Call for GP incentives for opioid substitute therapy

The call comes as national OST guidelines are being rewritten and the Victorian AMA is calling for $5000 incentive payments for GPs to get involved.

Dr Benny Monheit, who has around 150 Melbourne-based OST clients, said there was a long-standing shortfall in OST prescriber numbers yet increasing demand.

“That keeps rising and the number of doctors willing to become prescribers has really not increased significantly for the last 5–7 years,” Dr Monheit told MO.

“Those who are doing it are getting older – many in their 50s, 60s and even 70s – and we need a new generation of doctors to be interested in this because the older doctors can’t keep doing it forever.”

The latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures show just over 46,000 OST clients nationally on a snapshot day in 2010, up around 2600 from the previous year, while OST prescribers grew from 1435 to 1449.