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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 7 June 2018) . . Page.. 2199 ..

been put in place to guard against unlawful or inappropriate access or use of information from the database.

These protections limit the use of DORA only to health practitioners that are involved in prescribing and supply of monitored medicines such as doctors, pharmacists and some nurse practitioners. Health professionals will be notified of their obligations and ACT Health staff will closely monitor the access and use of the database and take action against any person found to be using patient information unlawfully.

Any misuse of DORA may result in the ACT government taking action to initiate prosecution, limit a person’s access to DORA or limit a health professional’s authority to practise or deal with medicines.

Tasmania is currently the only jurisdiction to have an operational prescription monitoring scheme that health professionals may access, and the ACT plans to follow suit by March next year. ACT pharmacists are currently required to report controlled medicine supply information at least every seven days to ACT Health. This reporting frequency provides valuable and timely information for public health monitoring purposes.

However, I would like to improve the information supply further. To achieve this, a regulatory amendment will be prepared to mandate daily reporting by pharmacists. ACT Health will work closely with pharmacy stakeholders to progress this. Their involvement will be important to ensuring a practical and reasonable regulatory amendment is reached, to further improve the frequency and reliability of reporting. I thank in particular the Pharmacy Guild for working with the government on this.

The legislation will also allow the Minister for Health and Wellbeing to declare that information about the supply of other prescription medicines be reported to ACT Health. This option would be used where there is evidence that a medicine is causing harm to the community and where the collection of data could assist in preventing that harm. I am also committed to engage with stakeholders to consult on whether mandatory use of DORA by doctors and pharmacists could be implemented once a nationally compatible scheme is available.

This bill is a significant step forward in protecting the ACT community and supporting our health professionals to access DORA. But this is not the final step. I will continue to advocate for the commonwealth to lead the implementation of a national prescription monitoring scheme as the most effective way to minimise the economic, individual and community consequences of the abuse, misuse and diversion of medicines. The ACT is working towards adopting the national scheme when it is ready to be rolled out, and we look forward to significant progress on this throughout the year.

The bill is an important initiative to help protect our community from medicine misuse, abuse and diversion in line with best practice recommendations of state and territory coroners and the national drug strategy. Tasmania has already seen a reduction in deaths and I hope we can also see a positive change here in the ACT.

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