Reporting patient harms from UTI pilot

In the absence of any formal reporting mechanisms developed by Queensland Health, doctors who treat patients for complications from the government’s urinary tract infection (UTI) pharmacy prescribing pilot can report cases to the Office of the Health Ombudsman.

The UTI pilot becomes permanent from 1 October 2022, meaning participating pharmacists across the state will be able to autonomously diagnose, treat and prescribe and sell antibiotics for the condition.

AMA Queensland continues to oppose this dangerous experiment with women’s health and patient safety and its planned extension across North Queensland to 23 other serious conditions.

Doctors identified at least 240 cases of patient complications from the pilot, including misdiagnoses and hospitalisations, when we surveyed them earlier this year.

Unlike clinical trials, this trial did not include a mechanism for doctors to report harms. We asked Queensland University of Technology (QUT), which managed and implemented the UTI pilot, for details of the pathway for doctors and patients to report adverse outcomes.

QUT has now advised doctors to report their concerns to the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO).

The OHO requires the following information to make a complaint on behalf of another person using this OHO form:

  • Patient name and date of birth (patient consent is not required to lodge a complaint)
  • Pharmacy (specific pharmacist is not required)
  • Approximate date of treatment (e.g. month and year)
  • Brief description of the complication or harm:
    • including practice/hospital at which patient presented to you with complication/s.

Doctors can make an anonymous complaint or request their personal details be withheld.

AMA Queensland will continue to advocate against the expansion of the UTI pilot and the proposed North Queensland trial due to the threat both pose to patients.

We have written to the Health Ombudsman outlining our concerns for ongoing and future patient harm if the UTI and North Queensland pilots go ahead.

The Ombudsman has agreed to meet with the AMA Queensland President and CEO.

More information is available on our website.