People prescribing these prescriptions

In 2022–23 (Figure 3):

  • General practitioners (GPs) prescribed the majority (90%) of palliative care-related prescriptions, while palliative medicine specialists prescribed 1.4% of medications. The remainder (8.6%) were prescribed by other clinicians (including medical specialists from other disciplines and nurse practitioners).
  • 8 in 10 prescriptions (80%) by GPs were for pain relief. Palliative medicine specialists and other clinicians also predominately prescribed for pain relief, but to a lesser extent (70% and 57%, respectively).
  • Palliative medicine specialists prescribed a larger proportion of medications for respiratory symptoms and psychological symptoms (8.6% and 4.9%, respectively) than medications in other 3 groups (gastrointestinal symptoms 2.1%, pain relief 1.3% and neurological symptoms 1.2%).

Vast majority of prescriptions by palliative medicine specialists were from the General Schedule

Palliative medicine specialists routinely prescribe medicines for palliative care, either through the Palliative Care Schedule, General Schedule, or other schedules. Some palliative care specialists may also hold other medical specialisations (for example, oncology). Prescriptions may be issued for patients other than those receiving palliative care. 

In 2022–23, 352,000 prescriptions were prescribed by palliative medicine specialists, with the vast majority (92%) of these prescriptions from the General Schedule (Table 8). 

Figure 3: Prescriptions from PBS Palliative Care Schedule, by prescriber type, 2022–23

This dashboard presents data on palliative care-related medications by prescriber type in each medication group and state and territory in 2022–23.