UTI trial imminent


When enough pharmacies are signed up to participate, Queensland’s much-anticipated UTI trial will begin

The Pharmacy Guild and PSA’s Queensland branches report a “strong” response and numerous registrations for the first Urinary Tract Infection trial, after QCPP pharmacies were invited to express their interest in participating last week.

The pilot is the result of a recommendation from the 2018 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Establishment of a Pharmacy Council and Transfer of Pharmacy Ownership in Queensland, and the state Government’s support for that recommendation.

It will support trained community pharmacists to provide appropriate treatment to women with uncomplicated urinary tract infections.

The trial is expected to begin once more than 50% of eligible Queensland pharmacies have the capacity to deliver the service.

“In 2018 there were more than 20,000 potentially preventable hospitalisations in Queensland due to urinary tract infections and kidney infections,” said Guild Queensland president Trent Twomey.

“One in two women will experience a urinary tract infection in their lifetime and nearly one in three women will have a urinary tract infection needing treatment before the age of 24,” he said.

“If left untreated, a urinary tract infection can become a kidney infection, so it’s important to seek treatment as early as possible.

“This trial will help to support Queensland women by providing convenient, appropriate, safe and effective treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections.”

PSA Queensland Branch President Chris Campbell said the quality and skill of pharmacists in QLD has been clearly demonstrated and supported by the Department of Health with this pilot.

“We know QLD pharmacists are some of the best trained and accessible health care professionals in the world, and this brings access to Queenslanders a service already successful in other countries,” he said.

“We have seen the Queensland Government continually realise the value pharmacists deliver in primary care and although we have seen improved access to care from community pharmacy since the parliamentary inquiry and the pressure in the system from COVID19, this is just the beginning.”

Professor Twomey said that community pharmacy is well placed to reduce unnecessary hospitalisations and strain on Government resources due to uncomplicated urinary tract infections, particularly in a time when the coronavirus pandemic is impacting many GP and hospital resources.

“Community pharmacists are highly trained health professionals, who complete five years of higher education as well as continuing professional education.

“This trial will require appropriately qualified pharmacists to complete additional training to ensure safe and accurate screening, diagnosis and treatment, which may include antibiotics.

“Community pharmacists are conveniently located across Queensland with extended opening hours and no appointments necessary. This means that women experiencing a urinary tract infection can be seen and treated immediately, to avoid further complications.”

He said he applauded the Queensland Government for funding the trial, which he said supports women’s health “in line with other OECD countries, including New Zealand and the UK”.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia has also finalised the “Guidance for provision of antibiotics for acute uncomplicated cystitis in females to accompany the implementation of the education and training material.

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