SafeScript is now online across the state of Victoria after its successful introduction in Western Victoria last October.
Described as “Australia’s most comprehensive real-time prescription monitoring system”, it gives doctors, nurses and pharmacists access to up-to-the-minute information on the prescription history of their patients for high-risk medicines.
Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos made the announcement this week. “The state-wide rollout of the SafeScript system will save lives and keep even more people at risk safe from harm,” she said.
In 2017, more than 400 Victorian lives were lost due to prescription medicine overdoses. In fact, deaths due to prescription medicines have outnumbered the road toll in Victoria for the past six years.
SafeScript monitors all Schedule 8 medicines such as morphine and oxycodone, and other high-risk medicines such as codeine and diazepam. Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley said: “Prescription medicine dependency can happen to anyone. Too many lives have been tragically cut short due to the harms from some prescription medicines. Each loss is one too many.”
Do date, the Andrews Labor government has invested $29.5 million to implement SafeScript, including training and support for health professionals. In just six months, says the government, the system has alerted health professionals at more than 400 sites across Western Victoria to about 4,500 patients at risk of harm of overdose from visiting multiple clinics or pharmacies.
The system is now online for all Victorian doctors and pharmacists and there are currently more than 7,500 health professionals registered and using it. More are signing up at a rate of 300 new health professionals each week.
Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s Victoria President, Anthony Tassone said: “The Guild has been a long-time supporter and advocate of real-time prescription monitoring.
“Following the successful pilot in Western Victoria, it is pleasing to see the state-wide rollout of SafeScript so that more doctors and pharmacists can work collaboratively to reduce harm for patients under their care.”
Meanwhile, a public-awareness campaign has launched in Victoria to highlight the potential dangers posed by prescription medicines and to reduce the stigma of dependency.
There’s also free and confidential advice available by calling the 24-hour SafeScript Pharmaceutical Helpline on 1800 737 233.