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Using medicines as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner

Scheduled medicines authorities

From 1 November 2018, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners in Queensland, working in isolated practice areas are authorised to use scheduled medicines under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 and in accordance with a drug therapy protocol, primarily the Drug therapy protocol – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners Isolated Practice Area (PDF, 102KB).

The Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 provides the authorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners to use schedules medicines, and specifies the circumstances and conditions for use.

For more information refer to Guiding legislation and drug therapy protocols

Summary of the circumstances and conditions to use scheduled medicines

The following information is a summary only and practice must be guided by the provisions of the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.

A registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner employed in an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner position by a Hospital and Health Service or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service, within a defined isolated practice area is authorised to:

  1. In accordance with the Drug Therapy Protocol—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner Isolated Practice Area (PDF, 102KB), health management protocol approved in the individual Practice plan:
    1. Administer or supply an S2 or S3 poison
    2. Obtain, possess and administer a controlled drug on the oral or written instruction of a doctor or nurse practitioner;
    3. Obtain, possess, administer and supply a restricted drug on the oral or written instruction of a doctor, nurse practitioner or dentist.
  2. Administer or supply a restricted drug during a declared public health emergency relating to an infectious medical condition under the Communicable disease drug therapy protocol (PDF, 71KB)
  3. Administer or supply a restricted drug while an influenza emergency declaration is in force under the Pandemic influenza program drug therapy protocol (PDF, 71KB)
  4. Administer the following restricted drugs without the oral or written instruction of a doctor, nurse practitioner or dentist:
    1. a fluoride varnish
    2. box jellyfish anti-venom
    3. S4 ipratropium
    4. S4 salbutamol.

A full list of definitions can be found in Appendix 9 of the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.

Areas where scheduled medicines authorities apply

Health services

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner must be employed within a Hospital and Health Service and/or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service, with an endorsed Practice plan, to use scheduled medicines.

Under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service means a service for maintaining, improving, restoring or managing the health of Aboriginal people or Torres Strait Islanders provided by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation; or a registered entity under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Commonwealth).
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation mean a corporation registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Commonwealth).
  • Hospital and Health Service means a Hospital and Health Service established under the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011.

Isolated practice areas

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner will only have authority to use scheduled medicines in isolated practice areas if approved and defined in the individual Practice plan.

Under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996, Isolated Practice Area means:

  1. a place that is at Cow Bay, Mapoon or Weipa; or
  2. a place that is—
    1. within—
      1. the area of a local government that is Aurukun, Balonne, Banana, Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall Tambo, Boulia, Bulloo, Burke, Carpentaria, Central Highlands, Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Cook, Croydon, Diamantina, Doomadgee, Douglas, Etheridge, Flinders, Hope Vale, Isaac, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Longreach, Maranoa, Mareeba, McKinlay, Mornington, Mount Isa, Murweh, Napranum, North Burnett, Northern Peninsula Area, Palm Island, Paroo, Pormpuraaw, Quilpie, Richmond, Tablelands, Torres, Torres Strait Island,Western Downs, Winton, Woorabinda, Wujal Wujal, Yarrabah (refer to map of local government area boundaries (PDF, 471KB))

      2. AND

      3. remote from pharmaceutical services; or
    2. remote from pharmaceutical services; or
  3. a clinic conducted by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland section) in an area isolated from medical, pharmaceutical and hospital services.

Note: the Practice plan restricts supply of medicines by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners in Weipa Town Centre.

Student Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners

A student undergoing the necessary training to become an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner, while training in an isolated practice area in a Hospital and Health Service or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service, in accordance with the Drug therapy protocol—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heal Practitioner Isolated Practice Area (PDF, 102KB) can:

  • administer an S2 or S3 poison under the personal supervision of an authorised person in a relevant occupation
  • possess a restricted drug or a controlled drug under the direction of an authorised person in a relevant occupation
  • administer a restricted drug or a controlled drug under the personal supervision of an authorised person in a relevant occupation.

A student is not required to have an individual Practice plan.

An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner student is referred to as a 'trainee' in the Health (drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.

An authorised person in a relevant occupation is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner, an Indigenous Health Worker, a doctor, a dentist, a registered nurse or a midwife that is authorised under the conditions of the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 and has an agreed scope of practice to perform and supervise the activity.

Refer to Appendix 9 Dictionary in the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996.

Contact us

For more information about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner workforce, email ATSIHP@health.qld.gov.au.

Last updated: 11 September 2019