The NSW Government is intent on getting more patients access to medicinal cannabis products for palliative care, under a $6 million statewide advisory service aimed at supporting doctors.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard today announced the NSW Medicinal Cannabis Advisory Service – the first initiative of its kind in Australia – will start in January 2018.
“NSW has led the country in its approach to medicinal cannabis. However, doctors want more support about whether to prescribe medicinal cannabis, what specific product to prescribe and how best to prescribe it,” Mr Hazzard said.
“This landmark service will give doctors the support and confidence they need to decide if their patients, particularly palliative care patients, may benefit from this type of treatment.”
The service, based at Hunter New England Health, will help doctors across the state access onshore medicinal cannabis products for their patients much faster, as well as provide expert clinical advice on prescribing for other patients.
NSW Health’s Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said more than $3 million of the funding will go to the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence, based at the University of Newcastle, which will record vital patient data to help advance this area of medicine.
“This service is a great opportunity to strengthen our evidence-based research about how these medicines affect patients because their health is our number one priority,” Dr Chant said.
Mr Hazzard said: “A hotline will be set up and doctors anywhere in NSW can ring the service for guidance from leading clinicians in this emerging area of medicine.”
The service, which will operate for three years, is part of the NSW Government’s $21 million investment in exploring the therapeutic potential of medicinal cannabis, including world-first clinical trials.
For more information on the NSW Government’s medicinal cannabis initiatives, visit www.medicinalcannabis.nsw.gov.au