“Most women who take the pill have done so since they were teenagers and are used to managing their reproductive health. But there are situations where a woman can’t get an appointment with their doctor or can’t make one.”
In addition, the Labor government wants to make Urinary Tract Infection medications more accessible. It’s hoped this will not only free up time for GPs but also eliminate costs associated with unnecessary appointments.
These changes are expected to come into effect by the end of 2020, once the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 is updated. But while most consider the move progressive, not everyone is convinced it’s a good idea.
“While it may sound like a straightforward matter to prescribe medications for contraception and urinary tract infections, the Queensland Government clearly has not taken into account the complexities that can be involved in a patient visiting their GP for a script for antibiotics or the pill,” Dr Harry Nespolon, President of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, said in a statement last year.
“General practice is so effective in Australia because GPs treat the whole patient, not just a symptom. “When a woman comes in for a repeat prescription of a pill, I make sure to check her blood pressure and look into any possible any side effects.
“I provide advice on if a longer-term contraceptive may be best, check if she is due for a cervical screening and discuss her long-term fertility plans. These are conversations that will simply not happen in a pharmacy.”