthen these relationships,” Mr Heffernan said.

More information about the clinical trial and how community pharmacies can register their interest is available on the NSW Health website.