Healthcare access announcement celebrated by pharmacists

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA)

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) has celebrated the Victorian Labor Party’s commitment to healthcare access, welcoming today’s announcement that Victorians will soon be able to access more services from their local pharmacist.

Labor’s health spokesperson Mary-Anne Thomas has today announced that, if elected, pharmacists in Victoria will be able to provide oral contraception and travel vaccines to patients and will also trial pharmacist prescribing for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).

Under this proposal, Victoria will also become the first jurisdiction in Australia to fund pharmacists to deliver these services with no out of pocket costs to patients.

PSA Victoria President John Jackson said that the proposal would improve access to care and reduce out-of-pocket costs for women across the state.

“Giving patients greater access to medicines and healthcare, whether it is renewing prescriptions for oral contraception, treatment for a UTI, or vaccination for overseas travel, is a great step forward for all Victorians,” Mr Jackson said.

“Allowing women to access oral contraception and treatment for UTIs directly from their local pharmacist is about equitable, affordable, and timely access to healthcare.

“All Australians have felt the pressure on our health system. When patients can’t see their GP, they’re instead seeking care at a hospital Emergency Department or not getting treatment at all, which is regularly putting patients at risk of further complications.

“Pharmacists are accessible, skilled healthcare professionals that can work collaboratively with other healthcare providers to ensure all patients can access the care they need, when they need it.”

Mr Jackson also said that the community has demonstrated their confidence in pharmacist-administered vaccines throughout the pandemic, with pharmacists now firmly entrenched as part of Australia’s immuniser workforce.

“Pharmacists have now delivered more than 9 million COVID-19 vaccinations alongside a range of other vaccines. We have proven how valuable we are to improving vaccination accessibility, so we are excited to be able to help patients with their travel vaccinations too.

“While the world has re-opened to travel, the health system remains under significant pressure. Providing patients with more options to access travel vaccinations just makes sense.

“It’s fantastic to see the Victorian Labor Party agree that pharmacists can and should be playing a greater role in primary healthcare.”

Mr Jackson urged all parties standing at the state election this weekend to support the commitment, saying that the outcome of the upcoming state election should not impact the availability of care for Victorians.

“Improving access to basic healthcare is above politics. Patients across Victoria deserve certainty that they will have the same access regardless of who the Premier is in a few weeks’ time.

“I encourage all major parties and all candidates to put the health of Victorians first and commit to improving healthcare access this election.”

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