Prescribing safely

Prescribing safely


Prescribing medication is a routine task for most doctors but it isn’t always straightforward. Avant has many resources to help you reduce your risk and practise safely when prescribing. Consider a CPD refresher course and check requirements in your state or territory.

Featured collectionsPrescribing
14 / 09 / 2023

CPD eLearning courses

We offer two eLearning courses about prescribing which cover:

There is also a webinar, Prescribing perils, which is additional CPD training about prescribing drugs of dependence, real time prescription monitoring and TGA updates.

Our accredited eLearning courses are free for members.

Prescribing drugs of dependency

Real time prescription monitoring (RTPM) provides risk mitigation for doctors prescribing drugs of dependence. In some states/territories it is mandatory to check the RTPM before prescribing drugs of dependence and some other drugs. Avant recommends all doctors check every time.

Our member experience shows that some doctors believe that seeing a green, amber or red alert in their practice software is the same as checking their RTPM. It is not. You must click on the alert to go through to the RTPM.

Doctors may also need PBS authority, and approval from the relevant state or territory health department for some patients (see ‘Prescribing drugs of dependence’ factsheet).

Avant factsheets, articles and case studies

Prescribing drugs of dependence

Identifying drug seekers and doctor shopping behaviours

Claims insights: opioid prescribing-related claims


Ask the expert – prescribing, advertising and artificial intelligence (coming soon)

Real time prescription monitoring in the states and territories

NSW – SafeScript NSW – not mandatory but strongly encouraged – monitored medicines

Victoria – SafeScript – mandatory – monitored medicines

Queensland – QScript – mandatory – monitored medicines

South Australia – ScriptCheckSA – mandatory – monitored medicines

Western Australia – ScriptCheckWA – not mandatory but strongly encouraged – monitored medicines

Tasmania – DORA/TasScript – not mandatory but required to take reasonable steps to check before prescribing – monitored medicines

Northern Territory – NTScript – mandatory – monitored medicines

Australian Capital Territory – Canberra Script – not mandatory but strongly encouraged – monitored medicines

Prescribing for yourself, family, friends or those you work with

Good medical practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia  says, ‘Good medical practice involves … not self-prescribing’. It also states:

Whenever possible, avoid providing medical care to anyone with whom you have a close personal relationship. In most cases, providing care to close friends, those you work with and family members is inappropriate because of the lack of objectivity, possible discontinuity of care, and risks to the patient and doctor. In particular, medical practitioners must not prescribe Schedule 8, psychotropic medication and/or drugs of dependence or perform elective surgery (such as cosmetic surgery), to anyone with whom they have a close personal relationship.

Your state or territory legislation may also further prohibit prescribing for yourself, family, friends or those you work with.

Avant factsheets, articles and case studies

Treating family members, friends or staff

‘But it’s just a script’: prescribing requests from family and friends

Case study: doctor disqualification for long-term self-prescribing

Case study: GP’s long-term prescribing for family leads to professional misconduct finding

Case study: GP disqualified after overdose death of de-facto partner

Case study: doctor sanctioned for self-prescribing revealed after car accident

Other prescribing challenges

Analysis of our claims involving prescribing show that doctors also have difficulty with issues such as record-keeping requirements, communication issues in prescribing, overprescribing and off-label prescribing.

Avant factsheets, articles and case studies

Claims insights: medication-related claims

Prescribing off-label (coming soon)

Other resources


Medical Board of Australia Good medical practice: a code of conduct for doctors in Australia

NPS MedicineWise Opioids, chronic pain and the bigger picture

RACGP Accountable prescribing – prescribing drugs of dependence in general practice

Australian Medical Association Position statement on medicines and 10 minimum standards for prescribing


NSW Health Guides for medical practitioners Legislative requirements for handling drugs, including the prescribing and supply of drugs of addiction and restricted substances

NSW Health Contact information, support and treatment services for alcohol and other drugs including local intake lines, and public and private services

NSW Health Pharmaceutical services 02 9391 9944 (select option 1)

Drug and Alcohol Specialist Advisory Service (DASAS) 02 8382 1006 regional NSW 1800 023 687


Victorian Department of Health Medicines and poisons regulation

DirectLine for health professionals 1800 888 236

Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) Victoria 1800 812 804


Queensland Government Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) for health professionals 1800 177 833

Queensland Health Medicines – clinical guidelines and procedures

South Australia

SA Health Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) 08 7087 1742

SA Health Drugs of dependence 1300 652 584

Western Australia

WA Mental Health Commission Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) 08 6553 0520

WA Department of Health Medicines and Poisons Regulation Branch 08 9222 6883

Northern Territory
Australian Capital Territory

ACT Health Pharmaceutical services 02 5124 9208