AMA Queensland wants women stuck in the dark ages, says Guild

The Pharmacy Guild has rejected comments by a GP and pharmacist spokesperson for the AMA about pharmacists not being qualified for the Queensland UTI trial

AMA Queensland spokesperson Dr Nick Yim, a Wide Bay GP who worked as a pharmacist for four years before practising medicine, took aim at the Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot – Queensland (UTIPP-Q) trial saying that it was a “prescription for disaster for patient care”.

He said that pharmacists are not trained to be doctors or to diagnose patients.

“You do not want cookbook or recipe medicine. Each patient is different,” he said.

Pharmacy Guild of Australia Queensland Branch Vice President Chris Owen has responded to the comments, saying that Dr Yim’s stance “once again shows the old mentality of some doctors”.

The Guild said that Dr Yim has been a vocal advocate against the UTI trial and community pharmacists vaccinating; and that “it’s hard to find anything he’s not against”.

In a statement titled “AMA Queensland wants women stuck in the dark ages,Mr Owen called for the AMA Queensland to “move on” and stop its “on-going and self-serving scare campaign that tries to prevent advances in women’s health and improvements in primary healthcare”.

“The Urinary Tract Infection Pharmacy Pilot has been successfully launched and is fully endorsed by the Queensland Government through the new the Drug Therapy Protocol – Pharmacist UTI Trial,” he said.

“We’ve already seen Queensland women visiting their local community pharmacies to utilise the Urinary Tract Infection service and receive immediate advice and treatment.

“Clearly the one in two women who may experience a Urinary Tract Infection over their lifetime see the value in this safe and convenient service.”

“We reject Dr Yim’s statements that pharmacists aren’t qualified.

“Pharmacists complete a minimum five years of training as well as on-going, mandatory professional development and play a vital role in Australia’s primary health care network.

“To say they are not qualified or properly trained to administer the new UTI service is ridiculous.”

Mr Owen said that the mandatory training that community pharmacists undertake prior to administering the service is independently accredited with a Continuing Professional Development accrediting organisation that adheres to the Australian Pharmacy Council’s Standards and Guidelines.

“The world class university partners and subject matter experts, that contributed to the training module, including a general practitioner, were vital to the development of the education module.”

Mr. Owen said there is a clear need for community pharmacies to deliver the UTI Service, as in 2018 alone there were more than 20,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in Queensland due to urinary tract and kidney infections.

Community pharmacists are conveniently located with extended opening hours and no appointments necessary, so women can be seen and treated immediately to avoid further complications, he said.

“Move on AMA Queensland.

“As primary healthcare professionals we make no apology for reducing hospitalisations and putting patient-centred primary healthcare first,” said Mr Owen.

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  1. Andrew

    Messaging is not great and kind of aggressive. If Guild wanted to make a compelling argument go with the old “show, don’t tell” approach by providing the appropriate level of evidence to demonstrate public health benefit from the program. A small, poorly designed pilot program won’t cut it.
    I’ll declare that I’m not confident enough in my clinical skills to accurately ddx a UTI. I’ll leave that up to the doctors thanks.


      The vast majority of pharmacists Ive spoken to have said they would rather leave it up to the Doctors, as that is THEIR JOB. Ain’t that the truth.

      • DispensingRobot

        I’m pretty sure – with the correct level of training and continued education, this can be taught. Then there are other pharmacists who would not be in agreement with the sentiment that your colleagues carry. Its all a matter of perspective.

        • TALL POPPY

          And that is the trap so many pharmacist employees are falling into. You are taking on immense extra responsibility for no extra remuneration. And all the extra stress to boot.

          Sure – you can get taught what a Doctor knows. But do you get PAID anywhere near what a Doctor gets? No.

          It sure is a matter of perspective but unfortunately you are, ultimately, on the wrong angle of that until you can negotiate fair remuneration for your efforts. Immunisations should have been a catalyst for a significant pay increase. But guess what? Zilch – and even Pharmacist Interns can do them = feel good factor for young pharmacist = trap = $$$ profit for guess who? Not you.

          Good luck!

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