Australia: Health Related Critical Judgments, Legislation, Press Releases and News Items

Health Alert 5 October 2010
Last Updated: 6 October 2010
Article by Lex Holcombe

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


South Australia. Coroner

KADE, Naomi Bankseka NELSON, Jaia Denise CLELAND, James Samuel PHELAN, Diesel Jay FRANCIS, Hannah Nicole - (delivered 09:30am, 30 September 2010) - Infant co-sleeping

This inquest concerns the death of five infants in 2007 and 2008.  In each case the infant was sleeping in the same bed as an adult ('co-sleeping').  In four cases the Coroner found that the cause of death was undetermined, but two could potentially be attributed to overlaying.  In the fifth case, the Coroner found that the cause of death was attributed to suffocation, which occurred when the child rolled off her father's chest and was found, unresponsive, lying between a pillow and the back of a couch.

In his findings the Coroner took into consideration expert opinion, noting that the risk of sudden, unexplained death in infancy is significantly increased if an infant sleeps in the same bed as an adult, regardless of whether death is as a result of asphyxia caused by overlaying, bedding or otherwise.  He noted that benefits do exist for parents sharing a room with an infant, if it is in a safe cot designed for that purpose.  The Coroner recommended that the Minister for Health consider producing a pamphlet (similar to one produced in the United Kingdom by the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths) which outlines to parents how infants, up to 12 months of age, should sleep.

OMEROD, Madison Hayley - (delivered 09:30am, 27 September 2010) - "Madison Hayley Ormerod, who was aged 4 years, died on 22 September 2006 in the Mount Gambier Hospital. A post-mortem examination was carried out by Dr Alan Cala and he gave the cause of death as consequences of incarcerated congenital left diaphragmatic hernia1 and I so find."

This inquest concerned the death of a 4 year old girl on 22 September 2006.  The Coroner, agreeing with a post-mortem examination, found that the cause of death was due to consequences of incarcerated congenital left diaphragmatic hernia.

The girl, who was above the 95th percentile for weight and height, presented to two general practitioners at the same clinic on three occasions between June and July 2006, because of  vomiting.  The two general practitioners independently ordered blood tests which had near normal results.  No abnormalities were found on examination of the girl.  On 24 July 2006 she was referred to a paediatrician due to concerns of the girl's size and vomiting.  The girl visited the paediatrician on 22 August 2006 who did not attach great significance to the symptom of vomiting.  On the nightshift of 21-22 September 2006 the girl was taken to her local hospital feeling flat and lethargic where she was examined but later released.  She returned less than two hours later in a state of collapse and later died.  

The Coroner found that although the paediatrician had some opportunity to diagnose the girl's condition, her large size and the absence of clinical signs of illness may have 'lulled' him into a 'sense of security'.  The Coroner, supporting expert opinion, noted that it is unusual for a diaphragmatic hernia to be present so late in life.  Furthermore, regardless of whether the girl should have been admitted when she presented to the hospital rather than being discharged, it almost certainly would not have made any difference to the outcome.

Victoria. Coroners Court

188406 Joan Hendrickson (PDF 0.98MB) - behavioural management

This Coronial Inquest concerned the death of a 78 year old woman on 9 May 2006 who lived at an Aged Care Facility ('facility').  The woman sustained injuries after being pushed over by a co-resident at the facility on 29 April 2006, which resulted in marked epistaxis (nose bleed).

The Coroner found that the death was a result of aspiration pneumonia, epistaxis and trauma to the face with contributing factors including vascular dementia, permanent pacemaker and hypertension.  The key issue for investigation was whether the co-resident should have been referred to an Aged Psychiatry Assessment and Treatment Team ('APATT') prior to the incident. 

The Coroner noted that that the facility files revealed a high level of care and attention by staff and medical practitioners but considered that procedural short-comings existed which resulted in a serious break-down of communication.  Although these were not causative of the death, they should not have occurred.  The Coroner found that there was not a co-ordinated approach to the escalating challenging behaviours of the co-resident prior to the incident, that the nursing staff and general practitioner did not discuss the nature and extent of the co-resident's risk behaviour, and that a prior referral to APATT should have been made.

The Corner considered that various lessons had been learnt by the facility including ensuring risk assessment and communication.  There is now a new regime of team leadership, close liaison with medical practitioners, and expanded knowledge of criteria and availability of specialist services which will allow for appropriate and timely referrals to APATT.

