SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- A 12-month pilot in Victoria from October 2023 to October 2024 allows people to receive some treatments at a local pharmacy without needing to see a doctor to get a prescription.
- You can attend a pharmacy for supply of the contraceptive pill, treatment for urinary tract infections and to receive some vaccinations.
About the Community Pharmacist Pilot
A 12-month pilot in Victoria allows people to receive some treatments at a local pharmacy without needing to see a doctor to get a prescription first.
It particularly benefits women and people living in areas where it is hard to get a general practitioner (GP) appointment.
The pilot is running from October 2023 to October 2024.
During this time you can attend a pharmacy for treatment of some common health conditions:
- Women can get more supply of a they are already using without needing a prescription.
- Women with uncomplicated can access antibiotics for treatment.
- Pharmacists can provide some and more public health vaccines including , , and .
Patient safety during the Community Pharmacist Pilot
Pharmacies have met strict requirements to participate in the pilot.
As part of the pilot, pharmacists are doing further training in each service they offer. For example, training about the supply of antibiotics for urinary tract infections or identifying and providing the vaccinations you need for travel.
The pharmacists will follow clinical protocols to guide their decision-making. These protocols have been developed by the Victorian Department of Health in consultation with medical and pharmacy experts and are based on international best practice.
Eligibility for the Community Pharmacist Pilot service
Not everybody is able to receive their health care in a pharmacy.
Participating pharmacists will ask you questions before and during your consultation to help them decide if they can treat you. Your age, your sex and the details of your condition and medical history may help the pharmacist determine whether they can treat you or whether you need a referral.
A referral is usually a letter to another healthcare provider to ask them to see you. The pharmacist will refer you to your doctor or another healthcare provider if they think that is the best option for you.
People with or without a Medicare card and international students are eligible to seek a service under the pilot.
What to expect at the Community Pharmacist Pilot
Your consultation with the pharmacist will take place in a private consultation room. They will explain the pilot and ask for your consent to be part of the pilot and to have your information collected.
They will then ask you about the health service you need and make a decision about your treatment. They will answer any questions you have and will make sure you have the information you need.
After a week, you may be sent a health check message by SMS or email. It will check whether your symptoms have gone away and you feel better, and to make sure there are no side effects from the medication or the vaccination.
If your condition stays the same or gets worse, or you are worried about the medications, side effects or you have other concerns, you can see your usual doctor to discuss.
While the pharmacist will be able to help you with specific conditions during the pilot, your doctor is still the best person to see about your overall health and any serious health conditions.
Cost to use Community Pharmacist Pilot services
There are no charges to see the pharmacist to receive care for:
- urinary tract infections
- resupply of the contraceptive pill.
All Australian residents who hold a current Medicare card are eligible to receive medicines supplied under the pilot at the same price as if they had a prescription, that is, the same as under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). This includes concession card holders and those eligible for subsidised medicine under the Closing the Gap program.
Vaccinations and travel health costs
For vaccinations or travel health, pharmacies may charge a consultation fee, plus the cost of any vaccines given for a travel health or other vaccination consultation.
The cost of the consultation and the vaccines may vary between pharmacies.
The pharmacist will discuss all fees with you before starting the consultation and before giving any vaccines.
Find a Community Pharmacist Pilot service
Not all pharmacies are participating in the pilot.
Search the map for a participating pharmacy, or speak to your local pharmacy or doctor.
How to access treatment at a Community Pharmacist Pilot service
Some pharmacies may require a booking for a consultation with a pharmacist.
Others may allow walk-in consultations, or a combination of both.
Some may only offer pilot services at set times, or on particular days.
Contact your local pharmacy or visit their website to check:
- what services are being offered under the pilot
- if a booking is required or if you can visit without making a booking.
Some pharmacies will offer consultations in languages other than English.
Check the local signage in the pharmacy or ask them about the languages they can offer.
Preparing for your consultation at a Community Pharmacist Pilot service
Make sure you bring your Medicare card if you have one, and any concession cards you hold. It is also useful to have information about any medications you are taking for other purposes.
If you are seeking more boxes of the contraceptive pill, you will need to bring your old prescription, or some of the medication in its box. A pharmacy may have a record of this information if it is the pharmacy you use regularly.
How your information will be used in the Community Pharmacist Pilot
Your pharmacist will collect information about you and your consultation in the same way your doctor keeps a record of your visit when you see them. This information is kept safely in the computer systems used by the pharmacy.
With your consent the information can be shared with your My Health Record and your regular doctor (if you have one).
The pharmacist can also share some information about your treatment with your doctor, but only if you give permission for this.
You can still receive treatment even if you do not consent to sharing your information with your My Health Record or your doctor.
The Victorian Department of Health will be evaluating the pilot to see if this is an effective way for people to get treatment for some common medical conditions.
You will be asked to consent to sharing information with the Department of Health to allow them to monitor and evaluate the pilot. The department will monitor the pilot using general information, but will not access any medical or identifying information on individual patients.
You will also be asked to consent to have your contact number and email address shared with the Department to assist with the evaluation.
If you do consent to this, you may be sent a survey to seek your feedback on the pilot and the services you received.
If you don’t want to be part of the evaluation, you can still receive treatment as part of the pilot.
Your pharmacist will explain the consents to you in detail and a patient information sheet will be available to help you make an informed choice.
Making a complaint about the Community Pharmacist Pilot
If you have a complaint, you can take the following steps to get the complaint resolved:
Discuss your complaint with a staff member from the community pharmacy where you received the service.
If the complaint cannot be resolved at Step 1, or the patient is dissatisfied with the outcome, they can choose one of the following ways to lodge a formal complaint with the department:
- Submit the complaint online via .
- Email our Feedback and complaints team via
- Mail: Health Feedback, GPO Box 4057, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
- Phone: . For more information, see our page