New South Wales Health Minister Greg Hunt has “taken a machete” to the federal medical cannabis regulations in order to allow “direct and immediate access” to the program for patients, the Australian Broadcasting Company reports. The changes will take effect in the coming weeks.
“Where the doctors say it is required, we’ll make sure it is available in a matter of days. New South Wales is now the national leader — we have had tremendous discussions with Tasmania and Victoria, and so I am hopeful that will make progress with them very shortly — but the benchmark has been set here and this is about saving lives and protecting lives, it’s about giving people the capacity to go through their treatments.” – Hunt to ABC
Cannabis is still considered a “medication of last resort” by many NSW physicians, but the Medical Cannabis Council applauded the move to streamline the process.
Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard indicated that the government had recently spent AUS$6 million on an advisory service to assist doctors in the prescribing process.
“When people have got that diagnosis of cancer and they are having the treatment, they are having the chemo, they obviously often feel very sick, nauseous, vomiting. This will allow a very fast response to allow them to get access to what can be … certainly a medicine that can assist you with the nausea and the vomiting. It also can assist children who suffer fits from a range of illnesses.” – Hazzard to ABC
Under the rules slashed by Hunt, it could take months for a patient to access the program.
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