NSW Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Service to support doctors

ADVICE: NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard reports that "doctors want more support about whether to prescribe medicinal cannabis, what specific product to prescribe and how best to prescribe it". Photo: LOUISE KENNERLEY
ADVICE: NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard reports that "doctors want more support about whether to prescribe medicinal cannabis, what specific product to prescribe and how best to prescribe it". Photo: LOUISE KENNERLEY

Doctors across NSW including Dubbo are set to get help in prescribing medicinal cannabis.

The state government is investing $6 million in the NSW Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Service based at Hunter New England Health in Newcastle.

To be launched in January, the Australia-first service will include a hotline for doctors.

More than half of the funding will be used by the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence, based at the University of Newcastle, to “record vital patient data to help advance this area of medicine”.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard reports that the government is “intent on getting more patients access to medicinal cannabis products for palliative care”.

“NSW has led the country in its approach to medicinal cannabis,” he said. “However, doctors want more support about whether to prescribe medicinal cannabis, what specific product to prescribe and how best to prescribe it. This landmark service will give doctors the support and confidence they need to decide if their patients, particularly palliative care patients, may benefit from this type of treatment.”

Mr Hazzard said the service would help doctors across the state access onshore medicinal cannabis products for their patients much faster, as well as provide expert clinical advice on prescribing for other patients.

“A hotline will be set up and doctors anywhere in NSW can ring the service for guidance from leading clinicians in this emerging area of medicine,” he said.

The advisory service will operate for three years as part of the government’s $21 million investment in exploring the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis, including world-first clinical trials.