Key messages

  • Prescribed registered medical practitioners have an important role under the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010 (the Act). 
  • Only prescribed registered medical practitioners, as defined by the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Regulations 2011, can make recommendations for a detention and treatment order. 
  • Prescribed registered medical practitioners must complete the Recommendation for a detention and treatment order form to accompany the application to the Magistrates' Court for a detention and treatment order. 
  • The purpose of the recommendation is to provide clinical evidence to the court that all the criteria for a detention and treatment order apply to the person subject to the application. 
 

The role of a prescribed registered medical practitioner

Prescribed registered medical practitioners have an important role under the Act. Their role is to provide a clinical opinion based on a personal examination about whether all the criteria for a detention and treatment order apply to a person. 

Definition of a prescribed registered medical practitioner 

The Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Regulations 2011 define a prescribed registered medical practitioner as: 

  • a person who is a fellow or affiliate of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (psychiatrists) 
  • a person who is a fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine (addiction medicine specialists) 
  • in relation to a person in custody at facilities operated by Victoria Police, a registered medical practitioner who, in the course of work for Victoria Police, is providing medical care to that person at that facilities (custodial medical officers). 

Recommendation for a detention and treatment order 

An application to the Magistrates' Court for a detention and treatment order must be accompanied by a recommendation for a detention and treatment order form (the recommendation), completed by a prescribed registered medical practitioner. 

The purpose of the recommendation is to provide clinical evidence to the Court that all the criteria for a detention and treatment order apply to the person subject to the application. 

Process for making a recommendation 

The prescribed registered medical practitioner must personally examine the person to complete a recommendation. Prior to the examination, the practitioner must explain the purpose of the examination to the person and answer any questions they might have. 

If on completion of the examination the practitioner is satisfied that all criteria apply, they must consult with the senior clinician of the declared treatment centre before a recommendation can be made. 

The current declared provider of treatment under the Act is St Vincent's Health. 

The senior clinician at the treatment centre may be contacted via the St Vincent's Health switchboard on (03) 9231 2211 or alternatively via the Department of Addiction Medicine on (03) 9231 2627 (please note that this phone is not continuously manned).

If the practitioner is still satisfied that all criteria are met following consultation with the senior clinician, they should complete a recommendation. 

Information sheet for prescribed registered medical practitioners 

The information sheet, Information for prescribed registered medical practitioners, is available to assist medical practitioners. It provides more information about the criteria for making a detention and treatment order and the role of the medical practitioner. 

Flowchart of the procedure for making a detention and treatment order

The flowchart, Summary of procedure for making an application for a detention and treatment order under the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act 2010, shows the process for making the application and the order and the procedure once the person is detained for treatment. 

Recommendation and application forms

Prescribed registered medical practitioners can download the Recommendation for a detention and treatment order and the Application for a detention and treatment order forms, which are consistent with the requirements of the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Regulations 2011

Further information

Further information and advice about the Act can be obtained from the Drug and Alcohol Clinical Advisory Service (DACAS) line on 1800 812 804.