Contingency planning for increased activity due to COVID-19

Download PDF version of the Covid-19 OAT Prescriber Action Plan Checklist.

The following are strategies are provided for your information and consideration, as appropriate.

Consider ways to support continuity of the opioid treatment program

  • Ensure adequate stock and storage of all medications
  • Document risk assessments for individual patients, reviewing suitability for increased number of take away doses, in case they are required for a limited time
  • Ensure clinical staff are trained in injection techniques for administration of Depot Buprenorphine and are confident with the Clinical Guidelines for use. Consider who may be suitable for transfer
  • Review patients dosed in pharmacies and private dosing clinics – where appropriate, work together with dosing points to develop contingency plans in case of service interruption
  • Review contacts and referral pathways for LHD and other specialist services
  • Explore telehealth options to enhance service delivery options, especially for vulnerable populations including aged, pregnant women, homeless, those at risk of HIV and hepatitis
  • Make locum arrangements in advance that can be activated if you become unable to prescribe
  • Develop plans for patients infected with COVID-19, or who are symptomatic and waiting test results, to ensure they can continue to receive doses.
  • For prescribers who operate dosing points: Review dosing times in order to reduce congregation of patients and manage clinic times to balance daily dosing demand with depot buprenorphine injection clinic.
  • Other contingency planning considerations

Harm reduction programs

  • Recommend Take Home Naloxone to all patients which currently available free of charge from participating community pharmacies as part of an Australian Government pilot
  • Have a list of local providers for the Needle Syringe Programs
  • Consider community influenza vaccination clinics, including working with NGO partners to reach vulnerable populations.
  • Strengthen Infection Control strategies:
  • Infection Control training for staff
  • Ensure guidance is provided to patients regarding infection control (eg, phone in for advice if unwell rather than presenting at the clinic)
  • Ensure adequate supplies of masks and other personal protective equipment for staff
  • Maintain high attention to and monitor cleaning of facilities.


  • Plan strategies to manage staff absenteeism including review of non-essential activities and leave plans.
  • Promote staff influenza vaccination
  • Provide adequate training for nursing and administrative staff who may be covering shifts
  • Consider how you might be able to incorporate telehealth for patient consultations and prescribing if you have to self-isolate.
  • Discuss plans and any changes to service provision with your patients, and reassure them that you are prioritising continuity of service delivery.
Current as at: Wednesday 8 April 2020