Easier access to treatment for painful Urinary Tract Infections

SA Gov

From today, South Australian women will be able to access advice and medication for a urinary tract infection through a local pharmacy, without needing a doctor’s appointment.

Women experiencing symptoms of urinary tract infections can speak to trained community pharmacists for assessment and access to a one-off course of antibiotics without a prescription, through participating local pharmacies.

It means those aged 18 to 65 assessed by a pharmacist as having an uncomplicated UTI will be able to access antibiotic treatment without needing a GP appointment, if they meet certain clinical criteria.

UTIs are very common and can be extremely painful, affecting up to 50 per cent of South Australian women and resulting in nearly 9000 hospital emergency department presentations each year.

This new service complements those already available through other health providers including GPs, ensuring women have better access to timely care.

More than 440 pharmacists across metropolitan Adelaide and regional areas including Mount Gambier, Kangaroo Island and Murray Bridge have completed training to offer the service. A further 240 pharmacists are currently going through the training.

Symptoms of UTIs can include pain or burning while urinating, frequent urination, feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder, and pressure or cramping in the groin or lower abdomen.

Women with recurrent infections, additional symptoms, at risk of complications, or displaying any symptoms of a serious infection will be referred to their GP or other appropriate health services for further assessment.

Every community pharmacy in South Australia can undertake training to offer the service, with other states already operating similar programs.

The new healthcare model addresses key recommendations made by a South Australian parliamentary committee – chaired by Member for Badcoe Jayne Stinson – which investigated UTIs and how to improve access to treatment for women in the state.

From May, eligible women will also be able to visit participating pharmacies to access a resupply of their oral contraceptive pill, without needing to see a doctor for a script.

These initiatives put patients first and provide faster access to care while helping to ease pressure on hospital emergency departments and wait times to see a GP.

Around 60 pharmacies – including the state’s first 24/7 pharmacy, National Pharmacies at Norwood – are expected to offer the service from today, with more set to introduce it over the coming weeks.

Members of the public can check with their local pharmacy to see if they’re offering the service.

More information can be found on the SA Health website.

As put by Chris Picton

If UTIs aren’t treated quickly, they can cause very painful and debilitating symptoms and can result in hospitalisations.

That’s why it’s so important to give women easier access to medication to treat UTIs.

The introduction of this new community pharmacy service offers women greater choice to receive advice and treatment for simple UTIs, while at the same time reducing pressure on our hospital system and GPs.

It is one of a number of new pharmacy services we are introducing to ensure South Australians can receive the care they need, closer to home.

As put by Jayne Stinson MP, Chair of the Inquiry into Access to UTI Treatment

It will be such a relief for women across our state to now be able to quickly and easily relieve the pain of a UTI.

As a UTI sufferer, I know the enormous difference this scheme will make to the lives of thousands of women – relieving pain, anxiety, expense and loss of income.

The nine-month bipartisan parliamentary inquiry I led strongly recommended a pharmacy-based scheme for SA, and I am so pleased to see this come to fruition.

As put by SA Health Chief Pharmacist Naomi Burgess

This initiative will support South Australian women by providing local, early access to health advice and treatment for a very common yet painful condition.

UTIs can impact every part of your daily life, making it difficult to maintain professional and personal routines.

The introduction of this new service will ensure skilled pharmacists are available to offer guidance and medication for the safe and timely assessment and treatment of uncomplicated UTIs.

Importantly, this will also include pharmacists referring patients at risk of complicated conditions to their GP or other health service, helping to avoid development of more severe symptoms.

/Public News. View in full here.