Australia: Health Alert - 7 September 2010

Last Updated: 8 September 2010
Article by Heather Wellington

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.

If an item is of special interest, we may insert commentary into the body of Health Alert. However in general, Health Alert is a quick and effective means of ensuring that you are aware of significant recent changes with little or no commentary from ourselves.

If you would like to include a colleague or contact on our distribution list, or be removed from the list and not receive further issues from us, please contact Legal Updates at with the relevant contact details.

The DLA Phillips Fox Health Team


New South Wales. Nurses & Midwives Tribunal

HCCC V KAKAIRE [2010] NSWNMT 28 (26 August 2010) - Complaints against a nurse – unsatisfactory professional conduct – impairment – protective orders - powers of Professional Standards Committees to make orders

HCCC V GRENTELL [2010] NSWNMT 27 (26 August 2010) - Complaint against a nurse – unsatisfactory professional conduct – professional misconduct – impairment

HCCC V GRANT [2010] NSWNMT 26 (26 August 2010) - Complaint against a nurse – professional misconduct - unsatisfactory professional conduct – reprimand – conditions on registrations


The Psychology Board of Australia v D [2010] VSC 375 (1 September 2010)

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW ― Natural justice ― Procedural fairness ― Disciplinary proceedings ― Suppression order of practitioner's  name ― No such application by parties ― No prior disclosure by Tribunal of intention to do so ― Denial of opportunity by prosecuting body to insist on publication  ― Order set aside. ADMINISTRATIVE TRIBUNALS ― Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ― Disciplinary proceedings ― Professional misconduct ― Suppression orders preventing publication of certain identities and information ― Suppression order on publication of practitioner's name  ― Whether suppression of name was justifiable ― Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act (No. 53 of 1998), s 101(3), (4).

The Psychology Board of Australia v D [2010] VSC 375 (1 September 2010)

This case concerns an appeal to the Supreme Court by the Psychology Board of Australia ('the Board')regarding the validity of an order made by VCAT to suppress the name of a practicing psychologist who had assaulted a patient.

At VCAT the psychologist accepted that there should be a finding of professional misconduct and also accepted that his registration would most likely be cancelled. The expected orders were that no information be allowed to be published that would allow for the identification of the victim, and for the suppression of reports relied upon by the psychologist (and his Counsel) and the home address of the psychologist. The Tribunal justified its decision to suppress the name of the psychologist by stating that it was concerned that if the psychologist's name was released, it could potentially allow for the victim to be identified.

The Board appealed on the grounds that the Board was denied procedural fairness because it was not told about the Tribunal's intention to make this order and because it was not an order requested by either of the parties.

Justice Mukhtar accepted the Board's submission that it was entitled to be put on notice of the potential order by the Tribunal because it was the order that was not anticipated and that the Board should have subsequently been allowed to make submissions on the question, and held that this constituted a denial of procedural fairness. In relation to the Board's second argument, that the decision was not open to be made, Justice Mukhtar held that the suppression of the psychologist's name could not be open on the 'interests of justice test' under s 101 of the VCAT Act because t there was no evidence that the patient would suffer from a counter therapeutic effect if the psychologist's name was revealed.

Justice Mukhtar allowed the appeal, lifting the suppression order on the psychologist's name.

Victoria. Coroners Court

147409 Chris Christodoulou (PDF 334KB)

Chris Christodoulou (aged 82 years), died 9 March 2009 at the Northern Hospital as a result of intracranial haemorrhage secondary to blunt force trauma (from a fall).

Prior to his death, Mr Christodoulou was a resident of Meadowglen Nursing Home in Epping. He had a history of wandering behaviour, for which he was prescribed medication. During the morning of 7 March 2009 he was observed by staff following an unwitnessed fall. No injuries were observed and he was able to walk without any sign of pain. Later that evening, a staff member found Mr Christodoulou lying on the floor beside his chair. With the assistance of a nurse (Nurse1) , he was able to walk to his room. A second nurse (Nurse2) reviewed Mr Christodoulou, and reported that he was responding in a normal fashion and that the neurological observations were within normal range. Regular neurological observations of the Mr Christodoulou t were carried out throughout the night. At approximately 5.30am Mr Christodoulou was observed to be bleeding from his nose and was taken to the Northern Hospital by ambulance. He died later that day.

