SafeScript is already saving lives, says the Victorian Government, while the Victorian Guild calls for urgent action in other jurisdictions
SafeScript, Victoria’s real-time monitoring system, went live in Western Victoria at the start of October and is set to be rolled out across the State in April next year.
In its first two months, SafeScript has alerted doctors and pharmacists in Western Victoria to almost 3,300 patients at risk of harm or overdose from visiting multiple clinics or pharmacies.
In 2017, 414 Victorian lives were lost due to prescription medicine overdoses.
The state Government highlights that SafeScript addresses doctor shopping by ensuring health professionals have real time information about their patients’ prescription history of monitored medicines.
More than 400 sites across the Western Victoria Primary Health Network catchment are part of SafeScript’s inaugural rollout, at locations including Ararat, Ballarat, Geelong, Maryborough, Stawell, Warrnambool and many more.
SafeScript is monitoring all Schedule 8 medicines such as morphine and oxycodone, and other medicines such as codeine and diazepam.
“We said SafeScript would save lives and that’s exactly what this cutting-edge program is doing,” says Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos. Prescription drug dependency can happen to anyone and the consequences can be tragic.
“Now, health professionals can access real-time information about a patient’s prescription history – and discuss with them the risks of using dangerous amounts of prescription medication.”
Pharmacy Guild Victorian Branch president Anthony Tassone said that from the beginning, the Guild has been strong advocates of the urgent need for real-time prescription monitoring and sufficient resourcing of treatment and support services to address drug dependency.
“The ongoing feedback we receive from our members is that SafeScript is an extremely useful tool to help make more informed decisions around the dispensing of monitored substances,” he told the AJP.
“It has also helped pharmacists and doctors have important conversations not only amongst each other but with their patients on how best to manage their care and minimise risk.
“The time for waiting is over: other States and Territories simply must implement a comprehensive real-time prescription monitoring system for the sake of minimising harm and saving lives. The evidence is already in, and will continue to be demonstrated.”