Services Australia has been working with the Department of Health and Aged Care to increase the number of PBS items that can be approved in ‘real time’ using the Online PBS Authorities System (the system).

 From 1 July 2022, prescribers can submit certain Authority Required ‘Written’ (written) PBS medicines on the schedule using the system. Over time, more written PBS medicines across broader medicine groups will be added to the system for ‘real time’ approval.

Over the next 2 years, we will also be improving the system’s digital capability to support the transition of Authority Required (Written) medicines for online access.

Click here to view the PBS Authorities.

Listed below you will find information relating to new and amended Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) listings implemented on 1st November 2022. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to access and use of the Online PBS Authorities system is also attached.  

This information relates to the administration of these listings by Services Australia. For further information on broader PBS changes, please visit the PBS website. Relevant information and authority application forms have been updated and can be accessed through the Services Australia website.  

View the PBS FAQ's

Two new reports from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care reveal a decline in dispensing of high-risk medicines over five years but continuing variation across the country.

The Atlas Time Series Reports from 201617 to 202021 released today show trend data on opioid medicines dispensing, all ages, and antipsychotic medicines dispensing, 65 years and over.

Using PBS data*, the reports examine opioid and antipsychotic medicines dispensing across Australia at national, state and territory, Primary Health Network (PHN) and local levels.

Both reports build on findings in the Third Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation.

Atlas Time Series Reports: 2016–17 to 2020–21

Downward trend in prescribing
Dispensing rates fell nationally and in all states and territories. In the five years to 2020–21, there was an 18% reduction nationally in opioids dispensing rates and an 11% reduction in antipsychotics dispensing.

However, the reports indicate continuing variation and potential misuse of opioids and antipsychotics in some geographical areas with consistently high dispensing rates.

Find out how your area compares
Health services, PHNs, general practitioners and other clinicians can use data from the interactive reports to review rates of medicines dispensing in their local area and compare with rates for similar areas.

The reports will help identify areas that may benefit from further investigation and targeted strategies to improve appropriate prescribing of these high-risk medicines.

Please share with anyone in your network who has an interest in medicines dispensing.

For more information, visit the Healthcare Variation web page or email

SPLEEN AUSTRALIA Based at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne

Did you know that people without a functioning spleen have a lifelong risk of developing life-threatening infections from encapsulated bacteria?

Our clinical service has proven it reduces the occurrence of sepsis in our patient group and saves lives! It is also a cost effective public health program.

Infections can be prevented by:

Vaccines: pneumococcal, meningococcal, Hib & annual influenza vaccine

Antibiotics: some patients are recommended to take a daily or lifelong antibiotic. All patients need an emergency supply to take if they are very unwell and unable to get to the GP or ED promptly

Education: Patients are informed of what are the signs and symptoms of a bacterial infection.  Patients must know “people without spleens can get very sick, very quickly if they ignore the symptoms”.

For further information visit the Spleen Australia website, it provides information for patients and clinicians.

Visit our website:

As you know, the Adaptors to Web Services project commenced in July 2018 with an expected end date of 13 March 2022.  This was required to uplift ageing technology to ensure patient and provider information remains secure, now and into the future. Services Australia (the agency) granted developers and sites additional time to develop and deploy software to customers to allow for industry challenges in transitioning by this date.

We have now reached a critical phase in our project. The agency will be removing access to Medicare Online (including Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Australian Immunisation Register) using ageing patient administration software from 4 October 2022, or earlier as requested by their software developer. ECLIPSE users and complex organisations such as jurisdictions and pathology providers, will not be impacted at this stage.

What this means for you

Healthcare locations that use ageing patient administration software to submit claims or data using Medicare Online will have their access gradually removed over a 6-8 week period starting from 4 October 2022 or earlier as requested by their software developer. We are communicating this to people and businesses still using adaptors.  Sites that haven’t transitioned in time will need to contact their software developer or use alternative claiming channels. This may cause disruption, additional administration pressure and costs to their business.

Alternative claiming channels

Alternative claiming channels include Health Professional Online Services. You can visit our website and search ‘Online options for health professionals’ to find out how to use these services.  Where you aren’t able to make an electronic claim on their customer’s behalf using HPOS, the customer can submit their claim to Medicare via:

  • their Medicare online account through myGov
  • their Express Plus Medicare mobile app.

Consumers can read more about the different ways they can make a Medicare claim on our website by searching ‘Medicare claims’.

Next steps

Please continue to support healthcare locations by encouraging them to speak to their software developer and helping them register for a PRODA Organisation account.