The Coroner (John Olle) commented on lessons that the Nursing Home has learnt following the death. These included improvement in communication. There had been an inadequate handover process. Bothe nurses 1 and 2 were not fully aware of the initial fall that occurred on 7 March 2009. Despite these communication problems, the Coroner did not find that the shortcomings were causative of Mr Christodoulou's death. This was because the neurological observations taken by the two nurses were all in range, thus a transfer to hospital was unnecessary. Furthermore, because Mr Christodoulou had been monitored throughout the evening and was transferred to hospital when his condition deteriorated, there was no evidence of a lack of professional care.

127902 Mr X (PDF 870KB)

This inquest concerned the death of Mr X (name suppressed) (aged 53 years), who died from multiple large incised defects to the head and a single stab wound to the chest. Mr X's son, Mr A, was charged with his murder. At the time of the stabbing, Mr A was on a Community Treatment Order supervised by Peninsula Health Mental Health Services. On 19 April 2004, when Mr A appeared at the Supreme Court of Victoria before Justice Teague, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on the grounds of mental impairment. He was, however, liable to a custodial supervision order.

Mr A had a history of mental ill health, hospitalisation and management under Community Treatment Orders. He also had a history of illicit drug use, criminal behaviour, and violent behaviour including towards family members, and had been diagnosed with schizophreniform paranoia.

The Coroner (Audrey Jamieson) found that Mr A's management on a CTO by Peninsula Health Mental Health Service was reasonable and appropriate and that it did not contribute to Mr X's death.

The Coroner also commented on the management of mental illness in Victoria. She commented that although the combination of mental ill health, anti-social behaviour and substance abuse is not uncommon, few facilities exist that are equipped to accommodate and adequately treat such people. She recommended that if clinicians had the option to classify Mr A's substance abuse problems as 'true psychotic symptoms' this would have allowed for a more holistic management of his mental illness. The Coroner also supported recommendation made by other Coroners that a working group be established, chaired by the Department of Health, and that an annual report to the Coroners Court of Victoria be prepared. She suggested that this would greatly assist in indentifying any barriers that must be overcome to provide for a coordinated and systemic approach to the treatment of people suffering from complex mental and other related health problems.

United States of America

Cedillo v. Sec'y of Health & Human Serv. - , 10-5004, involved a plaintiff's suit brought under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986, claiming a link between childhood vaccines and autism.



Poisons Standard 2010 - F2010L02386 - Health - This Standard substitutes the Poisons Standard 2009 and provides the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons No. 1, as set out in Schedule 1.

New South Wales

Mental Health Amendment (Psychosurgery) Regulation 2010 No. 479 - commenced on 27 August 2010

Health Administration Regulation 2010 No. 427 - commenced 1 September


Health Practitioners (Professional Standards) Regulation 2010 No. 217 - commenced on 27 August 2010.

South Australia

Guardianship and Administration Regulations 2010 No. 201 - commence on 1 September 2010


Perinatal Registry Amendment Bill 2010 - House of Assembly on 31 August 2010.


Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010 No. 49 - assented to on 24/08/2010

Western Australia

Health and Disability Services Legislation Amendment Act 2010 No. 33 -  assented 30/08/2010

Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (WA) Act 2010 No. 35 - assented 30/08/2010

Pharmacy Act 2010 No. 32  - assent on 26 August 2010.


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Private Health Insurance Circular

PHI 55/10 - Hospital Information

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Scheduling of medicines and poisons: Delegate's decisions, August 2010 (new)

The Poisons Standard (updated)

Drugs designated as orphan drugs (added bosentan (TRACLEER) & romidepsin (ISTODAX))

Australia. Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

31 Aug 2010 - New factsheet: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery READ MORE

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Baxter penalised for breach of Trade Practices Act - Justice Mansfield has ordered Baxter Healthcare Pty Ltd to pay a penalty of $4.9 million for cont...Issued: 31st August 2010 Release # NR 176/10

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

Improving Women's Access To Health Care Services And Information - The Women's Health Framework is a strategic level planning document that provides the vision and principles for planning health services for women of the ACT. A framework is given to ensure that the distinct needs of women are addressed in a planned and coordinated way. Establishing an advisory network; implementing Gender Impact Statements; enhancing and facilitating women centred facility design, developing a workforce strategy and improving data collection are key initiatives to be implemented under the framework. ACT Health-Wide - Government RelationsCED10-024 Improving Women's Access To Health Care Services And Information: A Strategic Framework 2010-2015 (PDF File 695k)

