Department of Health

Legislation and regulation

Mandatory use of SafeScript

After an 18 month introductory period to allow health practitioners to familiarise themselves with the system, it will be mandatory to check SafeScript prior to writing or dispensing a prescription for a high-risk medicine. This follows worldwide best practice, as mandatory systems adopted in other countries have shown to provide greater reduction in harms from high-risk prescription medicines.

Mandatory use of SafeScript is supported by key organisations, including the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and ScriptWise, and was endorsed by the expert advisory group. The system will be designed to be as quick and easy to use as possible so that patient care remains the key focus.

There will be exceptions in some circumstances, including when treating patients in hospitals, prisons, police gaols, aged care and palliative care.

SafeScript Expert Advisory Group

The Victorian Government recognises the importance of ongoing consultation to ensure the successful implementation of SafeScript. An expert advisory group has been established and meet regularly to advise the Victorian Government on key policy and implementation aspects that may impact on both patients and health professionals.

The advisory group comprises representation from:

  • Australian Medical Association
  • Chapter of Addiction Medicine, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • Faculty of Pain Medicine, Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
  • Medical Software Industry Association
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
  • Pharmacy Guild of Australia
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • Rural Doctors Association of Victoria
  • ScriptWise – a consumer advocacy group
  • Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
  • Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association
  • Victorian Primary Health Networks.

SafeScript legislation

The legislative framework underpinning the implementation of SafeScript was passed through Parliament in October 2017. The key aspects of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Real-time Prescription Monitoring) Act 2017 are:

  • provisions to mandate the use of SafeScript
  • monitoring of Schedule 8 medicines, and scope to include other high-risk medicines (such as benzodiazepines) via regulations
  • streamlining of current regulatory requirements for prescribers relating to Schedule 8 permits when SafeScript is used.

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Real-time Prescription Monitoring) Act 2017 has been incorporated into the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981. Both of these may be viewed at www.legislation.vic.gov.au.

Regulatory Impact Statement and proposed Regulations

The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Real-time Prescription Monitoring) Act 2017 established the overarching legislative framework for SafeScript and allowed for the making of regulations to support the primary legislation. The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Real-time Prescription Monitoring) Regulations 2018 came into effect on 2 July 2018.

The regulations prescribe certain matters needed to implement an effective real-time prescription monitoring system in Victoria. These include:

  • who is required to provide records to SafeScript
  • what the records must contain
  • which medicines are monitored in SafeScript
  • the exceptions to the requirement to check SafeScript when use of the system becomes mandatory
  • the requirement to record the patient date of birth when prescribing or dispensing a medicine that is monitored in SafeScript.

Public consultation on the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Real-time Prescription Monitoring) Regulations 2018 and Regulatory Impact Statement took place in February 2018. All submissions were considered in the making of the regulations.

A summary of the public submissions and the Department of Health and Human Services’ responses to the submissions are available on the links below.

 

 

 

Reviewed 03 May 2018

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SafeScript initiative

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