NSW pharmacists to trial writing prescriptions for medication under new health reforms

A pharmacist in a white lab coat is speaking to a man while they are both holding and looking at a box of medication.

On 13 November 2022 the NSW Government announced an intended trial for pharmacists to be authorised to prescribe certain medications to individuals under new health reforms. The reform would also expand the number of vaccinations that pharmacists can administer.

Specifically, the reforms would:

  • fund a 12-month trial allowing pharmacists to prescribe medication for urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • fund a state-wide pilot where pharmacists could prescribe medication for conditions such as skin ailments, ear infections and hormonal contraception
  • allow pharmacists to administer public health and travel vaccinations from 14 November 2022

The aim of having pharmacists write prescriptions is to alleviate pressure on emergency departments, reduce wait times to see GPs, and increase community access to primary care services. These changes capitalise on the additional services provided by pharmacists during the COVID-19 pandemic and are in line with trials currently being held in Queensland.

The implementation of the trial follows the position raised by the Pharmacy Board of Australia in its 2019 position statement concerning expanding the role of pharmacists as primary care providers. NSW Health has said it will work with the pharmacy sector and regulators to ensure that appropriate training and support is provided to ensure high safety standards are maintained during the operation of the trial.

Expressions of interest for participation in the UTI medication trial have begun.

We await further information on the anticipated trial, including any eligibility criteria, and whether there will be any further consultation with the community. It will be interesting to see whether other states, such as Victoria or Western Australia, will proceed with similar trials, or await the results of those in Queensland and now NSW.

Lander & Rogers has one of the largest and most reputable health law practices in Australia. For more information on how the anticipated changes may affect your organisation, please contact a member of our team.

Photo by SDI Productions via Getty Images.

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