Doctor visit diversion

Premier Jacinta Allan and Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas at the Gisborne Priceline Pharmacy with its staff (supplied).

Victorians will now be able to visit their local pharmacies for a range of treatments, including a resupply of the contraceptive pill, amid a push for more affordable and accessible basic primary care.

The Gisborne Priceline Pharmacy was inundated by a flood of cameras and reporters on Friday October 27, as Premier Jacinta Allan and Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas visited to mark the start of the 12-month pilot.

Under the program, community pharmacists will be able to provide treatment and advice for a range of common conditions.

These include, advice or treatment for women with uncomplicated urinary tract infections or a resupply of their existing contraceptive pill without needing a prescription.

Ms Allan said increasing access to points of care is about making health care easier and more accessible to all Victorians.

“Services here will be free in terms of being able to come in and get that consultation and advice,” she said.

“Our pharmacists are already a trusted source for many Victroians- this pilot will expand their role providing more options for people needing quick medical advice for common ailments.

“[This will also] address some of that pressure that we’re seeing on our general practitioner system.”

Broader public health vaccination offering travel health consultations and treatment for mild skin conditions are set to roll out in the coming weeks and months.

To be eligible, all pharmacists must complete mandatory training and demonstrate they are well equipped to know if someone should be referred to a GP or hospital. They must also have the appropriate facilities, like a private consulting room.

About 400 pharmacies across the state signed up for the pilot, with another 200 set to join in the coming weeks.