Skip to content
Medical Health Aged Care

“Your chance to sign up and make a difference”: The RACGP program boosting care for people with opioid dependence

Royal Australian College of GPs 3 mins read

The Royal Australian College of GPs (RACGP) is encouraging Victorian GPs, future GPs, and nurse practitioners to boost their skills in helping patients with opioid dependence.

It comes amid a severe shortage of doctors prescribing medication for opioid dependence. The College has responded by relaunching its Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence (MATOD) training program.

RACGP Victoria Chair Dr Anita Munoz urged those eligible to sign up.

“This is an opportunity to make a difference and learn more about these lifesaving medicines,” she said.

“The face of opioid dependence is changing, with more people facing addiction to pain medications such as codeine or oxycodone. Our detailed training builds expertise to support people with opioid dependence, and safely administer medication assisted treatment, which is the top line form of treatment for people with opioid dependence. It involves patients taking medications such as buprenorphine or methadone to safely wean themselves off opioids and stabilise their lives without experiencing excruciating withdrawal. It’s been proven to work; we just need more doctors delivering the treatment.”

Dr Munoz said the program addresses a pressing need.

“There is a severe nation-wide shortage of GPs who regularly prescribe the medications used to treat opioid dependence and Victoria is no different,” she said.

“We want to change that, so no one misses out on the care they need. Timely care and treatment, including medication assisted treatment, can make all the difference. Our program aims to increase awareness and boost the number of GPs, future GPs, and nurse practitioners able to help people with opioid dependence. 

“Doctors who have already completed the training say it’s practical and useful for daily practice, giving them confidence to safely help their patients. It is a comprehensive and flexible program, designed to fit in around the busy lives of GPs with online or hybrid training options. I encourage all GPs and future GPs to sign-up to better understand this rewarding area of medicine.

“There is so much more work to be done in this space, including helping more people access medical interventions to treat opioid dependence. One area where we need a long-term solution is a soon to be introduced ban on GPs administering opioid dependence treatment medicines as a private script. The federal Government offered a temporary reprieve until 30 June this year; however, we need to make it permanent. We are supportive of increased access to opioid dependency therapy through pharmacy, but GPs still have a vital role to play.

“We must also keep fighting the stigma surrounding alcohol and other drug use, including opioid dependence. There is nothing to be gained from putting these patients in the ‘too hard basket’ and throwing the book at them in the judicial system, they need care and understanding, and the right kind of treatment. It’s really the same as patients with diabetes accessing lifesaving insulin. Medicated assisted treatment is a medical intervention that can help people turn their lives around.”

Last year, the RACGP applauded the Albanese Government’s decision to add lifesaving opioid dependence treatment medicines to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The College also welcomed the Government delaying the impending ban on GPs administering opioid dependence treatment medicines, such as long-acting buprenorphine, as a private script until 30 June this year.

report from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre found that there were 1,788 drug-induced deaths Australia-wide in 2021, with opioids including morphine and oxycodone the primary opioids involved in overdose deaths, followed by heroin.

The MATOD training offers the flexibility of online-only training or a hybrid model of online and face-to-face options. The online MATOD program is a self-paced, self-guided online program, with modules designed to boost confidence and understanding of the basic concepts of opioids before identifying ways to implement opioid agonist therapy in practice. The hybrid option consists of some self-guided learning online, as well as face-to-face workshops led by an experienced GP who is a current prescriber of opioid agonist therapy. Those taking part can interact with their peers, learn from others, share their own insights, take a close look at clinical scenarios, and ask plenty of questions.

The program is continuing professional development (CPD) approved activity under the RACGP’s CPD program, and on completion all participants will be recognised as an authorised prescriber for medication assisted treatment for opioid dependence.

~ENDS

RACGP spokespeople are available for interview.


About us:

About the RACGP

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is the peak representative organisation for general practice, the backbone of Australia’s health system. We set the standards for general practice, facilitate lifelong learning for GPs, connect the general practice community, and advocate for better health and wellbeing for all Australians.

Visit www.racgp.org.au. To unsubscribe from RACGP media releases, click here.


Contact details:

John Ronan
Media Adviser

Ally Francis
Media Adviser

Stuart Winthrope
Media Officer

 

Email: media@racgp.org.au (we will respond promptly to all media inquiries).

Follow us on Twitter: @RACGP and Facebook.

More from this category

  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 26/07/2024
  • 00:06
The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)

New funding for the next generation of Australia’s primary health care nurses

The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) says the Albanese Government’s $4.2 million investment in the APNA National Nursing Clinical Placements Program (NNCPP) will help to grow the next generation of primary health care nurses and combat the workforce shortage. The funding is aimed at placing 6,000 nursing students over the next three years and in South Australia alone, 50 students have already been placed in primary health care settings, a number that will grow to 500 placements in the next three years. Speaking at the APNA Essential Health Summit at the Adelaide Convention Centre today (Friday 26 July),…

  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 25/07/2024
  • 20:11
BiVACOR

The Texas Heart Institute Implants BiVACOR® Total Artificial Heart

First-in-human novel valveless artificial heart implanted in a patient with end-stage heart failure as a bridge to heart transplant HOUSTON–BUSINESS WIRE– The Texas Heart…

  • Contains:
  • Medical Health Aged Care
  • 25/07/2024
  • 19:00
The Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA)

APNA Media Alert for Friday 26 July, 2024

Over 1000 health care professionals from all across the country will attend today’s Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) Essential Health Summit and Primary Heatlh Care Congress (Friday 26th July 2024) where funding to create the next generation of Australian nurses will be announced by Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care the Hon Ged Kearney. What: APNA Essential Health Summit and Primary Health Care Congress. Who: Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney; Member for Boothby Louise Miller-Frost MP; APNA President Karen Booth; APNA CEO Ken Griffin; Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) President Melanie Dunstan;…

Media Outreach made fast, easy, simple.

Feature your press release on Medianet's News Hub every time you distribute with Medianet. Pay per release or save with a subscription.