New South Wales
In July 2008, Christine Ann O'Gorman filed a statement of claim against the defendant seeking damages for injuries and losses allegedly caused by the negligence of two radiologists, Dr Van Rooijen and Dr Varnava who reported on Mrs O'Gorman's mammogram screening. The screening was carried out under the title BreastScreen NSW. The vicarious liability of the defendant for any negligent conduct of the radiologists was not in dispute.
The foundation of the claim was the reading of mammograms undertaken at a BreastScreen clinic in Camperdown on 23 February 2006. On 7 March, BreastScreen wrote to Mrs O'Gorman and her GP advising that "the doctors who looked at your screening mammograms (opined) that there was no visible evidence of breast cancer". The letter also contained some cautionary advice. On 1 January 2007, whilst on holiday, Mrs O'Gorman noticed a hard lump in her left breast. When she returned home she consulted her GP, but was not able to obtain an appointment for new mammograms and an ultrasound until 17 January. These investigations resulted in a diagnosis of breast cancer in the left breast.
The claim was heard in October 2008. The court delivered judgement in favour of Mrs O'Gorman for $405,990.15.
The defendant appealed against that judgement. Before it was heard, the carcinoma metastasized into Mrs O'Gorman's lungs and brain and she died. The plaintiff (her daughter) is the legal representative of her estate. The Court of Appeal held that all judgements advanced by the defendant failed, except for the argument that the trial judge should not have disallowed expert evidence from Dr van Rooijen and Varnava even though it was their causal acts of negligence which constituted the plaintiff's case.
This case was a retrial on the issue of negligence. No challenge was made to the duty of care expressed by the trial judge, who said that the duty was "to provide that level of care and skill in the interpretation of mammograms to be expected from a reasonably competent radiologist in the context of a mammogram screening programme". The appeal was essentially to determine whether there were features in the 2006 mammogram which raised the possibility of malignancy to have required the radiologists to recall Mrs O'Gorman for further investigation.
The plaintiff relied on expert evidence from Dr Peter Kitchener and the defendant on the evidence of Associate Professor Jonathan Osborne. In addition, Dr Van Rooijen and Dr Varnava were not prevented from expressing expert opinion. As expected, their evidence supported the defendant's case.
All the radiologists agreed that if the 2006 mammogram was looked at in isolation, Mrs O'Gorman should have been recalled for further examination and investigation.
On appeal, Grove J preferred the evidence of Dr Kitchener. Dr Van Rooijen testified that following a review of all available mammograms (of which there were 6 from 1994 to 2006), she did not observe any changes which she regarded as significant, and would have come to the same conclusion if she had done so in 2006. Dr Varnava's evidence appeared to be inconsistent on a number of occasions, and was essentially "a campaign to justify the decision not to recall Mrs O'Gorman". Grove J was not impressed by the evidence of either Dr Van Rooijen or Dr Varnava.
The main reason why the judge preferred Dr Kitchener's evidence was that he used cumulative observations in forming his opinions. Professor Osborne focussed on individual observations, appearing reluctant to form a response to the cumulative observations. The evidence advanced by Dr Rooijen and Dr Varnava was a series of excuses for their failure to react to indicators which may have suggested sinister implications.
The judge was satisfied that "radiologists providing the level of skill in the interpretation of mammograms to be exercised in the context of a breast screening programme ought to have recalled Mrs O'Gorman for further examination in 2006", and therefore, that the issue of negligence should be decided in favour of the plaintiff.
Australia. Federal Court
The appeal concerned the validity of decisions made under section 98 of the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) (Health Act) by a delegate of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing Secretary). The decisions related to an approval granted under the Health Act to Ms Margaret Hinde to supply pharmaceutical benefits at premises in Aberdeen, NSW (Premises). Approval by the Secretary allows a pharmacist to supply and sell drugs under the Commonwealth Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
On 20 April 2009, a delegate of the Secretary purported to cancel Ms Hinde's approval. On the same day, the delegate wrote to Ms Hinde (who was in prison), notifying her of the decision and of her right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Tribunal) for a review under section 105AB (8A) of the Health Act.
Ms Hinde's approval was cancelled following an extended period of suspension (due to Ms Hinde's alcohol dependency) and deactivation (following a fire which badly damaged the Premises, and a serious car accident in which Ms Hinde was involved). Following the car accident, Ms Hinde pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving occasioning death and was being held on remand in prison awaiting sentencing. At the time of remand, the judge had said that a full time custodial sentence was inevitable. In December 2008, a delegate of the Secretary wrote to Ms Hinde explaining that deactivations for more than six months were only granted in exceptional circumstances (and that Ms Hinde's approval had been deactivated for over 12 months). The delegate informed Ms Hinde that there was a significant chance that her approval would be cancelled. There was some correspondence between the delegate and Ms Hinde's solicitors, but this did not convince the delegate that the approval should not be cancelled.
On 6 May 2009, the appellant, Mr Timothy Flaherty, applied to the Secretary for the grant of an approval in respect of the Premises. He included with his application a copy of a lease of the premises for a term of two years commencing on 1 June 2009. If Ms Hinde's approval was cancelled, approval could have been granted to Mr Flaherty in respect of the Premises. However, on 26 May 2009 the delegate decided to review her earlier decision to cancel Ms Hinde's approval, believing that they may not have afforded Ms Hinde procedural fairness. The delegate purported to revoke the cancellation and reinstate the approval. If these actions were effective, Mr Flaherty could not be granted approval in respect of the Premises.
Mr Flaherty commenced proceedings under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (Cth) (Judicial Review Act) seeking orders that the revocation and reinstatement of approval for Ms Hinde be quashed or set aside. In February 2010, a judge held that the cancellation decision was ineffective and the revocation and reinstatement was valid. Mr Flaherty appealed from those orders.
The court concluded that the cancellation of Ms Hinde's approval on 20 April 2009 was effective. It ordered that there should be a declaration made that approval number 12370C to Ms Hinde was validly cancelled and has had no force or effect since that time. In addition, an order should be made quashing the delegate's decision in May 2009 to reinstate the approval.
New Zealand. Health & Disability Commissioner
Therapeutic Goods (Charges) Amendment Regulations 2010 (No. 1) - F2010L01283 - Health - These Regulations amend the Therapeutic Goods (Charges) Regulations 1990 to increase all annual charges for therapeutic goods and manufacturing licences by 2.4 per cent.
New South Wales
Health Practitioner Regulation Amendment Act 2010 No. 34 - assented 15/06/2010
Australia. Department of Health & Ageing
- 7 June 2010- More Elective Surgeries, Doctors and Nurses – AIHW Report-The latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that hospitals have benefited from the extra funding provided by the Australian Government as part of its work to deliver better health and better hospitals for Australian families.
- 15 June 2010- Big Step Forward in Fighting Tobacco Addiction-Legislation has passed Parliament that will help encourage an estimated 87,000 Australians to quit smoking.
- 15 June 2010- Construction Beginning on Shellharbour GP Super Clinic -The Australian Government's better health and hospitals plan was enhanced today as the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, and the Member for Throsby, Jennie George, kick-started work at the Shellharbour GP Super Clinic.
- 15 June 2010- Government Supports Next Generation of Health Professionals- New Training Facilities For Wollongong Hospital-More doctors, nurses and allied health professionals are set to be supported in Wollongong.
- 15 June 2010- New Beds for Wollongong Hospital-Australia's historic health and hospital reform is to deliver an additional 21 beds to Wollongong Hospital.
- 15 June 2010- One Single, United and Stronger National Cancer Agency-The Australian Government plans to create a single national cancer control agency to further strengthen the Government's strategic focus on cancer control and build a better health and hospital system.
- 15 June 2010- 'Doc'ceroos Take on Australian Federal Police at Parliament to Launch Men's Health Week-The launch of Men's Health Week is a great way of promoting awareness of male health issues. It was celebrated with a penalty shoot-out at Parliament House in Canberra on 15 June between the Australian Federal Police and 'Docceroos' – a team of soccer-playing doctors.
Private Health Insurance Circulars
Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (added Clevidipine & Lapatinib)
Drugs designated as orphan drugs (added human hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HEPATECT CP))
Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines (ACPM), 268th meeting recommendations (added 2 ratified resolutions)
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (added 'Soya oil, Medium chain triglycerides, Olive oil, Fish oil')
Australia. Dental Board of Australia
Update Continuing Professional Development - 9 June 2010 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - 9 June 2010 (pdf, 258kb)
Australia. Pharmacy Board of Australia
Update - The Pharmacy Board of Australia provided a revised proposal to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council for its Professional Indemnity Insurance Arrangements Registration Standard on 19 May 2010. - Proposal for Professional Indemnity Insurance Registration Standard (pdf, 37kb)
Australia. Medical Board of Australia
Thursday 10 June 2010 - Proposals on Registration Standards on limited registration for teaching or research and limited registration in the public interest. On 31 May 2010 Dr Joanna Flynn, Chair, Medical Board of Australia, finalised the Board's proposals on limited registration for teaching or research and limited registration in the public interest for submission to the Chair, Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council for approval. These proposals are based on responses to the Board's consultation paper and subsequent refinement by the Board. - Proposals on Registration Standards (pdf, 350kb)
Australia. Psychology Board of Australia
Tuesday 15 June 2010 Approved Codes and Guidelines The Psychology Board of Australia, under the authority of Professor Brin Grenyer, Chair, has released Guidelines on Area of Practice Endorsements and Guidelines on Continuing Professional Development. - Guidelines on area of practice endorsements (pdf, 216kb) Guidelines on continuing professional development (pdf, 200kb)
Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare
Australian hospital statistics 2008-09 - Australian hospital statistics 2008-09 presents a detailed overview of Australia's 1,317 public and private hospitals. In 2008-09, there were 8.1 million separations from Australia's hospitals including: 4.5 million same-day acute ... Published 17 June 2010.
Australian hospitals 2008-09 at a glance - Australia's hospital 2008-09 at a glance provides summary information on Australia's 1,317 public and private hospitals. In 2008-09, there were: 8.1 million hospitalisations in public and private hospitals; 7.2 million ... Published 17 June 2010.
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care
New South Wales. Department of Health
- Funding For ACON Mental Health Project [16 June 2010]
- Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) Framework for Mental Health Services PD2010_037 17/06/2010
- Transfer of Mental Health Inquiries from Magistrates to the Mental Health Review Tribunal IB2010_027 17/06/2010
New South Wales. Parliament. Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission
Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families
- Kon Vatskalis - Secure Care Facilities Darwin and Alice Springs - Alternative sites will be investigated for secure facilities in Darwin and Alice Springs, Minister for Children and Families Kon Vatskalis said today.
- Dr Chris Burns - Manager for Katherine Supported Accommodation Facility Appointed - The Territory Government today announced that Kalano Community Association will manage a refurbished complex at Acacia Drive in Katherine for supported accommodation.
- Kon Vatskalis - Smoking Bans in Outside Eateries from 2011 - Territorians will be able to breathe easier from January next year with legislation being passed in Parliament this afternoon to make outdoor eating and drinking areas smoke free.
Queensland. Department of Health
- 18/06/2010 Queensland hospitals rate well
- 16/06/2010 Take a Pit Stop and get your health on track
- 15 June 2010 Sexual health expo targeting Indigenous young people (PDF, 45KB) 11 June 2010
- Nine cleared by Hendra virus testing (PDF, 47KB) 11 June 2010
- Drug Action Week launched in Mackay District (PDF, 53KB) 09 June 2010
- Carendo chair donation for Nanango Hospital (PDF, 43KB)
- 08 June 2010 2010-11 Queensland Government Budget Highlights
South Australia. Department of Health
- Dental plan for South Australia - Friday, 18 June 2010 - Health Minister John Hill has released a seven-year plan to ensure South Australians continue to receive world class dental care as well as reducing decay rates and waiting times to see a dentist. "All South Australians should have access to safe, timely and affordable oral health care and this plan sets out the guiding principles to achieve this," Minister Hill said. Read more...
Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services
Tasmanian Budget 2010-11 18 Jun 2010
Victoria. Department of Health
- Final Stage Of New Rochester Hospital Opens - Friday, 18 June 2010
- More Support For Women In The Fight Against Cancer Published : - 17/06/2010
- Funding Boost To Help Develop Early Detection Of Ovarian Cancer Published : - 15/06/2010
- $4.2 Million Special Care Nursery Taking Shape At Casey Published : - 15/06/2010
- Eaglehawk And Long Gully Communities Celebrate Published : - 15/06/2010
Interstate Guidelines - June 2010 (PDF File 121kb) - New cross-border guidelines have been developed by Victoria and South Australia, effective from 15 June 2010. They provide operational guidance on the delivery of cross-border mental health services, under the civil agreement between the two states. The guidelines cover service delivery, taking persons to the other state for involuntary treatment, the planned transfer of patients and the apprehension and return of patients who are absent without leave. The guidelines will be the subject of ongoing review, to reflect any changes to mental health legislation and the service systems in either state. Feedback is sought about the form and content of the guidelines, to ensure they meet users' needs and are relevant to service providers and other stake holders. Comments may be provided to Kristen.Densley@health.vic.gov.au or by telephone (Mon-Wed) to Kristen Densley (03) 9096 6931.