If ACNP members would like to speak to someone for more information, contact eBusiness Service Centre on 1800 700 199, Option 2, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday (AEST).

Please click below to see a copy of the Government's response to the report of the NSW Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No. 2 – Health entitled 'Health outcomes and access to health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote New South Wales'.

NSW Government Response

The following article has been published in DVA Provider News: COVID-19 oral antiviral medicine information. Plan now for when your DVA patients get COVID-19.

We’re increasing the PBS medicines that can be approved online

Services Australia has been working with the Department of Health and Aged Care to increase the number of PBS items that can be approved in ‘real time’ using the Online PBS Authorities System (the system).

From 1 September 2022, prescribers can submit certain Authority Required ‘Written’ (written) PBS medicines on the schedule using the system. Over time, more written PBS medicines across broader medicine groups will be added to the system for ‘real time’ approval.

We will continue to work with the Department of Health and Aged Care to update the relevant PBS listings and will continue to share this information with you as it becomes available.

Over the next 2 years, we will also be improving the system’s digital capability to support the transition of Authority Required (Written) medicines for online access.

Can PBS authority approval be submitted by post?

Prescribers can still submit applications for authority to prescribe by:

  • mailing the application
  • uploading applications in HPOS.

Updated versions of application forms will remain available on our website.

How will prescribers know what the changes are?

Whenever there are changes, we’ll send you a summary table to let you know what’s changed.

We’ll explain what the change is, for what condition, and the drugs that treat it.

New HPOS Education Resource

The Health Professional Education Resources Gateway offers a vast and growing range of customised educational resources for health professionals. We are excited to announce the addition of a new education resource that examines Health Professional Online Services (HPOS). This new simulation, HPOS Fundamentals, gives providers and their delegates,

  • An insight on setting up HPOS,
  • Overview of the key HPOS features, and
  • Closer analysis of some specific HPOS features.

To view and learn more about our new simulation, copy the following website URL into your browser address bar.

More information

HPOS is an internet based portal, providing a simple and secure way for health professionals and organisations to do business with government online. HPOS enables online self-service access to government programs, payments and services. You need a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account to access HPOS.

The Health Professional Education Resources Gateway contains an extensive range of tailored education resources to assist with setting up PRODA and HPOS. It also provides guidance on how to perform functions available in PRODA and HPOS.  You can acquire our full range of health professional education resources on our website by simply:

  • typing in your browser address bar
  • select play to continue
  • then select Health Professional Education Resources Gateway hyperlink to view the catalogue of resources.

Contact us:

Your opinion matters to us! 

If you have identified a need for a new educational product or have any feedback that could help us improve our existing resources, please let us know.

Did you know? We are currently revamping our website, which will be launched later this year. If you have any ideas or suggestions that you want to share with us please contact us via email at we would love to hear from you!


Download the document - New HPOS Education Resource

Timely and accurate reporting of vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

Reporting timely, high quality and accurate vaccination information ensures that the AIR contains a complete and reliable dataset to enable the monitoring of immunisation coverage and administration. It also ensures that individuals have a complete record of their vaccinations that can be provided as evidence for education, employment, and/or travel purposes.

Under the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 it is mandatory for vaccination providers to report all COVID-19, influenza, and National Immunisation Program vaccinations to the AIR.

To ensure accurate and complete reporting of vaccination information to the AIR, vaccination providers must provide the following information:

  • provider information: provider number, name and contact details
  • personal information of the individual vaccinated: Medicare number (if applicable), name, contact details, date of birth and gender
  • vaccine information: brand name, dose number and batch number and date of administration.

Batch Numbers

It has been identified that a significant number of AIR records have a batch number that has been recorded incorrectly. 

Please make sure that you are reporting the correct batch number to the AIR. The Department is aware that some Practice Management Software stores and/or autofill's previously entered information which can lead to data entry errors, it is important to correct this information prior to submission.

Reporting medical contraindications to the AIR

When reporting a medical contraindication to the AIR is important for eligible health professionals to complete the Australian Immunisation Register Immunisation Medical Exemption (IM011) form in line with the latest clinical guidance in the Australian Immunisation Handbook, for NIP vaccines, or from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation for COVID.

Vaccination providers are reminded not to include any additional information such as clinical notes or test results and/or attach letters when recording a medical contraindication. This may cause delays in processing and if the IM011 form is incomplete, invalid, or unsigned it will be returned to the vaccination provider.

The quickest and easiest way to record all vaccination information is via the AIR site in HPOS or the relevant Practice Management Software.

