First GPs to trial real-time prescription monitoring system in Victoria

Doug Hendrie

4/09/2018 4:30:57 PM

The SafeScript program rolls out next month and will be mandatory by 2020.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy calls SafeScript a ‘cutting-edge real-time prescription monitoring system’.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy calls SafeScript a ‘cutting-edge real-time prescription monitoring system’.

GPs in western Victoria will be the first in the country to test out a large-scale real-time prescription monitoring system, as the state moves to tackle a growing spate of deaths from addictive legal drugs.
The SafeScript program will become available to GPs across the Western Victoria Primary Health Network from October, ahead of a state-wide roll-out next year that will cover 6000 GPs.
The move brings Victoria a step closer to the long-sought goal of real-time prescription monitoring, which is designed to cut down on doctor-shopping by patients addicted to potent pharmaceuticals.
The state moved to implement the program in part due to a campaign led by Margaret Millington from western Victoria, who lost her son to a prescription drug overdose in 2010.
Last year, 414 Victorians died from prescription drug overdoses, while 1045 people aged between 15–64 died from overdoses nationally in 2016. 
SafeScript gives doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists access to real-time information on the prescription histories of the patient standing in front of them. The system will monitor Schedule 8 medicines such as morphine and oxycodone – the most dangerous and addictive – as well as other medications, including codeine and diazepam, which have a high risk of misuse.  
When GPs write prescriptions for the drugs being monitored, information will be sent through either the Medisecure or eRx script exchange and be kept on record. The GP will be alerted when a patient has been previously prescribed one of the drugs being monitored.
The $30 million program comes after Victoria decided to go its own way rather than join a proposed national program.
Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said SafeScript would save lives.
‘Too many Victorians have died from the misuse of prescription medications,’ she said.
‘We promised the most comprehensive and cutting-edge real-time prescription monitoring system in Australia and that’s exactly what we’re rolling out.’
SafeScript will become mandatory in Victoria by 2020, and a national real-time prescription monitoring system has been promised by the end of 2018.
The national model is based on Tasmania’s monitoring system, DORA – Drugs and Poisons Information System Online Remote Access – which has been operating since 2012 as an opt-in program.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council meeting in April saw health ministers agree that different state systems could be used as long as they were interoperable with the proposed national system.

real-time prescription monitoring safescript schedule 8

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