Medical Cannabis july 2018

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (16:01): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question on access to medicinal cannabis to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: In April 2018, the commonwealth and state and territory health departments announced that they would work collaboratively to streamline access to medicinal cannabis for Australian health practitioners. This announcement of course made reference to a single-in application process through which medical practitioners could notify or apply to both commonwealth and the relevant state and territory health departments, where applicable, to prescribe and supply medicinal cannabis products via a single application.

Historically, of course, this is necessary in terms of streamlining the process, which has proven cumbersome and difficult. Certainly, GPs have indicated in recent surveys undertaken by the Lambert Initiative that they are finding the process unduly difficult. I understand that South Australia has one of the most simple processes; however, this week the one-stop shop went online for medical practitioners across the country and, unfortunately, South Australia is not in the system. Can the minister please provide an update on when South Australian medical practitioners will be able to access the one-stop shop TGA portal?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (16:03): I thank the honourable member for her question. She is certainly correct in that the commonwealth particularly, in cooperation with New South Wales, developed a single portal approach.

The Hon. T.A. Franks: No. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland went online this week with the one streamline, which is meant to have everyone.

The Hon. S.G. WADE: Sorry. I am trying to answer the honourable member's question. My understanding—I could be wrong—is that New South Wales was one of the particular proponents. I am not disagreeing that other people are not doing it. This is an issue that has been brought to my attention. The value of the portal, as the honourable member knows but for the benefit of the chamber, is that there are both requirements under the TGA and requirements under South Australian legislation.

The benefit of having a portal-based approval process is that it gives people the opportunity to access that without needing to go through two different jurisdictions. As a government that believes in minimising regulation and particularly in improving services for South Australians, that's of interest to us. This matter was discussed at the last COAG Health Council. In particular, the commonwealth and New South Wales were urging states to get involved.

One of the issues is that we need to meet performance criteria before we can engage. This is an issue that is being discussed within SA Health and I assure the honourable member that we want to provide a patient access pathway which does not provide unnecessary encumbrances, and I will come back to the member with a more detailed response as to what SA Health is doing in that regard.

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