For further information on reporting information to the AIR please visit:

From: Nicholas Stoney

Assistant Secretary, Immunisation and Communicable Diseases Branch, Australian Government Department of Health

From this week, packs of the prescription-only medication, Tamiflu (oseltamivir), an oral antiviral used to treat and prevent influenza A and B infections, will be deployed to residential aged care facilities (RACFs) in a one-off pre-placement. This is part of the Department of Health’s 2022 winter preparedness plan.

This stock is being pre-placed to ensure access to supplies at the commencement of this year’s flu season. This is not intended to replace standard supply chains used by providers, rather it reduces the impacts of supply shortages within the private market and the delays in shipping that may result from increased demand during the winter period.

RACFs will need to source additional supply through community pharmacies in line with normal arrangements once the pre-placed stock has been expended.

RACFs in Western Australia without permits to hold medications will need to access the pre-placed stock through WA Health. In the event of an influenza outbreak, they should contact their Public Health Unit to request urgent approval to have a deployment of Commonwealth Government stocks. 

Nurse practitioners may prescribe medicines as private prescriptions according to their state/territory prescribing accreditation. The medicines which can be prescribed differ between states and territories. Nurse practitioners should check whether they have authority to prescribe Tamiflu under their relevant state or territory medicines and poison legislation.

Leanne, I would appreciate your advice on how we can share this information more widely to Nurse Practitioners who may not be members of the college, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Thank you for helping to support older members of our community through this year’s flu season.

Kind regards

Professor (Practice) Alison J McMillan PSM

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer


Today, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has released a new report - Alcohol use and harms during the COVID-19 pandemic - which monitored emerging evidence in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-21).


270522 - COVID-19 sees surge in Aussies seeking alcohol support services

This is a follow up to our 2020 evidence summary. We hope it provides a useful resource for our sector.

The report found:

  • High levels of stress and anxiety, as well as boredom and isolation, have been identified as key drivers of risky alcohol use during the pandemic.
  • Studies have also found childcare pressures and employment instability were drivers of increased alcohol use.
  • Increases in alcohol-related deaths and soaring demand for support services. There has been a tripling of calls to the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline since the pandemic began.


Please find attached, FARE’s Alcohol use and harms during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Australian Contraception and Abortion Primary Care Practitioner Support Network (AusCAPPS) enables GPs, nurse practitioners, nurses and pharmacists to connect and chat with like-minded peers and expert clinicians about long-acting reversible contraception and medical abortion, find local providers, and, get informed with the latest training opportunities, research, and resources. 

Website link:

AusCAPPS banner

A change is being implemented on 1st April will see a few additional questions added to the provider number application form, in order to remove one step in the process of approval.  Please read the Communique here

Top 10 unanswered questions about medicines in people living with dementia

As determined by people living with dementia, and their carers, family and friends, and healthcare professionals.

This project aimed to identify the Top 10 unanswered questions related to quality use of medicines for people living with dementia.
The views of people who live with medical conditions and those who treat and care for them provide important insights into what research is most needed. Getting their perspectives helps to make sure that the right research is being done and makes the best use of valuable research funding.
‘Quality Use of Medicines’: using medicines safely and effectively, and selecting the best treatment for the individual (including not using medicines) to obtain optimal health outcomes. It also means only using medicines when they are needed.

Our work
We worked together with people living with dementia, carers and healthcare professionals to find the Top 10 research priorities for quality use of medicines in people living with dementia. We used a multi-step research process. First, we assembled a Stakeholder Steering Group and recruited Partner Organisations to ensure that the process stayed focused on the views and perspectives of stakeholders, and also to help disseminate our findings. Second, a national survey asked consumers and healthcare professionals what questions they have had about medicine use in people living with dementia. These questions were then assessed to determine if there is already an ‘answer’ – that is, had high quality research already been done? Third, we conducted a second national survey where we asked consumers and healthcare professionals to pick the unanswered questions that are the most important to them. This information then informed a workshop where consumers and healthcare professionals worked together to determine the Top 10 priorities for research in quality use of medicines in people living with dementia.  Throughout this process we engaged with and heard from over 300 consumers and 150 healthcare professionals from across Australia!

What’s next?
Our overall goal is to have research fundings and research efforts in Australia directed towards these Top 10 questions. This will ensure that outcomes of research are directly relevant to the care of people living with dementia.  We cannot do this alone! Contact us to find out how you can help!

