Access to UTI treatment in community pharmacies

Did you know that one in two Australian women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime?

From 1 March 2024, eligible South Australian women aged 18-65 years with symptoms of uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs) can get advice and treatment from trained pharmacists through SA Community Pharmacy UTI Services, without needing to see a doctor to get a prescription.

These services complement those already available through other health providers such as general practitioners (GPs), providing access and choice for women to get the health advice and care they need quickly.

Am I eligible for Community Pharmacy UTI Services?

Speak to your pharmacist about your symptoms and eligibility for these services. Pharmacists can provide health advice and also appropriate treatment for patients assessed as having an uncomplicated UTI. The below criteria may indicate that you have an uncomplicated UTI. You may be eligible for the service if you:

  • Are a woman between the ages of 18 to 65 years with an anatomical female urinary tract
  • Are not pregnant
  • Have no abnormalities or obstructions in your urinary tract
  • Likely have an infection in the lower section of your urinary tract (bladder and urethra), based on your symptoms such as: 
  • burning or stinging (hurts) when you urinate
  • frequent or urgent need to urinate
  • Are at low risk of complications, as assessed by a pharmacist

The pharmacist will ask you some questions before and during your consultation to help them decide the best option for you. Factors such as your age, sex, your symptoms, as well as other conditions and medical history will help the pharmacist determine whether they can provide treatment or whether its best for you to see your doctor or another healthcare provider.

What if I have a complicated UTI?

If the pharmacist considers that you may be at risk for a complicated UTI, further consultation by a medical professional may be required and you may be referred to an alternative care option, such as your general practitioner (GP), healthdirect, a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic, or in some cases, a hospital emergency department.

For example, a UTI may be more complicated in younger and older females, pregnant females, people with urinary tract abnormalities, renal disease, those who are immunocompromised (e.g. have diabetes), have urinary catheters, males and people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery.  In these cases, the best option may be referral to a GP or other health service for further review.

What can I expect during the consultation? 

Your consultation with the pharmacist will take place in a private consultation room or area.   The pharmacist will explain the service and ask for your consent to receive the services and have your information recorded.

The pharmacist will ask about your symptoms and your health to recommend the best treatment for you. Where appropriate, this may include supply of a short course of antibiotics, or a referral. They will answer any questions you have and make sure that you understand how to take the treatment to get the best outcome.   

You will be provided with a record of the consultation which can be shared with your health provider.  In addition, to ensure your GP and health practitioners know about your treatment, the pharmacist may upload details of any medicine provided to My Health Record. Please let your pharmacist know if you prefer that your details are not uploaded to My Health Record.

What can I expect after the treatment?

If your symptoms do not improve significantly within 2 to 3 days after starting antibiotic treatment, or your symptoms re-occur soon after treatment, you should visit your GP or seek other medical advice. If you are worried about the medication, side effects, or have other concerns, you should also contact a doctor.  While the pharmacist may be able to help you with an uncomplicated UTI, a doctor is still the best person to see you about your overall health and any serious health conditions.

What is the cost for these services? 

Pharmacists may charge you a consultation fee for the service, in addition to the cost of any medicines provided. You will be informed about consultation and medicine costs prior to the consultation.

Medication supplied as part of the service is not funded by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), so costs do not contribute towards the PBS SafetyNet. 

People with or without a Medicare card and international students are eligible for the service.

Where can I find a pharmacy that offers UTI services?

More pharmacies will become available over time to deliver this service as more pharmacists undertake the required training.

You can find pharmacies providing SA Community Pharmacy UTI Services on the Find a pharmacy website, or contact your local pharmacy directly to see if they offer the service.

Where can I learn more about UTIs and prevention? 

Visit Urinary tract infection (UTI) - including symptoms treatment and prevention for more information.

What if I have questions about the service?

If you have questions or would like to provide feedback, you can speak to your pharmacist.  You may also email: health.officeofthechiefpharmacist@sa.gov.au