Medicinal cannabis medicines can be prescribed for patients as a result of federal legislative changes which came into effect in November 2016.
Many prescribers and health professionals know little about the clinical application of medicinal cannabis for a number of reasons, including the scarcity of contemporary research in this area. Following systematic reviews by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and work across several Australian Universities to assess the clinical evidence for the use, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has published guidance documents to educate and inform health professionals who are interested in medicinal cannabis as a treatment option for their patients. These cover five particular clinical areas; specifically multiple sclerosis, chronic non-cancer pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in cancer, epilepsy and palliative care. There is also an overarching summary document for both health professionals and patients providing information about side effects of medicinal cannabis treatment and general cautions.
SA Health continues to aid awareness and education for health professionals and consumers through the provision of up-to-date and balanced information. You can find out more about prescribing medicinal cannabis in South Australia, and links to other resources such as fact sheets here.
The Commonwealth Department of Health invited HCA and a broad group of consumer representatives to engage in the Medicinal Cannabis consumer consultation, held in Melbourne on Thursday 18 May 2017.
Information was provided on medicinal cannabis government policy, and recent regulatory developments.
The review of clinical evidence for efficacy of medical cannabis was presented and the development of draft clinical guidelines for clinicians for the use of medicinal cannabis was discussed. The regulatory systems for patient access and patient access schemes were also discussed. The consultation provided the opportunity to raise issues, and for concerned patient groups to ask questions.
Consumers led a discussion about what information they need now and how best this should be communicated in a timely fashion.
You can find more information on Medicinal Cannabis on the Office of Drug Control website here.
HCA is exploring the opportunity of having a similar forum.
SA Health is committed to ensuring South Australians have access to the optimal range of safe and effective treatments and services to promote the best health outcomes for patients and the community
SA Health recently undertook public and targeted consultation about patient access to medicinal cannabis in South Australia. This took into account the national legislative framework established by the Commonwealth to facilitate appropriate patient access to certain medicinal cannabis products for medical conditions where there is evidence to support its use.
Following the consultation a patient access pathway for medicinal cannabis has been developed which is aligned with the existing legislated requirements for Schedule 8 medicines (noting one medicinal cannabis derivative, cannabidiol, is a Schedule 4 product and can be prescribed as such). Under the pathway, patients in South Australia can be supplied medicinal cannabis products prescribed by their medical specialist and dispensed by a pharmacist.
A section 18A authority from the Drugs of Dependence Unit (DDU) is only required for treatment longer than 2 months, or before commencing treatment where the person is already prescribed a Schedule 8 drug (for a period exceeding 2 months) and for any person the medical practitioner reasonably believes to be dependent on drugs.
Detailed information about the SA Health patient access pathway, the approval process, product information, evidence base and FAQs is available on the SA Health website here.
The South Australian Government is introducing a new model of governance and accountability in the public health system. A cornerstone of the new model will be the introduction of governing boards for Local Health Networks. There will be ten governing boards in South Australia, one for each of the four current Local Health Networks (three metropolitan and one state-wide), and six governing boards covering the six new Local Health Networks in Country Health SA. Hon Stephen Wade MLC has asked HCA to provide feedback on the Health Care (Governance) Amendment Bill 2018, as changes to legislation are required to implement the board governance structure.
The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Ageing Advisory Group (ATSIAAG) have released a report: Assuring equity of access and quality outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: What needs to be done. The report summarises the proceedings and outcomes of the 5th National Workshop of the AAG and ATSIAAG, held in Perth on 7 November 2017. The workshop aimed to address the apparent inequities of access and outcomes for older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples under the current aged care reform program, and suggest directions for the future. You can download the full report here.
Health Consumers Alliance of SA Inc (HCA) held a consumer forum, Summary Framework for the State Public Health Plan 2019 - 2024, on Tuesday 29 May 2018. The objectives of the forum were to provide consumers the opportunity to:
1. learn more about the draft Plan and the role of public health
2. share their views about what a healthier South Australia looks like to them
3. help shape the development of the draft State Public Health Plan, which will set the direction for public health and wellbeing in South Australia over the next five years.
The event report can be found below.
The draft State Public Health Plan 2019 – 2024 is available for download here.
The Registry of Older South Australians (ROSA) is the product of the Health Ageing Research Consortium, which is a cross sectoral partnership of researchers, consumers, aged care providers and consumer advocacy groups. HCA is a consortium partner and co-chair of the consumer engagement group. ROSA is a unique data resource that will support evidence-driven decision-making to improve the lives of all South Australians accessing aged care service. ROSA was designed to monitor the health, service utilisation, medication use, mortality and other outcomes of people receiving aged care services in South Australia. You can view the first ROSA report below.
Consumers Health Forum (CHF) in partnership with NPS MedicineWise have jointly published a comprehensive report on engaging consumers in their health data journey. The report was generated through qualitative interviews, literature reviews, a round table discussion with key stakeholders and consumer representatives, and a nationally representative survey of 1,013 Australians.The overall results indicate that Australians want control over their health data and information. You can find out more here.
Thursday 5 July 2018
9.00am – 12.00pm
Level 1/12 Pirie Street, Adelaide
Monday 13 – Wednesday 15 August 2018
The 11th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference will be hosted at the Adelaide Convention Centre this year with the theme ‘No one left behind’. The conference is inspired by the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development and its focus on inclusion and health for all. The program will showcase and critically examine ways to effectively reach everyone living with viral hepatitis, while being inclusive of their experiences and concerns. There will be presentations on the latest research and an opportunity to network with peers. You can find out more and register here.
Monday 23 – Thursday 26 July 2018
The 2018 National Suicide Prevention Conference will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre. The focus of the conference will centre around quality - in research, practice and speaking about lived experience. The program has been designed to to focus on quality as the foundation to enhance implementation of suicide prevention at the community level. You can find out more here.
Tuesday 28 – Friday 31 August 2018
Early bird registrations are open for the Mental Health Services (TheMHS) Conference. The Conference aims to provide a platform for debate that challenges present knowledge and ideas about mental health care and current mental health systems across Australia and New Zealand. There will be presentations from both public and private sectors of the mental health community. The theme of the conference promotes collaborative research, practice, policy-making and education. You can view the conference brochure here and register to attend here.
Friday 14 - Sunday 16 September 2018
The Australian Psychosis Conference will bring together researchers, clinicians, consumers and carers, with an interest in best outcomes for people with psychotic illness. The conference will have parallel streams, covering the latest research, discussions on best practice and treatment, and debate on how to encourage recovery. You can find out more here.