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New South Wales slashes red tape for medicinal cannabis


Amanda Lyons 2/03/2018 3:09:47 PM

New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt have announced a significant overhaul of the application process for medicinal cannabis in NSW.

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New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard has made it easier to access medicinal cannabis in his state.

Medicinal cannabis has been available in NSW since August 2016, but the process through which doctors could prescribe it has been complex and time-consuming, requiring multiple application forms and approvals from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the NSW Health Department. However, New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard’s overhaul has reduced the application process to a single approval which occurs within two days.
 
‘It’s taking a machete to the red tape, not just cutting it,’ Minister Hazzard said. ‘I have been as frustrated­ as many of those who would like to use [medicinal cannabis] and many of those who think it should be available.’
 
RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel is supportive of the Minister’s decision.
 
‘Minister Hazzard’s changes are welcomed by frustrated GPs and their patients,’ Dr Seidel told newsGP.
 
‘For too long there has been too much political interference in patient access to medicinal cannabis. Today’s announcement removes some of this interference and brings NSW patients a step closer to an efficient and sensible process for access.
 
‘If I have a patient who has tried all standard treatment options without success, I should be able to consider prescribing medicinal cannabis as a viable treatment option without having to wait months.’
 
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has indicated the changes in NSW could be replicated throughout the country.
 
‘This approach by NSW to cut red tape and remove barriers is a template for other states to follow,’ he said. ‘Strong safeguards remain in place to access medicinal cannabis, but this move ends a duplication of regulatory requirements­.’
 
Dr Seidel is similarly hopeful that the NSW decision will lead to the development of a nationally consistent framework on medicinal cannabis.
 
‘It is about time we make this work for all Australians, regardless of where they live,’ he said.
 
‘Your postcode should never determine your access to appropriate healthcare, and that includes access to medicinal cannabis.’


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