Full Scope of Practice services will be arriving in community pharmacies across Australia. This means greater access to healthcare treatment for everyday health conditions for everyone.

Subscribe for updates today to learn more about these changes, what they mean for you, and most importantly, when these services become available in a community pharmacy in your area.

Find out what’s coming to your state!


Community pharmacists
can do more for patients
across Australia.

The services that pharmacists around Australia can offer to patients may be changing to save you valuable time and hassle.

These changes will allow participating community pharmacies to offer treatment for a wider range of everyday health conditions for you and your family.

By allowing community pharmacists to practice to their full scope, Australians will have more health care choices and access to local communities and take the pressure off of our overburdened emergency departments.

The benefits of Full Scope of Practice services include better access to healthcare, reducing the burden on GPs and emergency departments, and a reduction in unnecessary hospitalisations.

You deserve better access to health care professionals to safely treat everyday health conditions, and that’s why thousands of community pharmacists are undergoing additional higher education and training to provide them to you.


The benefits of community pharmacy offering more every day healthcare services

There are many benefits of pharmacists being able to provide a broader range of services to their community.

In capital cities, 97% of Australians live within 2.5km of at least one community pharmacy. In the rest of Australia, 66% of the population lives within 2.5km of a community pharmacy.

Since you most often won't need an appointment, you can receive timely and convenient care close to home.

With pharmacists able to treat more everyday health conditions, more appointments will be available at GP clinics and less burden on emergency departments.

This is great for patients, GPs and Australia's healthcare system.


Better access to primary care services

There are over 6,000 community pharmacies Australia-wide.

Pharmacy Guild Australia - May 2023


Reduce the burden on GPs and hospitals

A report by EY estimates an annual $4.5 billion benefit to the Australian economy


Reduce unnecessary hospitalisations

Freeing up emergency departments to deal with more complex health issues.

FACT - Community pharmacists are highly trained with existing skills, knowledge, and competence to provide additional services. Multiple studies have now shown that pharmacist prescribing, as a component of working to full scope, is clinically efficacious and a cost-effective means to improve both access and quality of care.

FACT - $248 MILLION in government and public healthcare savings*
*Denotes a pharmacist participating in the Pilot

FACT - Pharmacists must complete:
  • 4 years of an accredited university degree
  • 1-year internship in a community pharmacy
  • 2 registration exams
  • Continuing annual professional development relevant to their scope of practice
  • Graduate certificate level university training over 12-16 months which includes supervised practice

FACT - Pharmacists are medicine experts and primary healthcare professionals whose core objective is to put their patients first. On top of their 4 year university accredited degree, pharmacists complete a 1-year internship in a community pharmacy and undertake further intern study requirements, 2 registration exams, and annual continuous professional development. For those pharmacists participating in the Pilot an additional 12-16 months of post-graduate university study and training is required. Many Queensland community pharmacists are already providing diagnosis and treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women.

Under the auspices of the Queensland University of Technology, James Cook University and the Australasian College of Pharmacy, participating pharmacists will undertake graduate certificate level, evidenced-based training, which is currently used in other Australian non-medical prescribing pathways.

FACT - Recent research in North Queensland shows that half of North Queenslanders with chronic medical diseases and conditions often can't see their regular GP, with access problems made even worse by COVID-19. Additionally, 67% of participants in the survey did not regularly visit their GP, with 35% visiting less than every six months. The reason? Often more than a third are waiting over a week for an appointment.

It’s simple. Australians need better access to primary healthcare.

If a patient can receive healthcare in a timely manner by their local community pharmacist, this may prevent them waiting weeks to see their GP or presenting to the emergency department. This will also support GPs by having greater capacity to have appointments (including longer consultations) available to see their patients with more complex needs.

FACT - In terms of healthcare costs, the Pilot would mean a reduction in costs as predicted in the 2020 Ernst & Young (EY) report titled ‘Scope of Practice Opportunity Assessment’. The report concluded that by community pharmacists working to their full scope, it would result in:
  • $63 million per year in savings in avoided public healthcare costs.
  • $176 million per year in savings for State and Federal Governments in avoided costs through better treatment of minor ailments and conditions; and
  • $9 million per year for the implementation of better medicine and treatment practices for chronic conditions.

FACT - Full scope is not a new concept – it’s been around for decades. As an example, in Canada and the United Kingdom, community pharmacies manage common ambulatory conditions, including ailments such as urinary tract infections, back pain and eczema. In Canada and Scotland, pharmacists’ scope of practice includes prescription renewal and the management of the ongoing supply of prescribed medicines for stable, chronic conditions without the need to unnecessarily return to the prescriber.

Case study - Wales
  • The Welsh government's ambition is for every pharmacy in Wales to have an independent prescriber by 2030
  • Aim is to support a ‘community pharmacy first’ model of care, to reduce the number of patients consulting their GP for conditions that can be appropriately managed in the community pharmacy setting.
  • Builds on the success of 33 community pharmacies in Wales who have delivered more than 16,000 consultations through independent prescribing (IP) service up until June 2021.
  • Agreed conditions include – Herpes Zoster, Otitis Media, COPD exacerbation, respiratory tract infections, impetigo, UTI, Gout, asthma exacerbation, dyspepsia, nausea and vomiting, vertigo.

FACT - No - nothing could be further from the truth. Pharmacists work collaboratively with their local GP each and every day. Nothing will replace a GP, but we know ‘Doctor Block’ is a real issue. Recent research in North Queensland revealed ​​that more than a third of vulnerable minorities in North Queensland – including people with a disability, First Nations people and culturally and linguistically diverse people – have had to go to emergency due to lack of general practitioner (GP) access. The Pilot will see a pharmacists' scope of practice remain significantly narrower than both a GP and a nurse practitioner. This Pilot recognises that there are some conditions that could be triaged appropriately in a community pharmacy setting.

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