Date: 9 November 2022
In a major boost for pharmacists being able to work to their full scope of practice, the Queensland Government has announced the North Queensland Community Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot (North Queensland Community Pharmacy Pilot) will commence in late 2023.
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch President Chris Owen, welcomed the Palaszczuk Government's announcement which will authorise community pharmacists to treat patients for everyday health conditions, such as mild to moderate acne, impetigo, rhinitis and atopic dermatitis.
Community pharmacists taking part in the North Queensland Pharmacy Pilot will be required to undergo a further 12 months of post-graduate level education and training in addition to the five years of university training and pre-registration training already completed to become a registered pharmacist.
Mr Owen congratulated the Queensland Government for its leadership and recognised its commitment to enhancing patient care and increasing access to world class healthcare services in Queensland, with this Pilot being one solution to help decrease unnecessary emergency department presentations and ambulance ramping.
"Premier Palaszczuk and Minister D'Ath have shown great foresight and a true commitment to delivering better health services through this announcement today," Mr Owen said.
"The North Queensland Pharmacy Pilot will deliver improved health outcomes for patients in North
Queensland and help ease some of the burdens on busy GPs and overcrowded emergency departments.
“Fewer North Queenslanders will need to wait longer than recommended to receive the care they need. They will be able to access the right care in the right place at the right time.
"Too many patients do not have access to a GP or have to wait too long to get an appointment.
"This announcement means that for everyday health conditions, North Queenslanders will be able
to choose to get the care they need from their local community pharmacy."
Mr Owen said more than 97 per cent of metropolitan Queenslanders and 66 per cent of those in regional Queensland lived within 2.5km of a community pharmacy, and on average, every person visits a community pharmacy 18 times each year, in metropolitan, rural and remote locations.
"We know that some communities do not have access to a GP; however, they do have a community
pharmacist. Community pharmacists are one of the most trusted health professionals, with patients’ trust of their local pharmacist growing even stronger during the COVID-19 pandemic when pharmacies were open and accessible for their patients every day,” he said.
Mr Owen said the North Queensland Pharmacy Pilot was in line with the needs of the community and would bring Queensland into line with other international jurisdictions where primary healthcare professionals are practising to their full scope. All health practitioners should practice to their full scope, not just Community Pharmacists.
"This announcement brings North Queensland pharmacists in line with community pharmacists in other jurisdictions like parts of Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Regardless of where Queenslanders live, they should have timely access to world-class healthcare,” he said.
"Based on research carried out by independent research firm Insightfully, half of North Queenslanders with chronic diseases and conditions often can't see their regular GP, with access problems made even worse by the COVID-19 pandemic."
Contact: The Guild