SA to look at faster treatment for UTIs

Easier access to medication to treat urinary tract infections may be allowed in South Australia after interstate moves to have pharmacists help treat the painful condition.

Labor backbencher Jayne Stinson will move to set up a parliamentary inquiry next month to consider giving pharmacists the ability to diagnose sufferers and provide medication.

It comes after Queensland recently allowed specially trained pharmacists to assess patients and provide UTI medication, following a successful pilot program.

This week the NSW government announced legislation to allow pharmacists to provide a wider range of medications.

Ms Stinson says 50 per cent of women will suffer a UTI at some stage, along with one in 20 men.

Currently, sufferers must book an appointment with a GP to obtain a prescription for medication, and for many people this can mean days of pain and discomfort.

For those in country and remote areas, the wait may be much longer.

"Anyone who's ever experienced a UTI knows how excruciating it is," Ms Stinson said.

"It can suddenly stop you from being able to work, care for others, or enjoy activities.

"It's unreasonable for women to be regularly forced to endure this pain when we could allow trained pharmacists to provide swift diagnosis and treatment in many cases.

"There are also many women and men who can't access treatment, or can't access it quickly enough, who end up in our emergency departments with avoidable complications."

UTIs are commonly caused by bacteria in the urethra, bladder or kidneys and are often difficult to predict or prevent.

The infection causes intense pain during urination, and the constant sensation of needing to urinate.

If established, it is expected the committee would report back to parliament next year.