Welcome to this week's edition of Health Alert. The Health Alert is transmitted on Monday of each week (unless there is a public holiday on Monday).
Health Alert is a summary of the critical judgments, legislation, press releases and news items which have come to our attention each week. Many of the summaries will contain a hyperlink.
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New South Wales. Administrative Decisions Tribunal
Equal Opportunity – Complaint of discrimination by reason of being an 'associate' of a person with protected characteristic – Construction – Person with protected characteristic need not be a living person at time of conduct put in issue – Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, s 4 ('associate'), s 49B
New South Wales. Nurses and Midwives Tribunal
Medicine - Nurses - Nurses and Midwives Tribunal - Impairment – Acquired brain injury – Relevant considerations for protective orders - Whether conditions sufficient - Removal from roll
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Mr Woo was a registered as a Chinese Medical Practitioner under the Health Professions Registration Act 2005. Between 1 January 2002 and 1 July 2007, he was registered under the Chinese Medicine Registration Act 2000.
On 31 March 2009, Mr Woo's conduct and character was referred to the Tribunal for a hearing. The conduct in question related to two patients, Ms P and Ms G.
Mr Woo treated Ms P between June and August of 2007. Mr Woo admitted that during consultations, he performed intra-vaginal treatments on Ms P without clinical justification. In addition, his records in relation to Ms P's treatment were not of the standard required by the draft guidelines released by the Board. It was also alleged that Mr Woo's records were inadequate or non-existent in relation to Ms P's medical history, diagnosis, treatment performed, details of symptoms and signs, advice given to her by him, any referral made and other relevant information.
The Tribunal found that Mr Woo engaged in unprofessional conduct within the meaning of Section 3 of the Health Professions Registration Act 2005 by carrying out a procedure which was not clinically appropriate in Chinese medicine practice in the contemporary Australian context and additionally, because of his inadequate record keeping.
Mr Woo treated Ms G on approximately 5 occasions between 1999 and 2000. This period is prior to the regulation of the Chinese medical profession by the Chinese Medicine Registration Act 2000. Mr Woo admitted that during each consultation, he failed to provide her with adequate patient modesty/privacy as required. In one consultation, it was alleged that Mr Woo failed to obtain Ms G's properly informed consent prior to administering digital stimulation to an alleged acupuncture point within her vagina and prior to massaging her nipples. Mr Woo admitted that these treatments were carried out without clinical justification. Ms G's statement indicated that Mr Woo's failure to provide any garment or screening to protect her modesty or privacy made her very uncomfortable.
The Tribunal was satisfied that Mr Woo's conduct of performing sexually inappropriate acts on a patient was intrinsically serious and had no clinical justification or therapeutic value. The inappropriateness of his actions made them entirely inconsistent with proper practice by any health professional.
The Tribunal took the view that Mr Woo's actions were consistent with earlier findings by the Professional Standards Panel of the Chinese Medicine Registration Board in relation to his actions in August and September 2007. During this period, he failed to offer his patient proper privacy during consultations, failed to protect the modesty of the patient during treatment, caused her to cry during one consultation and caused her discomfort, stress, anxiety and embarrassment. The Panel was of the view that Mr Woo "lacked insight into what the Panel considered to be his lack of empathy with a patient and her reasonable concern".
The Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria suggested that Mr Woo's registration should be made subject to certain conditions. However, the Tribunal was of the view that the only option available to it was to cancel Mr Woo's registration. Mr Woo failed to show any insight into his actions and therefore the Tribunal considered there was a risk to the public in allowing Mr Woo to continue to practice. In addition, the Tribunal disqualified Mr Woo from applying for registration within 2 years.
Health Legislation Amendment (Australian Community Pharmacy Authority and Private Health Insurance) Act 2010 - C2010A00063 - Health - An Act to amend the National Health Act 1953 and the Private Health Insurance Act 2007, and for related purposes
Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010 - C2010A00072 - Health - An Act to provide for healthcare identifiers, and for related purposes
Healthcare Identifiers (Consequential Amendments) Act 2010 - C2010A00073 - Health - An Act to deal with consequential matters in connection with the Healthcare Identifiers Act 2010, and for related purposes
Healthcare Identifiers Regulations 2010 - F2010L01829 - Health - These Regulations set out provisions relating to the assignment, collection, use, adoption and disclosure of healthcare identifiers.
Therapeutic Goods (Excluded purposes) Specification 2010 - F2010L01889 - Health - This Specification sets out those purposes (excluded purposes) for which a kind of in-vitro diagnostic medical device for self-testing may not be used. In-vitro diagnostic medical devices to be used for purposes that are excluded cannot be included in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.
New South Wales
Health Practitioner Regulation (New South Wales) Regulation 2010 No. 333 - commenced on 1 July 2010.
Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia) Act 2010 No. 5 - assented 01/07/2010
Pharmacy Regulation Act 2010 - assent 30 June 2010
Australia. Department of Health & Ageing
09 July 2010 - New Technology to Boost Mental Health Services in Regional Victoria - The Minister for Rural and Regional Health, Warren Snowdon, said today the Australian Government was tackling significant mental health workforce shortages in regional Victoria through an innovative new project to train medical students online.
07 July 2010 - Federal Rural Health Minister Holds Health Forum in Esk - Minister for Indigenous Health Rural and Regional Health Warren Snowdon has held a held forum in Esk and toured a number of the region's health facilities to talk about health reform and health issues of importance to the region.
07 July 2010 - Indigenous Health Minister Holds Indigenous Health Forum in Ipswich to Mark NAIDOC Week - Indigenous Health Minister Warren Snowdon and Member for Blair Shayne Neumann have visited an Aboriginal Medical Service in Ipswich during NAIDOC week to hold an Indigenous Health forum.
07 July 2010 - Minister Elliot Visits Hawthorn Village - Hobart - The Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, has visited Hawthorn Village, an aged care facility in Blackmans Bay in Hobart's south, where a 13-bed dementia wing was constructed with the assistance of a $1 million capital grant from the Australian Government.
07 July 2010 - New Beds For Prince Of Wales Hospital - Australia's historic health and hospital reform is set to deliver an additional 12 beds to Prince of Wales Hospital.
07 July 2010 - Release of Roadmap to Reform - The timeline for the further delivery of better health and hospital services has been released by the Minister for Health and Ageing.
07 July 2010 - Wallan and Mt Isa GP Super Clinics to Receive Financial Boost - Communities in Wallan and Mt Isa have received a boost as part of the Australian Government's better health and hospitals plan, with the Government to an additional $2.5 million for the Wallan GP Super Clinic, making a total of $3.5 million and a further $2.5 million for the Mt Isa GP Super Clinic, making a total of $5 million.
06 July 2010 - Better Clinical Training for Tasmanian Students - $4.5 Million - Up to an additional 250 medical, nursing and allied health students are expected to be trained in Tasmania each year by 2013 following a $4.5 million commitment for new clinical training infrastructure across the state.
06 July 2010 - Ipswich GP Super Clinic Progressing Well - Progress at the Ipswich GP Super Clinic is advancing well, with the first stage of the clinic expected to be operational by the end of August.
06 July 2010 - More Aged Care Beds for North Western Tasmania - Support from the Australian Government's Zero Real Interest Loans initiative has helped deliver more aged care services in Deloraine.
06 July 2010 - New $1.57 million Cooma dementia day-care and HACC centre - Services for older residents and people with a disability of Cooma and surrounds have received a boost with the opening of a $1.57 million dementia day care.
06 July 2010 - Reforms Means Better Health Services for Older Residents of Devonport - Devonport seniors today joined Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot and Member for Braddon Sid Sidebottom to discuss the Australian Government's health and aged care reforms which mean better support and better care for older Australians.
05 July 2010 - Lismore Cancer Centre Officially Opened - Patients and their families on the north coast of New South Wales will gain significantly from improved access to essential cancer services with the opening of the Lismore Integrated Cancer Care Centre.
05 July 2010 - New Federal Funding to Get Kyogle Community more Active - Residents of Kyogle and surrounding towns on the north coast of New South Wales will have access to a community garden, a refurbished gym and new equipment, and local fitness instructors under new project funded by the Australian Government.
05 July 2010 - Next Generation of Female Sport Leaders Announced - Minister for Sport Kate Ellis and Minister for the Status of Women Tanya Plibersek have announced the recipients of the 2010-11 Sport Leadership Grants and Scholarships for Women (SLGSfW) program.
Feedback on potential boundaries for Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks - As part of the health reforms, the Australian Government will invest $416.8 million over four years to establish a network of primary health care organisations (Medicare Locals) across Australia. This includes funding to improve access to after hours primary care through Medicare Locals. To inform development work on potential boundaries for Medicare Locals and Local Hospital Networks, the Department of Health and Ageing is seeking views from interested parties. Visit the yourHealth website for information and to have your say.
Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration
Investigation into febrile reactions in young children following 2010 seasonal trivalent influenza vaccination (status report as at 2 July 2010)
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority
Queensland Registrants - 02 Jul 2010 Statement from AHPRA
Browser support for this website - 01 Jul 2010 General
Failed to renew registration due on 30 June 2010? - 01 Jul 2010 Statement from AHPRA
When will registrants hear from National Boards? - 30 Jun 2010 Statement from AHPRA
Australia. National Health &Medical Research Council
NHMRC Public Statement: Wind Turbines and Health 2 July 2010 - NHMRC has released a Public Statement presenting the current evidence relating to potential health impacts of wind turbines on people living in close proximity. » View NHMRC Public Statement: Wind Turbines and Health
Launch of Road Map II - continuing commitment to Indigenous health research priorities 22 JUNE 2010 - NHMRC has launched Road Map II: A strategic framework for improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through research. » Download a copy of Road Map II (840KB pdf)
Australia. Private Health Insurance Administration Council
1 July Capital Adequacy Standard – Market Yield Rate June 2010 CURRENT EDITION 10/12
Australian Capital Territory.Department of Health
New Canberra Hospital shuttle bus - 5.7.10 - Temporary parking arrangements are in place at Canberra Hospital supported by a new shuttle bus service.
NAIDOC Week: 4-11 July (4 July 2010) - NAIDOC Week celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and the contribution of Indigenous Australians.
Living with Cancer Education Program (4 July 2010) - The Living With Cancer Education Program is free and provides information and support for people with cancer.
Health Services Performance Report (1 July 2010) - See the latest quarterly report on the performance of the public health services provided by ACT Health.
New South Wales. Department of Health
Being a Healthy Woman Book Released [02 July 2010]
ACT and Tasmanian Governments join up to 'Get Healthy' [01 July 2010]
Second Independent Report on NSW Health Reforms [05 July 2010]
NEW BEDS FOR ROYAL PRINCE ALFRED HOSPITAL [02 July 2010]
Pharmacy Labourforce Profile NSW, 2008 30/06/2010
Policy directives & guidelines
Pathology Services provided to Private In-patients in Public Hospitals - PD2010_048 - 07/07/2010
Standard Technology Product Acquisition - PD2010_047 - 06/07/2010
National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week 2010 - IB2010_033 - 07/07/2010
Technology Standards Policy Directives - IB2010_032 - 06/07/2010
Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families
Executive Director of NT Families and Children appointed - 1 July 2010 - The Department of Health and Families (DHF) today announced Clare Gardiner-Barnes as the Executive Director of the Northern Territory Families and Children (NTFC) division.
1 July 2010 - Kon Vatskalis - Alice Springs Hospital Becomes More Energy Efficient - About $500,000 worth of energy-efficiency upgrades at Alice Springs Hospital will result in the saving of 440 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually - or the equivalent of driving from Alice Springs to Darwin and back 650 times a year.
Queensland. Department of Health
02/07/2010 State of Our Public Hospitals report
South Australia. Department of Health
Draft Safe Drinking Water Bill - SA Health has released the draft Safe Drinking Water Bill for public consultation. read more...
New councils to join SA's Opal program - 7 July - South Australia's Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (OPAL) program is continuing to grow, with four more councils joining the initiative to encourage families to lead healthy, active lives. style='mso-bidi-font-family: Arial'>Read more...
Government funding for arts and cultural events - 3 July - The Minister Assisting the Premier in the Arts John Hill has announced more than $1 million in funding to enhance arts, cultural venues and infrastructure across the State. This significant investment will improve access to venues and help purchase much needed equipment. Read more...
Honouring SA's mental health champions - 2 July - The State Government is calling for nominations for South Australia's seventh annual Dr Margaret Tobin Awards. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Minister, John Hill said the awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals and organisations which support and promote positive mental health. Read more...
SA architect appointed for $69.3m Cancer Centre - 2 July - The State Government has appointed a South Australian architectural firm to design Whyalla's new $69.3m regional cancer centre at Whyalla Country General Hospital. Health Minister John Hill said Adelaide firm Hames Sharley successfully tendered to design the joint state and federally funded project, which will be integrated with the South Australian Cancer Clinical Network. Read more...
New Mental Health Act - 1 July - New legislation governing the provision of treatment, care and rehabilitation of people with mental illness in South Australia comes into effect today. Minister for Mental Health and Substance Abuse John Hill said the Mental Health Act 2009 underpins the reform of South Australia's mental health services. Read more...
QEH's United Nations of volunteers - 1 July - With 125 members from more than a dozen countries, one Adelaide group can claim to be a local United Nations of volunteers. The Friends of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital boasts members who were born in countries including Turkey, Hungary, Greece, the Ukraine, China, Italy, Vietnam, England, the Netherlands, Malta and Estonia, as well as people from all over Australia. Read more...
South Australia. Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner
HCSCC Charter of Rights -> From 1 July 2010 a draft HCSCC Charter is being widely distributed for consultation. A discussion paper has been developed and feedback is invited from any individual, group or organisation that wishes to comment on the draft HCSCC Charter and address the consultation questions. Comments received during the consultation period will be considered before a final Charter is presented to the Minister for Health by 1 October 2010. HCSCC welcomes feedback / written submissions until 11 August 2010. For further information please click here
Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services
Victoria. Department of Health
World-class Parkville comprehensive cancer centre - 2 July 2010 - The scope of Victoria's $1 billion world-class Parkville Comprehensive Cancer Centre project will be expanded further to include additional research space, radiation therapy bunkers and intensive care beds.
Food Act reforms cut red tape - 1 July 2010 - Changes to the Food Act 1984 simplify food safety requirements in low-risk situations.
Western Australia. Department of Health
4 July 2010 - WA Health nurse recognised at NAIDOC Perth celebrations
2 July 2010 - Disease risk alert for Bali travellers
06 Jul 2010Jacobs Everyone's business: have your say on mental health reform in WA
New Zealand. Ministry of Health
5 Jul: 2010 District Health Boards: Information for Candidates. - Provides information for anyone interested in standing to be a board member in the 2010 District Health Board elections.
United Kingdom. Department of Health
United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services
HHS Awards $96 Million to Train Health Professionals - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the awarding of $96 million in grants to increase diversity in the health professions workforce and encourage nurses to choose careers as nurse educators.
United States of America. Centres for Disease Control & Prevention
Health Literacy - Improving Health Literacy ~ Every day, we hear, see or read health information that is supposed to help us but often is confusing or doesn't answer our questions. Now we have a national plan to improve health information and health literacy. (Published: 7/5/2010)
Australian Medical Association
Obese patients at higher risk of adverse events after hip reconstruction 4 July 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - Obese and morbidly obese patients are at significantly greater risk of complications after a total hip reconstruction than non-obese patients, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Prof Peter Choong, Director of the Department of Orthopaedics at St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, and co-authors conducted a prospective study of 471 patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty (THA) between 2006 and 2007.
Survey shows most Australians support late abortion 4 July 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - A majority of Australians support laws that enable women to access late abortion, depending on the circumstances, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Dr Lachlan de Crespigny, Prof Julian Savulescu and colleagues from the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, UK, report an anonymous survey of 1050 Australians aged 18 years or older between 28 and 31 July 2008.
Non-payment for hospital-acquired infections could provide an incentive to reduce complications of care 4 June 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - Removing reimbursements to hospitals for treating hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) could add further incentive to current initiatives aimed at reducing complications of care, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Mr Peter McNair, Clinical Epidemiologist at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, US, and Visiting Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and co-authors conducted a retrospective study to model the effect of excluding payment for eight HACs on hospital payments in Victoria.
Push for bowel cancer screening policy to refocus on the evidence 4 July 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - Effective implementation of an evidence-based bowel cancer-screening program could reduce the number of deaths from the disease by almost a quarter, according to an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia. The article by Ms Kathy Flitcroft, Research Fellow (Health Policy) at the Sydney School of Public Health and co-authors, analyses the history, development, implementation and effectiveness of bowel cancer-screening policy in Australia over the past fifteen years.
General Practice - Australian Medicine Special Feature 5 July 2010 - 12:00pm - Australian Medicine Special Feature
AMA puts the case to Productivity Commission for better access to medical services in aged care 2 July 2010 - 2:00pm - An AMA delegation of geriatricians, psychiatrists, general practitioners, and rehabilitation and palliative care specialists will today make a presentation to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Caring for Older Australians in Canberra. Medical care for older Australians was not included in the original Terms of Reference for the Inquiry, but the Commission agreed to the AMA's request to discuss this important aspect of aged care.
GP Network News Issue 10, Number 22 - 2 July 2010 1 July 2010 - 3:00pm - Family Doctors remain the backbone of the Australian health system ... but under pressure; AMA member survey of diabetes plan closes today; Support family doctors brochures; AMACGP meets this weekend; New rural incentives scheme begins; NRAS: Medicare provider numbers; Roll out of new DVA cards
Family Doctors remain the backbone of the Australian Health System ... but under pressure 1 July 2010 - 9:30am - The latest Australia's Health 2010 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) confirms yet again that GPs are the backbone of front line health care delivery in Australia, with 113 million services delivered to patients during 2008-09. AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the AIHW report confirms that GPs are increasingly dealing with older patients with more complex care needs.
Transcript: AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton, with Ross Greenwood, Radio 2GB 30 June 2010 - 3:40pm Date: Tuesday 29 June 2010, Subjects: Dr Jayant Patel
British Medical Association
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