Queensland women will have permanent access to UTI care through community pharmacy

Date: 7 July 2022

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch President, Mr. Chris Owen, welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement that the Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot – Queensland (UTIPP-Q) would be available to Queensland women as a permanent pharmacy service.

“Today’s announcement is unequivocal recognition of community pharmacy’s integral role in delivering valuable primary healthcare services to patients,” said Mr. Owen, “I acknowledge and commend the Palaszczuk Government for putting Queensland women’s health needs first.”

“To date, over 820 Queensland community pharmacies have participated in the Program and will be pleased to continue to provide this primary healthcare service and advance women’s healthcare.

“The statistics are quite clear, with 50% of Australian women experiencing an UTI in their lifetime1. The nearly 9,000 women that have accessed the UTI service since its inception are evidence that this service is in demand and provides positive health outcomes.”

“Those women who don’t have access to a GP clinic or cannot book an immediate appointment due to the sudden onset of symptoms, will be able to access safe, effective and convenient care at their local pharmacy for uncomplicated UTIs,” Mr. Owen said. “In Queensland, 97% of metropolitan and 66% of regional consumers are less than 2.5km from a community pharmacy.

“We know from experience, the quicker a case of UTI is diagnosed and treated, the less likely the patient is to experience further complications that may result in hospitalisation. In 2018 alone, there were more than 20,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in Queensland due to urinary tract infections and kidney infections2.”

Katrina, aged 47, accessed the UTI service during the Pilot and is pleased that this is now a permanent community pharmacy service for her and Queensland women going forward.

“Accessing UTI services through my community pharmacy made a big difference to me. I was able to pop into my local pharmacy on the way home from work; it was quick, simple and really convenient,” Katrina said.

“This is really a fantastic service to make available to women—especially for those in rural and regional areas of Queensland who may not be able to access a GP in a timely manner. I usually see my community pharmacist more than my GP, so it’s wonderful to see health professionals from across the health system being used in this way. It means we are using the health care system to its fullest potential.

“It made a huge difference to me to be able to drop into my local pharmacy on the way home from work; it was so easy and quick and convenient. It’s really a wonderful thing to make available to women.”

Mr. Owen also welcomed the release of the independent clinical review of the Pilot’s effectiveness commissioned by Queensland Health and undertaken by independent experts at Queensland University of Technology.

“This review, now made public, has found that the “service was of significant value because of improved accessibility and convenience. Patients were happy with the service, would use it again and recommend it to others,” said Mr. Owen.

“The independent review also concluded that “pharmacists have delivered safe and appropriate care that align to clinical protocols” and that “pharmacists have the appropriate skills, competencies and training to manage the empiric treatment of uncomplicated UTIs in the community pharmacy”.

“I hope other Australian states and territories follow Queensland’s lead in recognising the scope of community pharmacists and providing the same UTI service for women.”

“Queensland community pharmacy is progressing in line with other OECD countries, such as England, Wales, New Zealand and Canada, but there is more Queensland community pharmacists can do to practice to their full scope, and we look forward to working closely with the state government to help them to deliver on their election promise in this regard.”

Queensland women can visit findapharmacy.com.au/UTI to find their local community pharmacy providing the UTI service.

  1. Kidney Health Australia. Urinary Tract Infections Fact Sheet. Available from: https://kidney.org.au/uploads/resources/KHA-Factsheet-urinary-tract-infections-2018.pdf
  2. AIHW data, Potentially preventable hospitalisations, 2017-18, Queensland. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/primary-health-care/potentially-preventable-hospitalisations/data

Contact: Jeff Popp
Phone: 0438 153 857

Page last updated on: 07 July 2022