You may have heard these four letters quite a bit lately. That’s because the implementation of a Real Time Prescription Monitoring (or ‘RTPM’) system is rolling out nationally.
Each state and territory in Australia is at a different stage of setting up and implementing RTPM. Some jurisdictions, like Victoria, have already implemented theirs while others are working towards rolling out their system in the near future.
Painaustralia has been consulting consumers and providing advice in the development of these systems.
We are currently members of the NSW and ACT Real Time Prescription Monitoring steering committees. We also recently published a blog about RTPM (here) and we have also provided a submission into the NSW Government’s consultation on their RTPM system rollout. Our submission, which can be found here, outlines our broad concerns about the rollout and its impact on consumers, which are equally relevant for other jurisdictions. Key points include:
implementation supported by funding for additional services
consistency across jurisdictions
the approach taken by prescribers to people living with chronic pain, including pain management referral options, and
incorporating existing resources such as the National Pain Services Directory in the development of education and training materials.
RTPM systems are intended to reduce harm resulting from the misuse and abuse of various drugs. However, people with chronic pain are not misusing or abusing them and, in the words of one of the consumers in our network, ‘aren’t drug addicts’. People living with chronic pain may be ‘flagged’ as at risk and the prescriber may consider denying them their medication, particularly if they’re not seeing their regular GP.
The ACT and NSW Governments are certainly making an effort to ensure these issues are considered and hopefully they will be addressed in the roll out.