Q&A: Can I take my child to an interstate paediatrican?

Can my child see a paediatrician interstate for diagnosis - either by flying there or via telehealth?

Advice from the Department of Health as at 14 March 2023:

The Medicines and Poisons Act 2014/Regulations 2016 do not regulate ADHD diagnosis per se, only the prescribing of Schedule 8 stimulant medicines.


Unfortunately, the current restrictive requirements of the Medicines and Poisons Regulations 2016 only allow the Department to authorise a WA based specialist as an ‘authorised stimulant prescriber’ and, similarly, a GP can only be nominated as a co-prescriber by a WA ‘authorised stimulant prescriber’.  


As the WA legislation only applies within the WA borders, the Department is unable to authorise an interstate specialist as an ‘authorised stimulant prescriber’ in WA.


We are taking steps to seek amendment of the Medicines and Poisons Regulations 2016 to better support emerging models of care, such as shared care arrangements between the patient’s WA based general practitioner and a specialist located interstate, with whom the patient consults via telehealth. 


Unfortunately, regulatory amendments take time and it will likely be up to 12 months before the law controlling prescribing in WA catches up with this type of model of care.


Currently, this means that prescriptions for stimulant medicines in Schedule 8 written by a prescriber located interstate cannot be dispensed by a pharmacy located in Western Australia. Although not ideal, an interstate pharmacy could dispense the medication and mail it to the patient in WA.


If treatment is with Schedule 4 medicines (e.g. atomoxetine, guanfacine), there is no impediment through the Medicines and Poisons legislation as there are no additional authorisation requirements to prescribe any Schedule 4 medicines. 


Similarly, any non-pharmacological treatments are not regulated through the Medicines and Poisons legislation.


Whilst I realise S8 stimulants are a key treatment option for children and young people with ADHD, it should not be assumed that every patient diagnosed with this condition will be treated with these particular medicines.