QScript is enabled by the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019.
The Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 gives the head of power for the establishment of the real-time prescription monitoring system, called QScript.
The Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021:
- specifies the S4 and S8 medicines, known as monitored medicines, captured by QScript
- specifies the health practitioners required to check QScript before prescribing, dispensing or giving a treatment dose of a monitored medicine for a patient
- requires dispensers (other than dispensers practicing in public sector hospital) to upload monitored medicine dispensing records to QScript.
Monitored medicines have a recognised therapeutic use but may also present a high risk of physical, mental and social harms. It is Queensland Health’s responsibility to regulate access to and encourage the safe use of monitored medicines.
Requirement to check QScript
A ‘relevant practitioner’ in Queensland – medical practitioner, pharmacist, intern pharmacist, nurse practitioner, endorsed midwife, dentist, podiatric surgeon or endorsed podiatrist – must check QScript for patient records before:
- prescribing a monitored medicine for a patient
- dispensing a monitored medicine for a patient
- giving a treatment dose of a monitored medicine for a patient.
If a relevant practitioner is using QScript-integrated clinical software and a red notification or amber notification is displayed, they must view the patient's QScript record to meet the legislative requirement to check QScript.
Green notifications mean no matching patient record has been found in QScript and no alerts have been triggered by the proposed prescribe/dispense event. Green notifications contain a link that directs users to the patient search screen in case the user would like to manually search for a patient record (although there is no legal requirement to do this).
If a relevant practitioner is unable to check QScript (e.g. internet issues), they should:
- make a clinical judgement about appropriate treatment based on the information available to them
- document that they were unable to use QScript and the reason why.
The decision on whether to prescribe or supply a monitored medicine for a patient remains with the relevant practitioner at all times, regardless of whether they have been able to access QScript.
View the Checking QScript guide (PDF 553 kB) for responses to frequently asked questions about the requirement to check QScript.
Download the Remember to check QScript poster.
A maximum of 20 penalty units ($2,875 as at 1 July 2022) may apply if a relevant practitioner fails to check QScript when required, unless they have a reasonable excuse.
Choosing not to supply a monitored medicine
Monitored medicines have a role in the management and treatment of many medical conditions. Each individual health practitioner has a responsibility to determine the clinical appropriateness of prescribing or dispensing a monitored medicine. Every effort should be made to ensure patient safety and collaborative healthcare relationships are maintained.
There is education available via the QScript learning portal (PDF 553 kB) to assist with open and honest conversations with patients and health practitioners.
Queensland Health is committed to a risk-based, education first, approach to monitoring and enforcement of monitored medicines offences under the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019 and the Medicines and Poisons (Medicines) Regulation 2021.
The current focus of Queensland Health in relation to QScript and practitioners’ regulatory obligations is on providing advice and education regarding the legislation and engaging and supporting relevant practitioners to register for and access QScript.
The compliance monitoring and enforcement strategy in relation to QScript look-up requirements currently focuses on guidance through education and warning letters before more directed compliance / other regulatory action is considered.
Any regulatory action will be directed toward people who repeatedly and over time do not engage and/or refuse to access the system in breach of their legislative obligations.
Please refer to the Department of Health’s Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Framework (PDF 415 kB) for the Medicines and Poisons Act 2019.