Key messages

  • SafeScript is a clinical tool that will provide health professionals with access to your prescription history to enable them to make better clinical decisions and keep you safe from harm.
  • SafeScript will capture information that is already provided by doctors and recorded by pharmacies when a prescription is written and dispensed.
  • Only doctors and pharmacists directly involved in your care will be permitted under law to view information about you in SafeScript.
  • SafeScript will not be an opt-out system.

SafeScript will provide doctors and pharmacists with information about your medication history to enable them to make better decisions about your care and keep you safe. The system will not prevent you from obtaining medicines that you need to manage medical conditions, and the decision to prescribe or supply you with a prescription medicine will still be made by your doctor or pharmacist.

  • What information is recorded in SafeScript?

    SafeScript contains existing information that is already provided by doctors and recorded by pharmacies when a prescription is supplied. This includes: name, address, details of medicines supplied (name, strength and quantity), and doctor and pharmacy details.

  • Who has access to the system?

    Doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists who are involved in your care may view your prescription history in SafeScript to ensure the supply of prescription medicines is safe for you.

    Authorised Department of Health and Human Services staff also have access to SafeScript as part of their regulatory role in ensuring the safe supply of medicines in the community.

  • Does my doctor or pharmacist need my permission to access my record in SafeScript?

    Doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists who are involved in your care are authorised under law to access your record in SafeScript, without your express permission, for the purposes of ensuring your safety when prescribing or dispensing high-risk prescription medicines.

  • How is my privacy protected?

    There are offences and strict penalties under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 for improper or unauthorised use of SafeScript.

    A log is created each time your record is viewed in SafeScript and this is monitored by the Department of Health and Human Services. If inappropriate use is detected, health professionals may face penalties under Victorian law and the matter may be referred to either the Medical or Pharmacy Board of Australia for investigation and possible disciplinary action.

    Health professionals must always adhere to privacy requirements set out in the Health Records Act 2001 and Privacy Act 1988 when handling your health information. The Health Privacy Principles and Australian Privacy Principles specify the circumstances where health professionals can access, collect, use or disclose your health information.

    If you have a concern about the way a health professional has handled your information, you may contact the Health Complaints Commissioner on 1300 582 113, or by visiting the Health Complaints Commissioner's website.

  • Can I opt out of the system?

    SafeScript is not an opt-out system.

    Currently, when a prescription medicine is supplied, the law requires pharmacists to record the details of the prescription. The law will now also require these records to be provided to SafeScript.

    The collection of prescription records by SafeScript is necessary to provide doctors and pharmacists with access to a complete record of supply to ensure patients do not receive more medicines than they medically need.

  • Will SafeScript prevent me from receiving my regular medicines?

    While SafeScript informs health practitioners of potential high-risk circumstances, the system does not make a decision on whether you should be prescribed or supplied with a prescription medicine. This decision will still be made by your doctor or pharmacist.

    Most patients will experience no change to their prescription medicines, however, if you have been receiving medicines in high quantities or high-risk combinations, some changes may be necessary to ensure your safety. Your doctor may recommend tapering your dose or alternative approaches to managing conditions such as pain, anxiety or insomnia.

  • Who owns the data in SafeScript?

    Data contained in SafeScript will be owned by the Victorian Government. The Victorian Government will be responsible for ensuring your data stored in SafeScript is kept securely and your privacy is protected.

    SafeScript obtains its data from the Prescription Exchange Services, which are required by law to provide SafeScript with prescription records they collect from medical clinics and pharmacies.

    The Prescription Exchange Services are an existing part of national digital health infrastructure used to support the communication of electronic prescriptions between your doctor and pharmacist. The Prescription Exchange Services must also comply with the privacy requirements for handling health information set out in the Health Records Act 2001 and Privacy Act 1988.

  • How does SafeScript keep my records secure?

    SafeScript is aligned with the national data security standards for government ICT systems set out by the Commonwealth Department of Defence to ensure your information is protected.

    Data transmitted between medical practices, pharmacies and the SafeScript database is encrypted at all times and occurs through a secure, encrypted internet connection. Data stored in the SafeScript database is also encrypted at all times.

    SafeScript uses contemporary security measures to safeguard your data against unauthorised access. Health professionals will use multi-factor authentication (a username/password + PIN) in order to access the system.

  • Can I request access to view my records when SafeScript is implemented?

    As SafeScript is used to support clinical decision-making, only health professionals have access to SafeScript. Should you wish to view your records in SafeScript, you may submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the department.

    Further information on how to submit an FOI request is available on the health.vic FOI page.

  • Can I correct a record in SafeScript if I believe it is incorrect?

    Information in SafeScript is sourced from records created at medical clinics and pharmacies where your prescriptions are issued or dispensed.

    SafeScript does not alter records from medical or pharmacy systems. If you believe there is an error in a record, you may request the doctor or pharmacist involved in providing your prescription medicine to review the record. If the record is amended, the information will be automatically updated in SafeScript.

  • Is SafeScript the same as My Health Record?

    SafeScript and My Health Record are different systems and are not related.

    My Health Record is a Commonwealth initiative patient-controlled summary of your health record, in which you can choose what is included and who can view your medication history.

    SafeScript will be accompanied by a range of initiatives to support and prepare patients and health professionals for its implementation.

  • Public awareness campaign
    A public awareness campaign will be launched to prepare the general public for SafeScript, including consumers and families, and to improve understanding of the risks associated with some prescription medicines.
  • Where can I get support or further information?

    Pharmaceutical Helpline

    A dedicated helpline is available to support people with concerns about their use of high-risk prescription medicines.

    Tel: 1800 737 233

    DirectLine

    DirectLine is Victoria’s free and confidential 24-hour telephone counselling service.

    Tel: 1800 888 236

    Reconnexion

    If you are concerned about your benzodiazepine (tranquillisers and sleeping pills) use, Reconnexion provides confidential support and information from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

    Tel: 1300 273 266
    Email: info@reconnexion.org.au

    General information about SafeScript

    For any questions relating to the SafeScript project:

    Tel: (03) 9096 5633
    Email: safescript@dhhs.vic.gov.au