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Victoria rolls out real-time prescription monitoring system

Australia’s most comprehensive real-time prescription monitoring system goes online across Victoria to keep thousands more Victorians, at risk of overdose, safe from harm.

According to a recent press release, the full rollout of SafeScript was announced by Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos after the cutting-edge system was successfully introduced in Western Victoria last October.

Preventing overdose and dependency

SafeScript gives doctors, nurses and pharmacists access to real-time information on the prescription history of their patients for high-risk medicines.

It is computer software that allows prescription records to be transmitted in real-time to a centralised database.

This database is accessible to doctors and pharmacists during a consultation.

The records are obtained automatically via an electronic transfer of prescriptions through a Prescription Exchange Service (PES) when a prescription is issued or dispensed at a medical clinic or pharmacy.

No data entry is required.

The clinical tool will aid in making safer decisions, particularly helping people at risk to break their dependency.

It will facilitate the early identification, treatment and support for patients who are developing signs of dependence.

Prescription medicines causing greatest harm to the community will be monitored through the database.

This includes Schedule 8 medicines and other high risk medicines such as benzodiazepines, zolpidem or zopiclone, quetiapine and codeine.

The Minister shared that the state-wide roll out of the SafeScript system will save lives and keep even more people at risk safe from harm.

Background of SafeScript

The Victorian Government has invested A$ 29.5 million to implement SafeScript, including training and support for health professionals.

Within 6 months, the system has alerted health professionals at more than 400 sites across Western Victoria to around 4,500 patients at risk of overdose from visiting multiple clinics or pharmacies.

Now, more lives will be saved with the system going online for all Victorian doctors and pharmacists.

There are now more than 7,500 health professionals registered and using the system. More are signing up, with 300 new health professionals registering to use SafeScript each week.

Moreover, the software is recording one new prescription every five seconds.

Meanwhile, a public awareness campaign is being rolled out across Victoria to highlight the potential dangers posed by prescription medicines and reduce the stigma of dependency.

More deaths than road accidents

In 2017, more than 400 Victorian lives were lost due to prescription medicine overdoses. Deaths due to prescription medicines have outnumbered the road toll in Victoria for the past six years.

According to the Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley, 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.

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