All states and territories are expected to integrate their real-time prescription monitoring by the end – if not the middle – of 2020, the Health Minister has said
Speaking to The Age on Thursday, a spokesperson for Greg Hunt said that a time frame has now been set for a national system.
Mr Hunt has reportedly written to all states and territories asking for integration of their systems to be made a priority.
As noted by The Age, while Victoria has its own SafeScript system, the ACT has integrated its monitoring into the Commonwealth system and Queensland is currently doing so, jurisdictions such as NSW and Western Australia do not yet have their own systems.
In NSW in particular, Pharmacy Guild state president David Heffernan has on several occasions expressed concern about his state’s lack of such a system.
Now, the Pharmacy Guild nationally has welcomed Mr Hunt’s comments about integrating a national system by the end of the year.
The Guild says that the introduction of national real time recording of controlled drugs would benefit vulnerable patients and provide significant clinical decision-making support for doctors and pharmacists.
A national, uniform real-time monitoring system will enable pharmacists to identify and support patients at risk of dependence and will also help to counter doctor shopping, the Guild said.
National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, George Tambassis said: “We wholeheartedly welcome Minister Hunt’s declaration that real time recording across Australia is a matter of priority”.
“Some States and Territories have already developed systems, but we need all jurisdictions on board and systems that talk to each other to ensure a nationally effective approach,” said Mr Tambassis.
“Victoria’s Safescript is evidence of the effectiveness of real time monitoring in reducing high-risk opioid doses. As a result of this program, high-risk opioid doses is reported to have decreased 25 per cent between April and October last year.
“Community pharmacists and the Guild stand ready to work with State and Territory Governments to make this a reality as soon as possible.
“We have to get this done,” Mr Tambassis said.