A NSW Government website

About SafeScript NSW

What is SafeScript NSW

SafeScript NSW is computer software that allows prescribers (general practitioners, other medical specialists and nurse practitioners) and pharmacists to access real-time information about your prescription historyfor certain high-risk medicines, known as monitored medicines, such as opioids and benzodiazepines. This information helps your prescriber or pharmacist make safer clinical decisions about your care.

It is important for your prescriber and pharmacist to know what monitoredmedicines you are taking because some medicines taken in high doses, orwhen taken with other medicines, have the potential to be harmful.

Why is it being introduced

The increasing harm from unsafe use of monitored medicines is a major public health concern. In 2019, there were 1,644 unintentional deaths due to drug overdoses in Australia. 429 (26%) deaths were due to pharmaceutical opioids and 582 (35%) deaths involved benzodiazepines. To learn more about these statistics, view the Penington Institute Australia's Annual Overdose Report 2021.

SafeScript NSW is part of NSW Health’s commitment to reduce harm from monitored medicines and help save lives.

List of monitored medicines

The list of medicines monitored by SafeScript NSW were considered by a panel of medical experts based on which medicines have the potential to cause the most harm to the community in NSW.

Monitored medicines include:

Category

Medicine

Opioids

Including but not limited to buprenorphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, pethidine, tapentadol, tramadol

Benzodiazepines (prescribed for anxiety or sleep)

Including but not limited to alprazolam, bromazepam, clobazam, clonazepam, diazepam, flunitrazepam, lorazepam, midazolam, nitrazepam, oxazepam, temazepam

Other sleeping aids

Zolpidem, zopiclone

Psychostimulants (prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy)

Dexamfetamine, lisdexamfetamine, methylphenidate

Other

Ketamine, pregabalin, quetiapine, cannabis based medicines in Schedule 8
All other Schedule 8 medicines not listed above

A full list of monitored medicines is included in the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (Appendix E).

How SafeScript NSW works

Your prescriber and pharmacist will use SafeScript NSW to see real-time information about your prescription history only for certain high-risk medicines. This information enables them to make safer clinical decisions about your care and helps them to identify circumstances where you may be at risk of harm.

These circumstances include where you:

  • are taking high doses of opioids
  • are taking two or more medicines that have the potential to become harmful when combined, for example certain opioids (e.g. oxycodone, Endone® or fentanyl) and benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium® or temazepam)
  • have visited multiple prescribers and pharmacies within a short period of time.

SafeScript NSW does not instruct your health practitioner what to do or whether a medicine should or should not be prescribed or dispensed to you. The decision about whether to prescribe or dispense medicines to you remains with your prescriber and pharmacist as they are best placed to determine whether the medicines prescribed to you remain the safest and best option based on your needs and individual circumstances.

If you have been receiving the same medicines, or unsafe combinations, from more than one prescriber without each prescriber knowing, you could be at risk of harm. With access to the SafeScript NSW information, your prescriber may talk to you about changes for your safety, which might include better coordination of care, safely adjusting your medicine doses or recommending alternative approaches to managing issues such as pain, anxiety or sleep difficulties (e.g. insomnia).

Your prescriber or pharmacist will have access to a telephone advisory service for additional support and advice from health practitioners specialising in pain management, anxiety and other mental health conditions and substance use problems. This service can assist your prescriber and pharmacist in ensuring that you continue to receive the safest and most appropriate ongoing care for your medical needs.

Support and resources

If you feel like you have been impacted by SafeScript NSW and want support, contact or visit:

Frequently asked questions

What information is recorded in SafeScript NSW? 

When a prescriber issues a prescription or a pharmacist dispenses a medicine to you, specific information is recorded. SafeScript NSW will collect this information when it relates to a monitored medicine.

The information in the database will include your:

  • name
  • address
  • details of monitored medicines supplied (name, strength, quantity)
  • prescriber and pharmacy details.

The information in the database will not include:

  • other medical notes
  • information about medicines supplied to you that are not on the monitored medicines list

Who has access to SafeScript NSW? 

Prescribers (doctors, other specialists and nurse practitioners) and pharmacists who are directly involved in your care may view information about your prescription history for monitored medicines in SafeScript NSW to ensure the medicines prescribed are safe for you.

Authorised officers of the NSW Ministry of Health may also access SafeScript NSW as part of their regulatory role in ensuring the safe supply of medicines in the community.

