RACGP backs plan to provide access to medicinal cannabis within 48 hours

Morgan Liotta

11/04/2018 2:31:13 PM

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel has applauded the Federal Government’s proposed plan to allow patients access to medicinal cannabis products within 48 hours.

Dr Bastian Seidel believes GPs are in an excellent position to prescribe medicinal cannabis, without the need to refer to other specialists for approval to prescribe.
Dr Bastian Seidel believes GPs are in an excellent position to prescribe medicinal cannabis, without the need to refer to other specialists for approval to prescribe.

The Federal Government this morning proposed a nationally consistent approval process that would see eligible patients able to gain access to medicinal cannabis within 48 hours.
The proposal, which is partly in response to the RACGP’s advice to streamline the application process and introduce a nationwide approach, is scheduled to be submitted at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting this Friday.
RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel firmly believes this change will help to improve quality of life and ease GPs’ frustration when it comes to the process of prescribing medicinal cannabis.
‘Prime Minister Turnbull’s proposal brings us a step closer to Australian GPs’ commitment to a nationally consistent framework for medicinal cannabis access,’ he told newsGP.
Dr Seidel described the current application process for medicinal cannabis access as onerous and lengthy, and believes it does not place adequate value on the role specialist GPs play.
‘GPs are in an excellent position to prescribe medicinal cannabis, without the need to refer to other specialists for approval to prescribe,’ he said. ‘Patients and doctors should not have to jump through hoops and wait months to access a drug that may improve a patient’s quality of life.
The new prescribing rules would involve a single-approval process for allowing patients to access medicinal cannabis under the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) – a significant change from the current situation, which varies across states and territories and involves an average two-day turnaround for decisions on applications.
Although supportive of the decision by the Federal Government – and the significant positive outcomes it should bring to Australian healthcare – Dr Seidel is also aware that medicinal cannabis is an emerging field and there is still confusion about who can access the drug.
‘Medicinal cannabis is never the first line of treatment for any medical condition, but there is substantial evidence that it might be the treatment of last resort for some patients,’ he said.
‘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.’
‘Prime Minister Turnbull’s proposal is compassionate, logical, and the only way forward for Australian GPs and their patients.’

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Kevin Sammon   12/04/2018 7:38:50 AM

Thank you for this article I know of a few instances where Medical Cannabis Oil has helped with suffering eg Chemotherapy and epilepsy , great to see positive support.

Simone Merkin   13/04/2018 6:50:52 AM

The 2017 Australian NDARC Report stated that at best 1 person in 22 will get 30 % pain relief from cannabinoid products. Why the big RACGP push ?

Daniel Byrne   13/04/2018 7:37:31 AM

Is there a role for the RACGP to help GPs regarding the details of actual products that are legal and available ie brand names, costs, indications. I honestly would not know where to start.

Dr Arshad Merchant   13/04/2018 7:41:37 AM

Has RACGP lost the plot?? What I am seeing a rather valuing GP work and helping it recognised and valued, we are portrayed as writing assistant clerk for scripts and referrals. Where none of specialist are taking the onus of their job, GP land is becoming a dumping ground. Unless RACGP won't recognise this epidemic, the problem will become ICE and Asbestos. Please draw a line and recognise the limitation of GPs

Dr Samuel Komakech   13/04/2018 9:39:33 AM

if a patient has already tried all remedies and the suffering is not alleviated it is most appropriate to refer. What is the push for medicinal cannabis all about in GP land. Which Grade A studies have shown evidence of the safe use of medicinal cannabis in primary care physicians? This move is not needed and perhaps it is better to fast track such referrals for specialist care.

Dr Ayesha Malik Brisbane   13/04/2018 7:21:35 PM

I worked as a locum all over Australia for 4 years. My worst clinics were the druggies clinics where I had no choice but to renew the relieving GPs Poly pharmacy scripts, Valium temaz with antidepressants all for one obese patient who is also on CPAP.Every time if I had time to call DDU ,all patients had scripts from other clinics in last 48 hours . One of the patients told me His friends take these S8 drugs and sell them ,that’s their main source of Income.One Mother told me how his son died as he boiled fentanyl patch in saucepan , took morphine out and injected in veins and died of air embolism. She said to me he got that Fentanyl script from his GP for his Fake back pain.I still remember the agony in her eyes when she looked at me .
Now I am working In Logan .I ask all patients One standard Routine question How often do u smoke marijuana-99% answer is daily . These are the patients who are already on antidepressants ,gabapentin , Valium ,Asthma puffers and smoke cigarettes but Still not feeling 100%.Cannabis is the last blow the Australian nation needs after Codiene Addiction .Letting GPs prescribe Cannabis will promote daily misuse of Marijuana. Cannabis has medicinal role but I will suggest let specliast Neurologist, Palliative care ,Pain medicine/ Psychriatist, let them decide the Last resort treatment for these patients. Kindly No Cannabis for primary care GP as few of the GPs will build their patient database on basis of cannabis with Mental health care plan/ chronic pain care plan and they will Rort the Medicare ... Let Us refer these patients so there is control on cannabis —

Paul   14/04/2018 10:58:35 AM

About time the medical establishment got on board

Peter   25/04/2018 12:35:50 PM

A question for Dr Malik, "How many of the patients who use Cannabis have died from overdosing on it compared to those who have died from abuse of other medications?".
Even a layman like me can see the flaws in your reasoning.
I hope you or someone else will give an honest answer. Trust in the medical establishment is dwindling rapidly for obvious reasons.