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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 Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021 and in accordance with a drug therapy protocol, primarily the Extended Practice Authority 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners' (PDF, 346 KB)

The Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021 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 Extended practice authorities.

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 Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021

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 or Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Health Service, within a defined isolated practice area is authorised to:

Column 1.
Dealing
Column 2.
Medicine
Column 3.
Scope of dealing

give a treatment dose (previously termed ‘supply’)

a medicine mentioned in the extended practice authority called ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners’

the medicine is given—

  • under the extended practice authority; and
  • in accordance with a practice plan for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander   health practitioner

repackage

a medicine mentioned in the extended practice authority called ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners’

the medicine is repackaged for giving a treatment dose under the extended practice authority

administer

a medicine mentioned in the extended practice authority called ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners’

the medicine is administered—

  • under the extended practice authority; and
  • in accordance with a practice plan for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander   health practitioner

give a purchase order

stock of a medicine mentioned in the extended practice authority called ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners’

the purchase order is given under the extended practice authority

possess

an S4 or S8 medicine mentioned in this column

the medicine is possessed for a purpose mentioned in this column

dispose

waste from a diversion-risk medicine mentioned in this column

 

The Extended Practice Authority ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners’ (EPA) (PDF, 346KB) applies to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner practising in an isolated practice area. It states the scope of activities with the regulated substances which an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner can carry out under the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021.

The EPA covers:

  • General conditions, including requirements for access and compliance to applicable health management protocols (HMPs).
  • The authority for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, including that medicines can only be administered or a treatment dose given on the prescription (oral or written) of a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or dentist (unless marked), by a specified route and under specified conditions, in line with a current HMP.
  • Requirements for health management protocols – for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners, the Primary clinical care manual and Chronic conditions manual are relevant HMPs.
  • List of acute care medicines including the name of the scheduled substance, the approved route of administration and restrictions/conditions.
  • List of chronic diseases medicines, including the name of the scheduled substance and approve route of administration.

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 Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021:

  • 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 Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021, 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

Trainees, including trainees or students completing the qualification leading to registration as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner, have authority to:

  • possess a medicine in line with authorisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners under the direct supervision of a person authorised to possess the medicine, other than a person who is another health trainee; or authorised to possess the medicine only under the supervision of someone else.
  • administer a medicine in line with authorisation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners under the direct supervision of a person authorised to administer the medicine, other than a person who is another health trainee; or authorised to possess the medicine only under the supervision of someone else

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

COVID-19 vaccination

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners are authorised to support the COVID-19 vaccination program including the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, as follows:

  • During the COVID-19 declared public health emergency, under the Emergency Order for Communicable Diseases Program, 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 administer a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Under the QLD COVID-19 Vaccination Emergency Order, registered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioners working in a clinical role in ANY location in Queensland are authorised to administer a COVID-19 vaccine or related drugs at Queensland Government controlled and Commonwealth Government controlled vaccination services. Mandatory training must be completed.

Contact us

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

Last updated: 30 September 2021