You may already be aware that your local community pharmacist does more than just dispense medication. We’re excited to announce a new pilot program in North Queensland will enable community pharmacists to do even more by bringing more accessible services to the community and helping ease pressure on other areas of the primary healthcare sector.

Community pharmacists are dedicated to delivering better health outcomes for their patients every day, which is just one of the reasons that they’re one of Australia’s most trusted professionals. We’re excited to announce that pharmacists participating in the North Queensland Scope of Practice Pilot, may be able to prescribe, dispense, administer, and review your medicines.

Greater scope = Greater capacity

Participating pharmacists will be able to see patients where and when they need it most– often without an appointment–, at a time when access to timely primary healthcare is getting more and more difficult due to over-crowded Emergency Departments (ED) and over-burdened General Practitioner (GP) clinics. This supports patients receiving treatment for their minor health conditions without having to wait days or weeks to see their GP or presenting at emergency departments. . Pharmacists practicing to their full scope not only supports GPs, giving them greater capacity for appointments and longer consultations with their patients but it also diverts lower urgency cases away from the ED.

As medicines experts, pharmacists are highly competent and well-equipped to provide these types of healthcare services. In addition to their minimum 4 years university education, 1-year structured internship, two registration exams, and on-going continuing professional development (CPD), participating pharmacists will also complete 12-16 months of postgraduate level studies and practical training.

Full scope of practice pharmacists will help provide communities with a convenient and timely means of receiving first-class primary healthcare for common health conditions, such as mild to moderate acne, rhinitis (runny nose), gastro-oesophageal reflux (heartburn), cold sore or travel medicine. This national-first pilot will enable North Queenslanders to access world-class primary care and health services in community pharmacies, like those seen in countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

Better outcomes for everyone

On average 97% of metropolitan and 67% of regional area people live within 2.5km of a community pharmacy, making community pharmacies the most accessible primary healthcare destination for Australians. This pilot will specifically enable more people to receive timely access to the healthcare that they otherwise may not have had due to reasons like cost and distance to travel to care, GP accessibility, long waiting time for an appointment , or costs associated with a lack of a bulk-billing GP clinic in their area.

Read on to learn more about the North Queensland Community Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot.