In the years since Damian Crump's death, security and storage procedures at Ambulance Tasmania drug stores have improved to prevent the illegal diversion of pharmaceuticals, but automated drug safes should be the goal, an inquest witness has said.
Mr Crump died in 2016 after allegedly stealing high-grade pharmaceuticals from the drug stores while on leave from his job as a paramedic, which he used to take his own life.
The inquest has heard that there were hundreds of unverified entries in drug store records. Drug stores are found across Ambulance Tasmania's 54 locations, used to stock "kits" that are taken for administration to patients.
On day 9 of the inquest into Mr Crump's death, evidence about the ways in which drug stores are currently accessed was heard. This included the use of two swipe cards to gain access to the store, requiring two staff members to enter, the use of a swipe card and unique pin to gain access to the safe and working CTTV footage in some but not all of the stores.
Patient records are now verified with drugs being removed from the stores, "kits" are empty at start of shifts, filled with drugs signed out from the stores, and then emptied again at end of shift.
When a witness was questioned whether he would suggest further improvements to the process he said "absolutely".
"Ideally we would want the swipe access to link with a software system that knows [a staff member] is on. That is a complicated system, but we can have that as a goal," he said.
These electronic automated drug systems send raw data back to the network that can be monitored remotely, where the drugs heading into kits can be tracked as they head in and out.They were brought in by Ambulance Victoria after it experienced rampant drug diversions by its staff.
"Should a discrepancy be picked up by the system, it would send a message through to the duty manager to investigate," he said.
"It allows us to collect raw data about usage of medications by particular paramedics ... it would be ideal to link it into our patient care record."
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