Thousands of women are set to benefit from timely access to assessment and treatment for urinary tract infections at almost 1,000 participating pharmacies across the state, starting Monday 31 July.
NSW Health Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the NSW Government’s $3 million statewide community pharmacy prescribing trial is expanding after a successful pilot, launched in May, saw 94 participating pharmacies provide nearly 900 consultations delivered in pharmacy settings.
Dr Chant said the response so far from the community has been pleasing during the two-month feasibility period, demonstrating there is a need, particularly in regional areas, for innovative models of care.
“This expansion of services, beginning Monday, means more women with uncomplicated UTIs will be able to visit their nearest participating pharmacy and receive advice – and where appropriate – be dispensed medication for their UTI, and information provided to their usual GP to support integrated primary care,” Dr Chant said.
As part of the clinical trial, the NSW Government is covering the cost of the $20 consultation fee for patients seeking treatment through a participating pharmacy, meaning the only out-of-pocket costs for women seeking treatment will be for the medication they need.
A trial to include the resupply of the oral contraceptive pill in participating pharmacies will now begin in September to ensure participating pharmacists are comfortable with the new processes before providing another consultative service.
Dr Chant said patient safety is paramount, and rigorous procedures need to be in place to guarantee women who do not meet the criteria are appropriately referred to a GP or hospital.
The University of Newcastle-led consortium is working closely with GPs, clinicians, pharmacists, rural clinicians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to deliver a clinical trial that is safe for patients.
Pharmacist and Chief Investigator Dr Sarah Dineen-Griffin from the University of Newcastle said the feasibility study provided early evidence of the benefit to patients through improved access to treatment.
“The study so far has shown how pharmacists can work collaboratively with GPs to improve access to primary health care,” Dr Dineen-Griffin said.
“We look forward to the evaluation of the main ten-month study data, with now more than 1,000 pharmacies set to participate.”
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