Safescript To Save Lives In Western Victoria

Australia’s first comprehensive real-time prescription monitoring system being rolled out by the Andrews Labor Government will come online in Western Victoria from tomorrow.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy today joined clinicians at Ballarat Health Services to announce SafeScript would be rolled out from tomorrow across the Western Victoria Primary Health Network, and the rest of the state next year.

Prescription medicine dependency can happen to anybody, and deaths caused by prescription medicine misuse have outnumber the road toll in Victoria for the past six years. In 2017, 414 Victorian lives were lost due to prescription medicine overdoses.

Ms Hennessy was joined by tireless advocates Margaret and John Millington, whose son, Simon, died in 2010 because of a prescription medicine overdose. Since their son’s death, the Millingtons have campaigned for a real-time prescription monitoring system.

The experts say that “doctor shopping” is one of the ways patients with a prescription medication dependency are able to obtain an unsafe quantity of medication. SafeScript will ensure health professionals have finger-tip access to real-time information about their patients’ prescription history of monitored medicines.

More than 400 sites across the Western Victoria Primary Health Network catchment will be part of the SafeScript inaugural rollout, at locations including Ararat, Ballarat, Geelong, Maryborough, Stawell and Warrnambool – and many more.

The Labor Government has invested $29.5 million to implement SafeScript, including comprehensive training and support for health practitioners across Victoria.

A new awareness campaign has also been rolled out to highlight the potential dangers posed by some prescription medications, while a dedicated pharmaceuticals hotline offering free, expert and confidential advice is also available for people concerned about their risk of high-risk medicines.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“Too many Victorians have died from the misuse of prescription medicines. We’ve listened to the experts, who say this is the most effective way of arresting the scourge of prescription medication overdoses.”

“We promised the most comprehensive and cutting-edge real-time prescription monitoring system in Australia and that’s exactly what we’re rolling out.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“Prescription medicine dependency doesn’t discriminate. Thanks to SafeScript, doctors and pharmacists will have the critical information they need to keep their patients safe and prevent prescription medicine deaths.”