Breadcrumbs

PBS prescriptions in public hospitals and pharmaceutical reform

The South Australian Government has accepted a Commonwealth offer to participate in a process of pharmaceutical reforms in public hospitals. These reforms are being implemented to improve patient care.

The reforms comprise a dual outcome:

  1. Access to medicines via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for:
    • patients on discharge
    • patients attending outpatient clinics
    • a range of cancer chemotherapy drugs for day patients and outpatients.
  2. Implementation of the Australian Pharmaceutical Advisory Council’s (APAC) guiding principles to achieve continuity in medication management.

Key objectives

The key objectives of the reforms are to improve:

  • equity of access to medication for patients regardless of their place of care – public hospital, private hospital or community sector, and
  • safety and quality of medication management, including a smooth transition between hospital and community based care.

SA Health have developed the following fact sheets for clinicians involved in the distribution of medicines to consumers. The below list also highlights the key points that you as a health care professional  need to consider.

Community pharmacists

  • The hospital PBS prescription form may not be pre-printed with individual prescriber details – check the prescriber has written name and contact details (e.g. pager number), and prescriber number.
  • The hospital PBS prescription form is different from the community forms, but the top copy can be used for repeat authorisations.
  • Up to ten items can be written on the forms and can include PBS benefits (including authority items), controlled drugs and non-PBS items.
  • Hospital pharmacies cannot dispense community PBS prescriptions.
  • For problems with an individual prescription please contact the prescriber.

For more information view the fact sheet for Community pharmacists (PDF 620KB).

General practitioners

  • Doctors and dentists employed by participating public hospitals will be able to write PBS prescriptions for patients attending outpatient clinics, on discharge from hospital and when receiving chemotherapy as day patients or as outpatients.
  • Prescriptions can be for up to one month’s supply of medication, or the PBS maximum quantity, if this is clinically appropriate. For discharged patients this means that there will be more time to arrange a GP consultation before medication runs out.
  • Hospital doctors will only be prescribing medication that the patient requires an immediate supply of, not everything they are taking.
  • Repeats for PBS items will not usually be ordered, instead information will be sent to the patient’s GP for continuation of treatment.

For more information view the fact sheet for General practitioners (PDF 623KB).

Hospital prescribers

  • You will be required to provide your prescriber number to the hospital for recording on the information system to avoid the need for you to write it on each prescription.
  • If you do not have a prescriber number, you will be assisted with applying to Medicare Australia and attending training for writing PBS prescriptions.
  • You will only be able to write hospital PBS prescriptions for hospital patients.
  • Hospitals will be able to provide more timely access to new medications, including chemotherapy, once listed on the PBS.
  • The quantity and cost of medications supplied on a hospital PBS prescription will be the same as for a community PBS prescription.
  • All medications used by patients while in hospital will continue to be provided without charge.
  • Visit the Medicare web site to access PBS and You e-learning.

For more information view the fact sheet for Hospital prescriber (PDF 625KB).

Hospital pharmacy staff

  • Patients will receive appropriate quantities of medication on discharge.
  • There will be the same system for medication supply in hospital and the community.
  • There will be changes to work processes and new rules and regulations for dispensing and claiming PBS medicines.
  • Hospital pharmacy staff will need to become familiar with PBS rules, in particular for authority and restricted items.
  • Hospital pharmacists will contribute to enhanced patient outcomes through improving medication management.

For more information view the fact sheet for Hospital pharmacy staff (PDF 621KB).

Hospital staff

  • Hospitals will be able to provide more timely access to new medications, including chemotherapy, once listed on the PBS.
  • The quantity and cost of medications supplied on a hospital PBS prescription will be the same as for a community PBS prescription.
  • All medications used by patients while in hospital will continue to be provided without charge.

For more information view the fact sheet for Hospital staff (PDF 620KB).

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