Scope broadening

woman on toilet

The Guild says new data from the AIHW supports moves for pharmacists to practise to their full scope via the UTI trial

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released new hospital data recently confirming that more than one-third of patients presenting at Emergency Departments only require lower urgency care.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch, said it welcomed AIHW’s recommendations that pharmacists and other primary healthcare professionals be mobilised to appropriately manage a large percentage of emergency patient presentations at already overcrowded public hospitals.

With Queensland emergency department presentations increasing by 13.26% from 2014-15 to 2018-191, the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Queensland Branch Vice President, Chris Owen, said he is pleased with the opportunity for community pharmacists to further support the healthcare system.

“Community pharmacists are the most frequently accessed and most accessible primary healthcare destinations with 97% of people living within 2.5km of their local pharmacy,” he said.

“Community pharmacists’ full scope of practice is broadening and includes immunisations and travel vaccinations, laboratory tests and point-of-care testing, medication and disease management services.

“As accessible and highly trained healthcare professionals we can do even more to support Queenslanders and the healthcare system.

“With just under half (47%) of all lower urgency ED presentations occurring during a period when general practices are usually closed—patients should be made aware that community pharmacists are available on Sundays, public holidays, and many operate late-night services after 8:00pm.

“Community pharmacists, particularly in regional Queensland, are already helping prevent the 20,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in Queensland due to urinary tract and kidney infections.”

He said the Queensland Government is supporting hospitalisation reductions through the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Pharmacy Pilot, which recently went live.

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