Pharmacy pilot expands

(Towfiqu Barbhuiya/Unsplash)

Victorians, including those in Wyndham, who are seeking treatment for mild and common skin conditions will soon be able to access the care they need at a community pharmacy, at no cost.

Premier Jacinta Allan and Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas announced that 729 pharmacies can treat Victorians with mild psoriasis or shingles from early March.

New data reveals more than 3,700 Victorians – overwhelmingly women – have already accessed care at a pharmacy since the start of the pilot.

27 per cent of the participating pharmacies are in regional Victoria.

Victorian women are reaping the benefits of the pilot, with around 2,000 women seeking care and antibiotics to treat uncomplicated urinary tract infections.

The state government said the pilot is also making it easier for women to get a resupply of the oral contraceptive pill, with around 1,300 women avoiding trips to their GP for a simple script refill.

According to the state government, feedback from the pilot has been positive, with patients reporting they are very satisfied with the service they received, and most did not need to seek further healthcare.

To participate, all pharmacists must complete mandatory training and demonstrate they know when someone should be referred to a GP or hospital. They must also have appropriate consulting facilities within the pharmacy.

The pilot is guided by experts and clinical groups representing the pharmacy and medical professions. At its conclusion, the pilot will be evaluated, and any recommendations will inform longer-term decision making.

There is no charge for patients to see a participating pharmacist to receive care under the pilot. If medications are required, the cost to the patient would be no more than if they had received prescription from a GP.

The state government said the $20 million investment will increasing the number of primary care options for Victorians, freeing up GPs for people with more complex conditions and reducing non-urgent emergency department presentations.