Communications and advocacy update: 25 August
25 August 2022
Here’s an update on a few of the issues AMA Victoria is working on for members, including:
- COVID-19 and Frontline Healthcare Workers Study: Report #2
- Consultation: Proposed Amendment Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 Continued Dispensing Health Workforce Strategy
- Commencement of remaining provisions of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Act 2021 and commencement of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Regulations 2022
- Department of Health Update: Evusheld and Paxlovid Prescribing Guide and Community Pharmacies.
COVID-19 and Frontline Healthcare Workers Study: Report #2
From January to March 2022, Deakin University and Eastern Health’s COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Worker Study surveyed 180 Australian healthcare workers working in ICU, ED, COVID Wards, Hospital in the Home and Aged care. preliminary findings from this timepoint are presented here.
As expected, psychological distress and wellbeing are still at concerning levels. The study also found that COVID worries and relationship stress are still strong predictors of distress. At this timepoint the study asked additional questions about mental health support and found poor help-seeking behaviours in this cohort. Supervisors may have strong role in protecting distress in frontline HCWs.
Deakin’s other COVID/HCW project arm, where researchers interviewed frontline HCWs, has published a paper that may also be of interest to members. Titled “Did you bring it home with you? A qualitative investigation of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Victorian Frontline Healthcare Workers and their families, findings have shown that frontline HCWs and their families have faced considerable challenges and stress as they juggle the demands associated with frontline work and the impacts of lockdowns. This paper can be found here.
Consultation: Proposed Amendment Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 Continued Dispensing Health Workforce Strategy
The Victorian Department of Health has prepared the Proposed amendment – Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 Continued Dispensing Determination Consultation Paper. This can be found here.
The proposed amendment will adopt the Commonwealth National Health (Continued Dispensing) Determination 2022 in Victoria that replaces the Commonwealth National Health (Continued Dispensing) Determination 2012. It will continue to enable a pharmacist to supply certain medicines once in a 12-month period in the absence of a prescription.
If you would like to contribute to AMA Victoria’s response (please refer page 4 of the paper for consultation questions), please send your feedback to Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at LewisH@amavic.com.au, by Thursday 1 September.
Commencement of remaining provisions of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Act 2021 and commencement of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Regulations 2022
The Victorian Department of Health has updated AMA Victoria on the implementation of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Act 2021 (Amendment Act) and the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Regulations 2022 (Amendment Regulations).
The balance of amendments made by the Amendment Act, and the Amendment Regulations commenced on 15 August 2022. These include changes to:
- streamline decision making in relation to embryos created from donor gametes
- enable mandated counselling in relation to artificial insemination procedures and donation of sperm for use in artificial insemination, to be undertaken by a person who is not providing counselling on behalf of a registered ART provider where they meet prescribed requirements. The prescribed requirement is ‘full membership, or eligibility for full membership, of the Australian and New Zealand Infertility Counsellors Association’
- provide for additional matters to be included in certain mandated counselling to support the changes
- align and update the information required to be provided and collected by doctors undertaking artificial insemination outside ART providers and those undertaking the procedure on behalf of ART providers
- provide that where a person has provided gametes for use by their partner in a treatment procedure or an embryo has been created with their gametes for use by their partner in a treatment procedure, the consent to treatment of each of the woman and her ex- partner is withdrawn on separation. Each ex-partner is required to lodge a notice of separation with their relevant ART provider or doctor
- enable the partner of a surrogate mother to be reimbursed certain prescribed costs in relation to the surrogacy arrangement
If you would like more information on changes to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008, supporting regulations and phasing of implementation, and/or additional guidance for registered medical practitioners who perform artificial insemination in Victoria, please contact Senior Policy Adviser, Lewis Horton, at LewisH@amavic.com.au.
Department of Health Update: Evusheld and Paxlovid Prescribing Guide and Community Pharmacies
Please find updated Evusheld and Paxlovid Prescribing Guidance provided by the Victorian Department of Health’s COVID+ Pathways Program:
1. EvusheldTM Community Prescribing – simplified process for access to nursing care
In response to clinician feedback, the Department has simplified the process required to enable nurses in Supercare Pharmacies to administer EvusheldTM. There is no longer a need to complete the Supercare Nursing Request form. Instead, Supercare nursing services can be requested by completing an additional section on the Request to Access form. This will reduce the administrative burden for the prescriber and reduce the paperwork a patient is required to bring to the dispensing pharmacy. Prescribers are reminded that EvusheldTM does not need to be administered by a Supercare Pharmacy nurse. Patients can return to their doctor’s clinic for administration if that is suitable and preferable. Hospital pharmacies do not have an onsite nursing service available.
The EvusheldTM Community Prescriber Guide (attached) and supporting website content have both been updated and will be available here.
2. Updated Paxlovid prescribing guide flowchart
The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has collaborated with the Department to produce and publish a PaxlovidTM prescribing guide. Modelled on the Department’s guide, this document acts as a key reference for clinicians when considering the PaxlovidTM for early treatment of COVID-19 in eligible patients. PaxlovidTM is the preferred treatment for eligible patients, where it is determined to be suitable, as it has higher efficacy that LagevrioTM in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in high-risk patients.
The PaxlovidTM prescribing guide is available here. For further prescribing resources, click here.
3. Community pharmacies stocking COVID-19 medicines
Many pharmacies across Victoria are stocking oral antivirals such as PaxlovidTM and LagevrioTM. To support easier identification of pharmacies holding oral antiviral stocks, resources have been collated and is available here. This includes pharmacy locations in both metropolitan and regional Victoria.
FOR MORE: coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covid-19-medicines