Consumer and healthcare professional Top 10 unanswered questions about quality use of medicines in people living with dementia: priorities for research

  1. How can shared decision making about medicines be achieved between healthcare professionals and people living with dementia and their carers?
  2. What are effective ways to ensure that healthcare professionals have the necessary knowledge and skills to achieve safe effective and appropriate medication use in people living with dementia?
  3. How can communication between healthcare professionals be optimised, especially at transitions of care, to achieve multi-disciplinary care for people living with dementia?
  4. Which medicines are potentially harmful or unnecessary in people living with dementia and should be stopped? And how can deprescribing (cessation of harmful and/or unnecessary medicines) be achieved in people living with dementia?
  5. When, how and in who should medicines be used to manage pain in people living with dementia?
  6. How can people living with dementia and their carers be supported to manage medicines safely at home?
  7. When and how should medicines be used to treat changed behaviours (previously referred to as behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia)? Including for different types of dementia. And how to safely and effectively reduce the use of antipsychotics (for changed behaviours) in people living with dementia?
  8. How can residential aged care facilities best achieve safe, effective and appropriate medicine use in residents with dementia?
  9. When, how and in who should medicines be used to treat depression and anxiety in people living with dementia?
  10. What is the optimal model for medicine reviews to achieve safe, effective and appropriate medicine use in people living with dementia? Including who should be involved, how often should reviews be conducted, and what follow-up is needed?

This work was proudly supported by the AAG Research Trust and the Dementia Australia Research Foundation - 2019 Strategic Research Grant. It would not have been possible without our Research Team, Stakeholder Steering Group, Partner Organisations and JLA advisor.

Research Team

  • Emily Reeve (Lead Investigator), University of South Australia
  • Nagham Ailabouni, University of South Australia
  • Lynn Chenoweth, University of New South Wales
  • Julia Gilmartin-Thomas, Victoria University
  • Sarah N Hilmer, University of Sydney and Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Lisa Kalisch Ellett, University of South Australia
  • Tuan Anh Nguyen, National Ageing Research Institute
  • Lyntara S Quirke, consumer representative
  • Mouna Sawan, Monash University
  • Janet K Sluggett, University of South Australia
  • Edwin Tan, University of Sydney
  • JLA advisor: Katherine Cowan
  • Stakeholder Steering Group
  • Stephanie Daly
  • Judy Deimel
  • Lenore de la Perrelle
  • Timothy Pietsch
  • Ann Pietsch
  • Ron Sinclair
  • Josephine To
  • Craig Whitehead
  • Marie Wittwer
  • Partner Organisations
  • Australian Association of Consultant Pharmacy,
  • Australian Association of Gerontology
  • Australian College of Nurse Practitioners,
  • Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation,
  • Consumers Health Forum of Australia,
  • Leading Age Services Australia,
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association,
  • Speech Pathology Australia,



To support health practitioners identify and assess people at risk of silicosis and improve patient health outcomes, the Federal Government has released the National Guidance for doctors assessing workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust.  

From the Department of Health's Webiste

The National Guidance for doctors assessing workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust (with specific reference to the occupational respiratory diseases associated with engineered stone) has been developed to help general practitioners identify and assess people at risk of silicosis caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust. The recent re-emergence of silicosis is linked to the increasing popularity of engineered stone products, and the processes for cutting, grinding, and polishing this material.

Additional Infomrationis available from the Department of Health | National Guidance for doctors assessing workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica dust

Digital Mental Health Standards – Guide for service providers

The Commission is publishing the National Safety and Quality Digital Mental Health Standards – Guide for service providers.

The Guide provides practical advice on how to implement the Digital Mental Health Standards to improve safety and quality and ensure the best possible service is provided.

Working with the Standards

The Guide explains step-by-step each action of the Standards and their intention. It includes key tasks to help service providers meet the actions, together with examples of evidence a service can use to show how they are implementing the Standards. The Guide features reflective questions to help services evaluate how they are currently meeting the Standards and lists useful resources for further information and support.


The Digital Mental Health Standards, launched in 2020 in response to increased use of mental health services over digital channels, aim to improve the quality of digital mental health service provision, and to protect service users and their support people from harm.

The Guide was developed by the Commission’s former Senior Clinical Advisor, Dr Peggy Brown AO, in consultation with clinicians, consumers and carers, digital mental health service providers and accrediting agencies. It has been reviewed by a wide range of stakeholders including experts in privacy and cyber security, digital technology, public health ethics and clinical safety.

More information

The Guide will be supported by fact sheets, webinars and resources to be released throughout 2022.

You can download the NSQDMH Standards – Guide for service providers from

Contact the Commission at: