WA Health improves management of dangerous drugs

The Corruption and Crime Commission has tabled a report in State Parliament that outlines the WA Health improvements made to the manner in which controlled drugs are managed in Western Australia.

The Commission made a total of 19 recommendations for improvements in practices and procedures following a 2016 investigation into drugs stolen from two large metropolitan hospitals by a pharmacist. The investigation exposed systemic weaknesses in the management of controlled drugs.

Controlled drugs include Schedule 8 and Schedule 4 drugs which require stringent controls to reduce abuse, misuse, physical and psychological dependence.

In 2017, the Commission made 10 recommendations to improve the way dangerous drugs were stored and managed. In 2018, it tabled a supplementary report that highlighted broader issues of theft and misuse of dangerous drugs in the WA Health system, and made another nine recommendations.

The Commission has previously reported on WA Health’s response to 17 of the recommendations.

The latest improvements include the introduction of a new Medicines Handling Policy and the release of a suite of documents providing guidance on key areas of risk identified in the original Commission reports, including access, accountability, registers and record keeping, and the supply and receipt of controlled drugs.

The Commission has now completed its series of reports on this matter, noting that the new policy provides a more consistent, risk-based approach to the management of medicines.

The management of controlled drugs will remain an area of continued misconduct risk for WA Health, which will need ongoing mitigation.

Read the report

A final review of recommendations made following reports on dangerous drugs in Western Australian hospitals