North Queensland pilot program to deliver more effective primary health care

Published Thursday, 13 October, 2022 at 10:28 AM

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Patients in North Queensland will have more access to high-quality, integrated and cost-effective primary health care under an innovative new pilot program being rolled out.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the scope of the North Queensland Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot has now been finalised, delivering on an election commitment of the Palaszczuk Government.

“This pilot program will mean better access to the sort of primary health care services that many patients currently find difficult to access,” the Minister said.


“It will see pharmacists administering more types of vaccines and prescribing medicines for a range of common conditions.


“Now that the scope has been finalised, work has started on implementing appropriate structures to ensure the pilot is safe and effective.


“Pharmacists participating in the pilot will undergo additional training to ensure they are able to safely manage the included conditions and responsibilities.


“Participating pharmacies must also have suitable consulting spaces that provide patient privacy.


“Pharmacy prescribing models of care have been used effectively in other countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.”

Under the pilot, pharmacists will be able to administer more types of vaccines and prescribe medicines for a range of common conditions including:

  • nausea and vomiting;
  • reflux;
  • rhinitis;
  • mild skin conditions; and
  • acute mild musculoskeletal pain.


The scope of the pilot will also allow pharmacists to provide health and wellbeing services including:

  • hormonal contraception
  • oral health screening
  • weight management and
  • support for consumers to quit smoking.


Pharmacists will also be able to prescribe – as part of structured chronic disease management – programs for cardiovascular disease risk reduction, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The Palaszczuk Government has already implemented the Urinary Tract Infection Pilot as a permanent initiative following its successful evaluation pilot, which commenced in June 2020 and saw over 10,000 women access the service.

Deputy Director-General, Clinical Excellence Queensland, Dr Helen Brown said the pilot was designed to improve access to health care in North Queensland.


“The aim of this initiative is to supplement – not replace – existing services and give consumers in North Queensland greater access to the health care they need,” Dr Brown said.


“Pharmacists have always been an integral part of healthcare delivery.


“I am confident in their ability to manage the additional responsibilities, given they are already highly trained and well-regulated health professionals and will undertake additional training as part of the pilot in order to safely offer these services to our community.


“The pilot’s progress will be closely monitored to ensure it is safe and effective, however I believe it will provide a wealth of benefits to health consumers in North Queensland.”


The pilot is on track to start in the second half of 2023.


Media contact: Cullen Robinson 0418 170 474