Changes to make it easier for Queensland women to access contraceptives

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women The Honourable Shannon Fentiman
  • The Miles Government has announced a new training pathway to allow pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraception to women and girls aged over 16
  • The move is designed to address significant barriers in accessing hormonal contraception, with services expected to begin from July 2024
  • Pharmacists will be required to complete additional clinical training through an accredited education provider to provide the service

The Miles Labor Government is giving Queensland women and girls greater access to hormonal contraception in order to reduce barriers to reproductive healthcare.

Health Minister Shannon Fentiman has announced that hormonal contraception will be able to be prescribed by appropriately trained community pharmacists.

This ground-breaking initiative will mean women and girls aged 16 and older can access a range of hormonal contraceptives through their local pharmacy.

Although originally part of the North Queensland Scope of Practice Pilot, the Queensland Government will offer a standalone training program to encourage even more pharmacists to prescribe hormonal contraception.

The change will reduce time and geographical barriers to accessing hormonal contraception, particularly for women in regional, rural, and remote areas.

Pharmacists who have already completed training for the broader Queensland Community Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot or will complete it over the coming weeks and months, will not need to complete additional training.

This announcement comes following last year’s Senate report, Ending the postcode lottery: Addressing barriers to sexual, maternity, and reproductive healthcare in Australia, which found that two in three Australian women use some form of contraception.

It also found 83 per cent have used contraception at some point in their lives.

While most women use some form of contraception, there are still significant barriers to accessing contraception in Queensland, as the health system continues to face increased demand and workforce shortages.

The service is expected to be available from July 2024.

Quotes attributable to Queensland Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman:

“I am committed to delivering Queensland women and girls better to access the healthcare services they need, closer to home.

“This decision will help break down the barriers women currently face to accessing contraception – including lack of access to primary care.

“It will also ease the burden on GPs, freeing up appointments for sicker Queenslanders in need of care.

“Pharmacists are highly qualified and trusted members of our healthcare system and supporting them to practice to their full scope will enable them to provide additional services to their communities.

“I want to assure Queenslanders that pharmacists will be required to complete additional clinical training to provide this service, which will be made available to pharmacists in the coming months.”

Quotes attributable to Amanda Seeto, Pharmacy Guild of Queensland, Vice President:

“This is a great announcement for women’s access to medicines in Queensland.

“I would like to congratulate the Queensland Government on continuing to lead the nation in providing healthcare solutions that make a positive difference in communities.”

Quotes attributable to Shane MacDonald, Queensland Branch President, Pharmaceutical Society of Australia:

“PSA’s vision is that every Queenslander has access to safe, quality, and effective healthcare through optimising the role of pharmacists.

“This is certainly a positive step towards achieving this.

“PSA welcomes the announcement today and we look forward to continuing to work with Minister Fentiman and the Queensland Government on the education and implementation of this Pilot, as we currently do for the Queensland Community Pharmacy Scope of Practice Pilot.

“Appropriately trained pharmacists can do more to support the healthcare needs of Queenslanders, including improving access to safe and effective hormonal contraceptives.

“On the 10-year anniversary of the nation-leading Queensland Pharmacist Immunisation Pilot, the Queensland Government has shown once again its commitment to improving access to quality healthcare for Queenslanders.”


Contraceptives that can be accessed through pharmacies include:

  • Oral medications – the combined oral contraceptive pill (excluding those with high estrogen dose) and the progesterone-only pill;
  • Injected medication – depot medroxyprogesterone acetate;
  • Contraceptive device – the combined hormonal contraceptive vaginal ring.

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