Placements and Accreditation (draft)

Following completion of the OTAC, medical and nurse practitioners may be eligible to apply to be recognised in NSW as an accredited prescriber of opioid pharmacotherapies for the treatment of opioid dependence.
Registrars under supervision can apply for accreditation to prescribe under supervision at the clinic/local health district they are training in.

Clinical placements after completion of the OTAC should be undertaken in a COVID safe manner, and appropriate measures are undertaken to reduce the risk of transmission. COVID-safe requirements in place by the NSW Government, alongside any additional requirements determined by the workplace you attend, must be adhered to.

If you wish to seek accreditation, the below advice has been provided to assist you with your requirements prior to applying:

  • For medical practitioners working in a drug and alcohol setting, either currently or recently: Your clinic supervisor can decide to complete the Clinical Placement Form as part of their usual reflective supervision practices with you (i.e., not a specific in-person placement, but more an assessment overall of your current practice). Generally, those in this setting should submit these forms no later than 12 months from completing the OTAC to be eligible.
  • For other prescribers (i.e., those not in a drug and alcohol setting): You should arrange a clinical placement with an appropriate supervisor, for a half-day session (i.e., at least 3 hours, but can be more), where they assess you using the Clinical Placement Form. If you do not have a supervisor in mind, contact your local public drug and alcohol service, or contact us to find out the options available in your local area.

Steps to Apply for Accreditation

Following completion of the OTAC, participants should undertake the following:

  1. Medical Practitioners in drug and alcohol settings can see for their clinic supervisor to complete the Clinical Placement Form as a general assessment. Other prescribers outside of drug and alcohol settings should complete a clinical placement and have their supervisor complete the Clinical Placement Form.
  2. Submit the following documents to the OPS Secretariat: moh-otp-accred@health.nsw.gov.au:

Once you have submitted your accreditation application, the Opioid Pharmacotherapy Subcommittee (OPS), NSW Ministry of Health will consider your application at a session approximately once every 6 weeks. To ensure your application is considered at the OPS  meeting, you must submit your application at least 10 days prior to the following committee dates:

Upcoming OPS Committee Dates 2022

    • Thursday, 15 September 2022
    • Thursday, 20 October 2022
    • Thursday, 1 December 2022

Once accredited, you will be sent a list to facilitate linkage with your Local Health District drug and alcohol service to ensure compliant clinical and administrative practice, and to provide support.

Medical practitioners in NSW who are about to commence or have recently commenced in a drug and alcohol registrar capacity at a public drug and alcohol service; and are seeking to apply for authorisation to prescribe opioid pharmacotherapies for the treatment of opioid dependence whilst under supervision at a public drug and alcohol service are encouraged to apply for accreditation by completing the 5A form. If you are a registrar no longer under supervision, please see the “medical practitioner and nurse practitioner” section.

 

If approved, this application will allow the applicant to prescribe opioid pharmacotherapies for up to 125 patients while under supervised training.

How to apply: 

To apply please follow the link to the 5A form and fill in the relevant information. Once you have completed the form, your supervisors will be notified.

You will need:

  • Current curriculum vitae (CV)
  • AHPRA number (search the AHPRA website here)
  • details of your supervisors (up to 3)
  • details of the local health districts/clinics (up to 3)

Who can be a Clinical Placement Supervisor or Mentor?

As a general rule, the following health professionals are deemed appropriate supervisors:

  • Addiction medicine specialist (that is, a medical practitioner who is a member of the RACP Chapter of Addiction Medicine)
  • Addiction psychiatry specialist (that is, a medical practitioner who is a member of RANZCP Faculty of Addiction Psychiatry)
  • Another experienced prescriber of opioid agonist treatment (e.g., general practitioner specialist) may be appropriate as a supervisor. We recommend you contact us to confirm if they are appropriate before undertaking a placement.
  • An experienced nurse practitioner in a drug and alcohol setting who prescribes opioid agonist treatment may be appropriate as a supervisor. We recommend you contact us to confirm if they are appropriate before undertaking a placement.
  • In regional and remote areas, other options for clinical placements can be considered, and we encourage you to contact us to discuss these options.

How do I find my AHPRA number?

Your AHPRA number is required when completing an application for accreditation to prescribe opioid pharmacotherapies or for registrars seeking authority to prescribe opioid pharmacotherapies under supervision at their workplace.

You can search for your AHPRA number through their website here.

What if my details change or I make a mistake when completing an application?

You can contact us if you have submitted an application already and your details have changes, or you believe you have made a mistake.

I am a registrar under supervision, can I apply for accreditation?

Registrars under supervision at a public alcohol and drug treatment clinic are still encouraged to still complete the Opioid Treatment Accreditation Course (OTAC), undertake a clinical placement and apply for full accreditation. Registrars will initally apply for authority to prescribe under supervision whilst at their workplace, however this is a limited authority and doesn’t extend beyond your workplace role.

Recieving accreditation allows you to prescribe in other settings outside of your registrar capacity and with a higher patient load. Further information on the accreditation process for medical practitioners can be found here.

Further details on the OTAC can be found here.

I am accredited interstate or my accreditation with NSW has lapsed. How do I apply for accreditation in NSW?

If you are an interestate prescriber seeking accreditation in NSW it may be possible for your accreditation to be recognised in NSW.

Similarly, if your accreditation has lapsed in NSW (i.e., typically, if you have not prescribed opioid pharmacotherapies for a patient at least once in a two-year period), you can apply for your accreditation to be re-instated.

For information about your particular situation, contact us.

How long will it take for my approval or accreditation to be processed?

If you a registrar under supervision applying for authority under supervision: The application process can take up to 3 working days. If you have not received approval of authority to prescribe under supervision you can contact the OTP line on (02) 9424 5921 or can email the OPS Secretariat at: MOH-OTP-Accred@health.nsw.gov.au.

If you are a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner seeking accreditation: Once you have submitted your accreditation application, the NSW Ministry of Health Opioid Pharmacotherapy Subcommittee (OPS) will consider your application at a session approximately once every 6 weeks. To ensure your application is considered at the OPS  meeting, you must submit your application at least 10 days prior to the following committee dates:

Upcoming OPS Committee Dates 2022

    • Thursday, 15 September 2022
    • Thursday, 20 October 2022
    • Thursday, 1 December 2022

How many patients can I prescribe opioid treatment for?

This depends on several factors, which are briefly outlined below:

If you are a registrar under supervision: You can prescribe for up to 125 patients at the nominated workplace(s) on your application within the Local Health District or Specialty Network that you are based in. The authority to prescribe does not extend beyond your nominated workplace.

If you are a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner: You can prescribe in 200 patients in private or 300 patients in public settings. In certain circumstances, you can apply for this allocation can be increased by contacting the Opioid Pharmacotherapy Subcommittee (OPS) Secretariat: moh-otp-accred@health.nsw.gov.au

Unaccredited medical practitioners: If you do not fulful either of the above criteria, you are deemed an unaccredited medical pracitioner. You can still prescribe opioid pharmacotherapies to patients in a limited capacity, as follows:

  • Methadone: Up to ten (10) low-risk patients on methadone who are being transferred from an accredited prescriber, and should engage with the previous accredited prescriber.
  • Buprenorphine: Up to twenty (20) patients on buprenorphine pharmacotherapies, including buprenorphine (mono), buprenorphine-naloxone and depot buprenorphine preparations.

To clarify, the total number of patients that an unaccredited prescriber may obtain authority to prescribe for, at any one time, is thirty (30) with a maximum of 10 of these patients being for methadone.