New South Wales. Department of Health

Media releases

Policy directive

Coroners Cases and the Coroners Act 2009 PD2010_054 01/09/2010

Information bulletin

Motor Vehicles - Award Employees - Charges for Private Use IB2010_046 30/08/2010

Conflict Resolution in End of Life Settings Project Working Group Report 01/09/2010

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

  • Port Pirie's renal dialysis unit opens - Hon JOHN HILL MP Press Releases - Thursday, 02 September 2010 00:00 The new $435,000 renal dialysis service has opened at Port Pirie Hospital. The unit has four treatment chairs, which means up to 16 people from Port Pirie and surrounding towns can now get their weekly treatment closer to their homes. Read more...
  • Work begins on Flinders and Livestrong Cancer centre - Hon MIKE RANN MP Press Releases - Tuesday, 31 August 2010 00:00 - Premier Mike Rann and Health Minister John Hill today donned hard hats and shovels to mark the start of construction of the $27 million Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, which will incorporate the LIVESTRONG Cancer Research Centre. Read more...
  • New surgical equipment for Ceduna hospital - Hon JOHN HILL MP Press Releases - Monday, 30 August 2010 00:00 - The State Government has invested $75,700 in specialist Ear, Nose and Throat services at Ceduna Hospital, with the purchase of a state-of-the-art operating microscope. - Read more...

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media releases

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

Southern Health makes public service its business - 3 September 2010 - Southern Health has been named the joint winner of the 2010 Australian Business Award for Public Service.

Do food safely wins international award - 3 September 2010 - A new on-line food training program developed by the Department of Health to improve everyone's knowledge of safe food handling practices has won an international award.

What kind of nurse will you be? - 30 August 2010 - The Department of Health launched a new nurse recruitment and retention advertising campaign utilising television, print, web and social media on Sunday 29 August.

Boosting cancer screening among women - 27 August 2010 - Young women in Victoria are being urged to have a life-saving Pap test in a new campaign aiming to boost cervical cancer screening rates.

AIMS Public Hospital User Manual 2011 - September 2010

AIMS 2010-11 Public Hospital Data Collections - Schedule for submission of returns

Clinical Network News - August 2010 (PDF file, 336kb)

Investment policy guidelines for Victorian public hospitals (PDF File 255KB)

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

31 Aug: Guidelines for Tuberculosis Control in New Zealand 2010 - Up-to-date information on the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients. Includes information on infection control and best practice for dealing with people who have Tuberculosis.

27 Aug: Living Standards and Health: New Zealand 2006/07 - This report compares two measures of living standards that were included in the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey, and investigates the associations between living standards and health.

New Zealand. Mental Health Commission

30 August 2010, Can you help us with our Strategic Planning? - We're about to do our strategic planning for the next five years, and we want to know what you think... + Read more

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Moving beyond sponsorship: interactive toolkit for joint working between the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry (updated)

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

BARDA funds development of new way to treat illness from acute radiation - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) today awarded a $153 million contract to Cellerant Therapeutics, Inc. of San Carlos, Calif., to continue developing a new way to treat an illness caused by exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation which can damage the body's cells – the type of radiation that would come from a nuclear blast.

HHS Awards $17 Million for Patient-Centred Outcomes Research - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced three sets of grants and cooperative agreements totalling nearly $17 million for patient-centred outcomes research (PCOR), or research that compares treatments and strategies to improve health outcomes for patients.

HHS Awards $17 Million for Patient-Centred Outcomes Research - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced three sets of grants and cooperative agreements totalling nearly $17 million for patient-centred outcomes research (PCOR), or research that compares treatments and strategies to improve health outcomes for patients.

Canada. Health Canada

Government of Canada Accepts Recommendations on MS Research [2010-09-01]

Australian Medical Association

Australia can learn from NGOs about improving Indigenous health 31 August 2010 - 10:00am - AMA Federal Councillor and AMA NT President, Dr Paul Bauert, said today that the Australian Government could learn a lot from the experiences of non-government organisations (NGOs) internationally about how best to make real improvements in Indigenous health. Dr Bauert is this week attending the United Nations Advance Global Health Conference in Melbourne.

AMA to host summit on Medical Intern training crisis 27 August 2010 - 12:30pm -  The AMA will next month host a summit of key medical training stakeholders to discuss and develop solutions to the crisis around the shortage of prevocational and vocational training positions for medical school graduates. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that Australia faces the loss of hundreds of locally produced, highly trained medical graduates to other countries or other professions.

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This publication is intended as a first point of reference and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to any particular circumstances.

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