Aged and palliative care to be exempt from QScript

2 minute read

The Queensland branch of the AMA is celebrating proposed amendments to the medicine monitoring program.

GPs prescribing monitored medicines to patients in residential aged care or end-of-life care – including voluntary assisted dying patients – will no longer have to check QScript under draft legislative changes.

The proposed amendments to the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021 look to introduce the first exemptions to mandatory checks of the real-time prescription monitoring software.

Under the current rules, which were designed to stop patients with addiction from doctor-shopping, healthcare professionals must look up a patient on QScript before prescribing, dispensing or administering a monitored medicine.

Monitored medicines include opioids, benzodiazepines, sleeping aids and stimulants, as well as substances like ketamine and pregabalin.

Queensland Health conducted a consultation on the relatively new program around a year ago and was told in no uncertain terms that the current requirements were an administrative burden in settings like aged care.

Its proposed solution lists 12 scenarios in which healthcare workers would be exempt from checking QScript.

Just two are directly relevant to general practice.

The first is an exemption for GPs working in a residential aged care facility writing a National Residential Medication Chart in an instance where the medicine will be dispensed by a community pharmacy and administered by residential home staff.

The second is for doctors working at a correctional facility prescribing to a prisoner.

“AMA Queensland welcomes the reforms as evidence that Queensland Health has heard our members’ concerns about QScript and the need to cut unnecessary red tape that wastes clinicians’ valuable time,” the organisation said.

“We anticipate the changes will significantly alleviate the regulatory burden on both hospitalists and general practitioners.”

Palliative care specialists providing end-of-life care are also exempt, as are pharmacists dispensing medicine for the purpose of voluntary assisted dying.

Consultation on the proposed changes closes on Friday 23 February.

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