Population Health Division

The Health Protection Service undertook a public consultation on options to expand the Medicines Advisory Committeeand change the requirements for prescribing controlled medicines under the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008. The Health Protection Service published an online consultation paper for comment and hosted two face-to-face discussion forums for key stakeholders, in August and October 2013. The Health Protection Service received 33 stakeholder submissions in response to the consultation. The majority of submissions favoured the option to expand the Medicines Advisory Committee and streamline the prescribing of controlled medicines through use of a standing controlled medicines approval process. The Health Protection Service is currently exploring regulatory amendments to further the consultation outcomes.

The Health Protection Service undertook consultation on restricting access to tobacco as part of Future Directions for Tobacco Reduction in the ACT. The consultation, between 21 March and 12 May 2014, included options for restricting tobacco through increased tobacco licence fees and changes to licensing schemes. The discussion paper was distributed to more than 260 stakeholders, including tobacco licensees, public health advocacy groups and industry groups. The paper was also placed on the ACT Government Time to Talk consultation website and the ACT Health website. Sixty written responses were received. The majority of submissions were from tobacco licensees from both small and large ACT businesses. Issues raised by submitters are currently being reviewed to create a summary report.Where the submitter agreed, submissions are expected to be published in the near future on the ACT Government's Time to Talk consultation website. All received submissions and views expressed during the consultation process will be considered as part of any future regulatory development.

Newspoll was contracted to conduct an omnibus survey of 1000 Canberra adults to gauge and benchmark community attitudes to vending machines and drinking tap water. Qualitative focus testing was undertaken to test the potential effectiveness of creative concepts promoting tap water as the drink of choice, which resulted in development of a new marketing brand that was launched in June 2014.

To inform the development of the 'ways to wellbeing' social marketing campaign, parents of children aged 8 and under were consulted in a quantitative online survey of 100 people, qualitative focus group testing involving 28 people, and in-depth interviews with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents. The social marketing campaign promotes healthy lifestyle messages to parents of children in this age group and will be implemented in 2014-15.

From November 2013 to January 2014, the ACT Government undertook a public consultation process regarding the future of the Gene Technology (GM Crop Moratorium) Act 2004. A consultation paper was placed on the Time to Talk website and advertised in the Community Noticeboard section of The Canberra Times in line with the ACT Government Guide to Community Engagement. No submissions were received.

The Health Protection Service undertook a targeted consultation in June 2014 with the medical community and select health advocacy groups on making changes to the guidelines for prescribing amphetamines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Approximately 500 doctors were invited to provide comment during the consultation. The Medicines Advisory Committee independently reviewed all 13 stakeholder submissions received and agreed to change the guidelines in order to provide patients with greater access to therapy, and to ensure consistency with other jurisdictions.