Does SafeScript NSW prevent you from receiving your regular medicines?

SafeScript NSW will not instruct your prescriber what to do or whether a medicine should or should not be prescribed or dispensed for you. This decision remains with them as they are best placed to determine whether the medicines prescribed to you remain the safest and best option for your needs and individual circumstances.

If you have been receiving the same medicines, or unsafe combinations, from more than one prescriber without each prescriber knowing, you could be at risk of harm. With access to this information, your prescriber may talk to you about changes to the medicines you are prescribed or your health care for your safety, which might include better coordination of care, safely adjusting your medicine doses or recommending alternative approaches to managing issues such as pain, anxiety or sleep difficulties (e.g. insomnia).

Is your privacy protected under SafeScript NSW?

Yes, your privacy is protected in SafeScript NSW. To learn more about how your information is kept private and secure, visit the privacy and security page.

Does your prescriber or pharmacist need your permission to access your record in SafeScript NSW?

Prescribers and pharmacists who are directly involved in your care are authorised under law to access information about your prescription history for the monitored medicines in SafeScript NSW, without your express permission. This is for the express purpose of ensuring your safety when prescribing or dispensing high-risk prescription medicines.

Can you opt-out of SafeScript NSW? 

SafeScript NSW is not an opt-out system.

The collection of prescription and dispensing records by SafeScript NSW for high-risk monitored medicines is necessary to provide prescribers and pharmacists with access to a complete record of medicine supply to ensure safe use of monitored medicines.

SafeScript NSW is established under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008. The Regulations provide for the collection of information relating to the prescription and supply of monitored medicines to patients via electronic prescribing and dispensing systems connected to Prescription Exchange Service (PES).

Can you request access to view your records in SafeScript NSW? 

You or your authorised representative are entitled to request information held about you in SafeScript NSW. To make a request, email safescript@health.nsw.gov.au.

Requests for access to information will be responded to as soon as possible, or in most cases no later than 28 days.  Access may be declined in special circumstances, such as where giving access would put you or another person at risk of mental or physical harm.

Can you correct a record in SafeScript NSW if you believe it is incorrect? 

The SafeScript NSW database is a read-only system that contains a copy of information that is held in your prescriber’s or pharmacist’s clinical system.

SafeScript NSW does not alter records that are created in the source medical or pharmacy systems.

If you believe there is an error in a record, you may request for an amendment. For more information about requesting an amendment, email safescript@health.nsw.gov.au.

In many cases an error or omission is likely to be due to an error by your prescriber or pharmacist. You can make a request directly to your prescriber or pharmacist to review their records. When they make a change in their clinical system, the information will be automatically updated in SafeScript NSW.

Who can you contact for support?

To get support you can:

When was SafeScript NSW implemented?

SafeScript NSW has been rolled out in a phased statewide approach by region across the state. If was first introduced in Hunter New England and Central Coast in November 2021, then Nepean Blue Mountains and Northern Sydney areas in March 2022. Prescribers and pharmacists in all remaining NSW areas were given access to the system in May 2022.

Are prescribers and pharmacists being given training to use SafeScript NSW?

As part of the introduction of SafeScript NSW, comprehensive training is available to prescribers and pharmacists on how to use the SafeScript NSW system to ensure safer prescribing and dispensing as well as how to support the individual needs of consumers. This training gives your prescriber and pharmacist the confidence and skills to continue to provide you with the safest and most appropriate advice and ongoing care.

Your prescriber and pharmacist also has access to a dedicated 24/7 clinical advice line for additional support and advice from health practitioners specialising in pain management, anxiety and other mental health conditions and substance use problems. This service can assist your prescriber and pharmacist in ensuring that you continue to receive the safest and most appropriate ongoing care for your medical needs.

Is SafeScript NSW the same as My Health Record?

No, SafeScript NSW and My Health Record are not the same.

My Health Record is a patient-controlled summary of your health records and includes a variety of medical history information including pathology results, GP authored health summaries, medicine information and hospital discharge summaries. You can choose what information is included in your My Health Record and who can view it.

SafeScript NSW only contains information about monitored medicines that are prescribed for and supplied to you. You cannot choose which records are held in SafeScript NSW and neither can your treating health practitioner.

SafeScript NSW is not integrated with My Health Record in any way and does not add any information to My Health Record.

For more information

For enquiries about SafeScript NSW, contact safescript@health.nsw.gov.au.