Melbourne's bed of roses - 11 June 2010 - Melbourne women will have better access to lifesaving breast cancer screening with a new BreastScreen clinic to open in the CBD.
Heartfelt thanks to Royal Children's - 11 June 2010 - Young cardiac patients whose lives were saved thanks to world-class technology gathered at the Royal Children's Hospital to share their experiences.
- Publication Number 14 / 2010 - 11 June 2010 - Subject: Public Hospital fees – Changes
Western Australia. Department of Health
- Community thanked for new $3.4million paediatric wing at Peel Health Campus 18 Jun 2010Hames
- Successful men's health program expanded 16 Jun 2010 Grylls, Redman
- Work begins on new cancer and pathology facilities at QEII Medical Centre 15 Jun 2010 Hames
New Zealand. Ministry of Health
Tatau Kahukura: Māori Health Chart Book 2010, 2nd Edition - The chart book presents key indicators relating to the socioeconomic determinants of health, risk and protective factors for health, health status, health service utilisation, and the health system
New Zealand. Mental Health Commission
14 June 2010, The Mental Health Commission criticises Otago University student magazine's parody of homeless people and calls for an apology - A recent 'Critic' magazine story The Bum and the Bottom of the World interviews three apparently... - + Read more
9th April 2010, Feedback required on the family/whānau booklet we are producing - We are seeking comments from a wide range of people and agencies to tell us what you think about the draft booklet "When someone in your family/whānau has mental health or addiction issues". Please download the consultation paper here. Some questions are set out in Appendix One of this paper that we would like you to complete (this is also available here as a word document). Please email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm 7 May 2010. We would prefer to receive submissions in electronic format (Microsoft Word or PDF); however, we are happy to received faxed or posted submissions.
Canada. Health Canada
United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services
Australian Medical Association
AMA calls on Senate to pass National Preventative Health Agency Bill to put spotlight on prevention 16 June 2010 - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the AMA is calling on the Senate to pass the National Preventative Health Agency Bill during this fortnight's Parliamentary sitting period. Dr Pesce said the National Preventative Health Agency would set a national strategic approach to prevention and promote healthier lifestyles by advising and making recommendations to governments on preventative health.
Tobacco excise legislation passed; plain packaging for tobacco products next - AMA 15 June 2010 - Welcoming the passing today of legislation to increase the excise on tobacco products by 25 per cent, the AMA is urging the Parliament to be equally supportive of other anti-smoking initiatives, especially the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said the Government's strong action to combat smoking would save lives and improve the health of many thousands of Australians.
GPs call for individual health identifier 15 June 2010 - General practice representative groups have joined forces this week to push for the Healthcare Identifiers Bill 2010 to be passed. Members of United General Practice Australia (UGPA) – the Rural Doctors Association of Australia, the Australian General Practice Network, The Australian Medical Association, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and General Practice Registrars Australia – want to see health identifiers become a routine part of medical practice.
"He won't be right, mate" Men urged to be proactive about their health 13 June 2010 - AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton, today urged Australian men to be proactive about their health and seek advice and support from their family doctors to keep themselves in good shape for a longer life.
GP Network News Issue 10, Number 19 - 11 June 2010 11 June 2010 - GP Network News Issue 10, Number 19 - 11 June 2010:- AMA seeks more detail and engagement on health reform; Practice nurse funding changes: AMA practice manager survey; AMA position statement – doctors and preventative care; Use of antiviral medication for influenza in 2010; New waist measurement resources for general practice
American Medical Association
AMA Urges Sunscreen for Everyone, Regardless of Skin Tone - Media Alert, June 17, 2010 - People of all skin colors, including blacks and Hispanics, should wear sunscreen and avoid excessive sun exposure to reduce their skin-cancer risk. Read the Washington Post Article
Florida Physician Cecil Wilson New AMA President - AMA Press Release, June 15, 2010 - Cecil B. Wilson, MD, an internist from Winter Park, Florida was inaugurated today as the 165th president of the American Medical Association at its Annual Meeting. Read more
AMA Adopts New Policies During Final Day of Annual Meeting - AMA Press Release, June 15, 2010 - The AMA, the nation's largest physician group, voted today at its Annual Meeting to adopt the following new scientific policies. Read more
AMA Works to Strengthen the Physician Workforce to Meet the Nation's Health Care Needs - AMA Press Release, June 14, 2010 - U.S. faces a shortage of between 124,000 and 159,000 physicians by 2025. Read more
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