From 1 November 2022 all prescriptions for Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines that are issued and dispensed in NSW must show the patient's date of birth (DOB) as well as the patient's name and address.
When dispensing a prescription, a pharmacist must make a record of the patient's DOB in the dispensing system. Where the patient's DOB does not appear on the prescription, a pharmacist may still dispense the prescription, but must obtain the patient's DOB from the patient or their agent, and record this in the patient's profile within the dispensing system.
In NSW the data elements for prescriptions and record keeping requirements for dispensing are defined in the
Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 (the Regulation) and in various instruments.
The DOB of a person is an important data element used for identification purposes. Although mandatory for conformant electronic prescriptions, a patient's DOB has not previously been required on other forms of prescription.
This regulatory change to include the patient's DOB will improve patient safety by strengthening identification of the patient and through improving the information held in SafeScript NSW will help to reduce the incidence of harm from use of monitored medicines.
The clinical practice software industry has been advised of these changes. Any questions about your dispensing software's readiness should be directed to the system provider. Pharmacists should:
No. Under the Regulation, the obligation to comply with requirements on issuing and dispensing prescriptions remains with health practitioners. Vendors will be expected to undertake a self-assessment to ensure the necessary functionality is in place by
1 November 2022 and facilitate compliance by health practitioners to the new legal requirement.
These regulatory changes will affect prescriptions for all Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines that are issued and dispensed in NSW. This includes:
DOB is already a mandatory data element for all conformant electronic prescriptions. NSW Health received feedback that it would be simplest for prescribers using handwritten prescriptions to have one rule for all prescriptions.
While a prescriber must include a patient DOB on a prescription, if they fail to do so, the prescription can still be dispensed by the pharmacist, under an exception from the valid form of prescription permitted in clauses 39 and 85 of the Regulation. Where a prescription is presented without the patient DOB, the pharmacist must obtain the patient's DOB from the patient or their agent and record this in the patient's profile within the dispensing system. The
National Health (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Regulation 2017 does not mandate DOB as a compulsory field on a physical Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme prescription.