Speech Pathology led prescribing: What’s the process?

Maria Schwarz1, Professor Elizabeth Ward3, Anne Coccetti1, Katrina Dunn2, Dr Craig Bond2, Associate Professor Bernard  Whitfield1, Dr Marjoree Sehu1, Erin Lawlor2, Cal Winckel2

1Logan Hospital, Meadowbrook, Australia, 2West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, , Australia, 3Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Brisbane, Australia, 4Griffith University- Menzies Health Insitute, Brisbane, Australia, 5University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

There is increasing interest in non-medical prescribing due to growing health service demands, and documented benefits of allied health professionals working in advanced and extended scope of practice roles. Specifically, in the field of Speech Pathology (SP), there is potential to prescribe medications such as oral antifungal agents for treatment of oral thrush (for example nystatin), as well as topical anaesthetic (such as CoPhenylcaine Forte) to improve comfort when passing the nasendoscope during assessment or when changing a voice prosthesis. Whilst recent changes to the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (HDPR) now support allied health administration and prescribing in some instances, to date the process to implement SP prescribing services has not been described, nor has the safety and benefits of SP led prescribing model been implemented or evaluated.

In 2017, Logan Hospital received funding from the Allied Health Professions Office of Queensland to fund a two site (Logan Hospital and Ipswich Hospital) trial of SP led prescribing of two targeted medications under a research framework. The model requires completion of relevant training (provided by the Queensland University of Technology), approval by the Chief Health Officer of Queensland Health, as well as local health service credentialing. Using this process, a cohort of SPs will be credentialed to prescribe medications under a detailed protocol, supported by medical supervisors. The prospective research project will investigate the impact of speech pathology prescribing on patient safety, patient access and satisfaction with services provided and impacts on efficiency of service delivery and models of care.

This presentation will detail the initial stage of this research and outline the key requirements and processes to facilitate SP led prescribing and the barriers and learnings identified from two sites across Queensland Health. This information is integral to informing other sites on the establishment requirements for SP prescribing services.


Maria Schwarz is an advanced clinical speech pathologist in the acute and outpatient setting at Logan Hospital. Currently Maria is the project officer for Speech Pathology led prescribing as funded by the Allied Health Professions Office of Queensland. She has a keen interest in research that is applicable to the workplace and clinical setting and is currently undertaking her PhD at the University of Queensland.

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