New Drugs & Poisons Powers for Nurses and Midwives in NSW

New South Wales has passed new laws enabling certain nurses and midwives to obtain, possess, sell, supply and administer Schedule 2, 3, 4 and 8 poisons.

Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Nurses and Midwives) Regulations 2021 (Vic)

This article applies to organisations who employ nurses and midwives and will likely amend the VIC – Drugs topic.

Please be advised that the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Nurses and Midwives) Regulations 2021 (Vic) (the Amending Regulations) are scheduled to commence 1 July 2021 and will make amendments to the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Regulations 2017 (Vic) (the Regulations) to enable certain nurses and midwives to obtain, possess, sell, supply and administer Schedule 2, 3, 4 and 8 poisons.

Schedule 4 and 8 poisons

The Amending Regulations have introduced new provisions to enable certain nurses and midwives to obtain, possess, sell, supply and administer Schedule 4 and 8 poisons, including new regulation 8A under which an approved registered nurse or an approved registered midwife may now obtain and possess a Schedule 4 or 8 poison for sale, supply or administration in accordance with an approval under regulation 161A of the Regulations.

Further, new regulations 39A, 40A, 92A and 93A provide that an approved registered nurse or an approved registered midwife may sell, supply, or administer a Schedule 4 or 8 poison if:

  • the sale, supply or administration of the poison is for treatment of a person under the nurse or midwife’s care; and
  • the nurse or midwife has taken all reasonable steps to ensure a therapeutic need exists for that poison; and
  • the poison is not sold, supplied, or administered for the purpose of supporting the drug dependence of a person; and
  • if the poison is a drug of dependence or a Schedule 8 poison, the nurse or midwife has taken all reasonable steps to ascertain the identity of the person for whose treatment the poison is sold, supplied or administered; and
  • the sale or supply is in accordance with an approval under regulation 161A.

Regulations 92A and 93A further provide that the administration of a Schedule 4 or 8 poison must be for the treatment of a person other than the nurse or midwife and, if the poison was supplied for the treatment of a specific person, the poison must only be administered for the treatment of that person. Regulations 39A and 40A also provide that a nurse or midwife must only sell or supply a Schedule 4 or 8 poison to a person if the sale or supply is for the treatment of that person. Failure to sell, supply or administer a Schedule 4 or 8 poison in accordance with these new provisions will attract a penalty of 100 penalty units (currently $16,522). Organisations should note, however, that an approved registered nurse or an approved registered midwife may also administer a Schedule 4 poison in accordance with regulation 96(3), a Schedule 8 poison in accordance with regulation 97(3), and a Schedule 9 poison in accordance with regulation 98(3) of the Regulations.

The Amending Regulations have also inserted new regulations 121A, 121B and 121D into Part 16 of the Regulations. These new provisions prohibit authorised registered nurses, approved registered nurses or approved registered midwives from obtaining, selling or supplying substances to which Part 16 of the Regulations applies, being ovulatory stimulants, prostaglandins, retinoids and thalidomide. Importantly, an authorised registered nurse, an approved registered nurse or an approved registered midwife may administer a substance to which Part 16 applies provided the administration is in accordance with regulation 96(3) of the Regulations. Failure to comply with these new provisions attract a penalty of 100 penalty units (currently $16,522).

Schedule 2 and 3 poisons

The Amending Regulations have inserted new provisions authorising approved registered nurses and approved registered midwives to obtain, possess, sell, supply and administer Schedule 2 and 3 poisons. Under these new provisions, an approved registered nurse or an approved registered midwife is authorised to obtain and possess a Schedule 2 poison (in accordance with an approval under regulation 161B) or a Schedule 3 poison (in accordance with an approval under regulation 161C) for sale, supply or administration.

Further to this, new regulations 133B, 133C, 137B and 138A provide that an approved registered nurse or an approved registered midwife may sell, supply or administer a Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 poison provided that:

  • the poison is for the treatment of a person under the nurse or midwife’s care; and
  • if the poison is a drug of dependence, the nurse has taken all reasonable steps to ascertain the identity of the person who is to be treated; and
  • the sale, supply or administration is in accordance with an approval under regulation 161B (in the case of a Schedule 2 poison) or regulation 161C (in the case of a Schedule 3 poison).

Failure to comply with these provisions attracts a penalty of 100 penalty units (currently $16,522). Importantly, an approved registered nurse or an approved registered midwife must not sell, supply or administer a Schedule 2 or Schedule 3 poison unless the midwife has taken all reasonable steps to ensure a therapeutic need exists for that poison, with a failure to take such steps attracting a penalty of 50 penalty units (currently $8,261).

In addition to the new provisions relating to approved registered nurses and approved registered midwives, new regulation 137A prohibits authorised registered nurses from selling, supplying or administering a Schedule 3 poison unless that poison is for the treatment of a person under the nurse’s care and, if the poison is a drug of dependence, the nurse has take all reasonable steps to ascertain the identity of the person to be treated. Failure to comply with this provision attracts a penalty of 100 penalty units (currently $16,522). Further, an authorised registered nurse is prohibited from selling, supplying or administering a Schedule 3 poison unless the nurse has taken all reasonable steps to ensure a therapeutic need exists for that poison. A failure to take such reasonable steps will attract a penalty of 50 penalty units (currently $8,261).

Consequential amendments

Organisations should also note that several other provisions have been amended to include references to approved registered nurses, authorised registered nurses and approved registered midwives alongside other health practitioners in relation to Schedule 2, 3, 4 and 8 poisons. These include, but are not limited to, provisions relating to the sale or supply of Schedule 4 and 8 poisons by pharmacists, security and storage requirements, administration of Schedule 4, 8 and 9 poisons, and record keeping requirements.

Please click here to access the full Regulations.


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au

Share this post

Ready to get in touch?