Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2419 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
The Act establishes the power of the Chief Health Officer. On receiving an application from a medical practitioner to prescribe a drug of dependence, the Chief Heath Officer may grant or refuse the application, or refer it to the Drugs Advisory Committee for consideration. The Act requires that a medical practitioner submit a new application to the Chief Health Officer for approval to prescribe each time a change of dosage or strength of a drug of dependence is necessary for a person's treatment.
Experience over the years has made evident the need to amend the Act to improve patient care. Good management of pain associated with terminal illness, including cancer and HIV/AIDS, is essential. Pain control for terminally ill people involves careful assessment and repeated reassessment of the pain. Good pain management for these patients involves round the clock dosage with effective analgesics. A more flexible arrangement for the prescription of morphine would lead to better pain management. The Bill amends the Act to enable the Chief Health Officer to approve an application from a medical practitioner to prescribe morphine in various forms and dosages for patients with a terminal illness which has been diagnosed by a specialist medical practitioner who estimates that the person has less than one year to live. The Bill seeks to address any underprescribing that may be occurring for the treatment of pain in terminally ill patients.
The second matter the Bill addresses concerns the supply of a drug of dependence to a drug-dependent person in hospital. The Act provides that a medical practitioner shall not supply a drug of dependence to a drug-dependent person without the written approval of the Chief Health Officer. This may lead to difficulties if a drug-dependent person is admitted to hospital and needs immediate treatment. The Bill amends the Act to enable a medical practitioner or intern to supply a drug of dependence to a drug-dependent person for up to 14 days, provided the drug is used for the patient's treatment whilst in hospital. These two amendments to the Act will facilitate administrative procedures under the Act and lead to improved patient care.
Debate (on motion by Mr Wood) adjourned.
Proposed Select Committee
MS TUCKER (11.21): I move:
(1) a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into and report on the social, environmental and economic impacts of the proposed privatisation and franchising of ACTEW and the potential privatisation of other Territory owned Corporations and Government services, with particular reference to: