More than 1000 pharmacies signed up for the prescription study

The local office has also been highly critical of Queensland’s pharmacy-prescribed UTI medication pilot, which has been ongoing since June 2020. She conducted a survey that claimed doctors had seen 240 of the pilot’s patients with complications, a number polled by pharmacy groups.

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dr Michael Bonning, the Balmain GP who has led the AMA’s NSW branch since 2022, said after discussions with NSW Health and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant he believes NSW’s plan – given that it is a clinical trial and not a pilot project – was better designed and would await the results before commenting.

He denied that this stance conflicted with the AMA’s push against pharmacy prescriptions.

“Both things can be absolutely true: that a push toward open pharmacy prescriptions doesn’t fit with the clinical approach that the AMA supports… and that saying ‘no’ to everything, not learning, is a surefire way for our healthcare system to ‘ said Bonning, who appears in the You Deserve More campaign.

“It was an ambush such as we have never seen before; I’m still in shock,” said NSW Pharmacy Guild President David Heffernan, who was pleased that the state prescription process was going ahead after weeks of the guild being “not up to date” on its progress and worried about the impact the AMAs made campaign.

Leichhardt pharmacist Christine Kelly said she feels “dismissed” by the federal government’s changes, which would cause her to reconsider free services like Webster pack assembly.

“It’s like someone ripping 30 percent out of my business and then telling me how to handle it,” she said.

Christine Kelly is one of many pharmacists impacted by dispensing fee changes announced last week.

Christine Kelly is one of many pharmacists impacted by dispensing fee changes announced last week. Credit: Dion Georgopoulos

Kelly, who signed up for the prescribing study, said pharmacists are already doing work beyond free dispensing, citing blood pressure checks, baby weighing and patient assessments with online scripts — their only physical interaction with one health professionals with their pharmacist.

“They may live in Leichhardt, but they get their script from a doctor in Melbourne,” she said.

Pharmaceutical Society of Australia President Fei Sim said pharmacists are also being asked to monitor patients who see their doctors via telemedicine. She said the pharmacy prescribing study would help women get timely treatment in areas with long waits for GPs.

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“The whole rationale is to increase access to care for people who need it, when they need it,” she said.

May’s federal budget is expected to bring about the biggest Medicare overhaul in its 40-year history, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pledging $2.2 billion to restructure the traditional fee model and encourage doctors, nurses and relatives of health professionals to discontinue clinics.

Justin Scaccy

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