Finding - Inquest into the Death of Brian O'Connor - death following fall in a Supported Residential Service

New Zealand. Health & Disability Commissioner

09HDC01870 Gastrointestinal and Hepatobiliary Surgeon - Information and care provided to patient undergoing liver cancer treatment. 04 Mar 2010

09HDC01035 Nurse/Rest Home - Wound care, documentation and consultation with family.29 Jun 2010

09HDC01409 Counsellor - Counselling by text message.24 May 2010

09HDC00987 Rest Home/Nurse - Management of rest home resident's pain and falls.31 Mar 2010

08HDC07350 General Practitioner/Gynaecologist/Medical Centre/DHB - Follow-up advice to patient.15 Mar 20



Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2010 Measures No. 1) Bill 2010

Restoring Territory Rights (Voluntary Euthanasia Legislation) Bill 2010. This is a Bill to restore the right of the Northern territory and ACT to legislate for euthanasia

National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Bill 2010

Australian National Preventive Health Agency Bill 2010

National Health and Hospitals Network Bill 2010. The Bill provides for the establishment of the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) as a permanent, independent statutory authority under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.  The legislation provides the for the Commission to  set national clinical standards and strengthened clinical governance. 

The establishment of the Commission forms part of the National Health and Hospitals Network Agreement between the Commonwealth and the States (with the exception of Western Australia) and Territories endorsed on 20 April 2010. 

South Australia

Consent to Medical Treatment and Palliative Care (Parental Consent) Amendment Bill 2010 - private member's Bill, sponsored by Robert Brokenshire MLC, was introduced into the Legislative Council and received its second reading speech on 15 September 2010.


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

· 29 September 2010 - Soliris A Step Closer For Life Saving Drugs Program - The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee has recommended to the Australian Government that it consider funding the drug Soliris® (eculizumab) for the treatment of Paroxysmal Nocturnal Haemoglobinuria (PNH) through the Life Saving Drugs Program.

· 26 September 2010 - Alcopops Tax Has Worked - Victorian results from the 2008 Australian Secondary School Students Alcohol and Drug Survey (ASSAD) show that the closure of the alcopops tax loophole has worked, with the proportion of secondary school students who reported drinking in the week before the survey is at its lowest level since the survey began in 1984.

Request for Stakeholder feedback: co-dependent technologies - The Department of Health and Ageing is seeking feedback on draft information requests for co-dependent tests and drugs.

Western Australian inquiry into the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people - The WA Commissioner for Children and Young People is inquiring into the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in Western Australia, and is encouraging all individuals and organisations with an interest in this area to consider making submissions to the inquiry. If you are interested in making a submission, comprehensive information on the inquiry including a background paper, information session schedule, and a template for submissions, is available at Submissions are due by 1 November 2010.

Aged care - 29 September 2010 - Accommodation Bond Refund Interest Rates

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority

Alert - Application Form from Medical Register of Australia

Urgent renewal notice for NSW Doctors

Participating States & Territories

Australia. Private Health Insurance Administration Council

10/19 01 Oct 10 Capital Adequacy Standard - Market Yield Rate September 2010 CURRENT EDITION 10/19

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Silicone gel breast implant (new)

Health Technology Assessment Website (new)

Australian Regulatory Guidelines for GMP Clearance for Overseas Manufacturers - Invitation to comment (new)

ACMD meetings 2011 (new)

ACMD, 2010/03 meeting report & resolutions (new)

Australian state and territory variations from Part 4 of the Poisons Standard (new)

ACPM meeting dates (updated)

Scheduling Advisory Committees Public Notices (new)

Invitation for public comment - ACMS and joint ACMS/ACCS meetings - closing 29 October 2010 (new)

Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines

· Amlodipine (as besylate) and Valsartan and Hydrochlorothiazide

· Celecoxib

· Dienogest

· Leuprorelin acetate

· Meningococcal Conjugated Vaccine

· Olmesartan medoxomil and amlodipine besylate

· Paliperidone palmitate

Voluntary recall of Octagam intravenous immunoglobulin solutions (new)

Rosiglitazone (Avandia/Avandamet) advisory statement (new)

Breast screening devices (new)

Investigation into febrile reactions in young children following 2010 seasonal trivalent influenza vaccination (updated)

Invoices for Annual Charges for all products entered on the ARTG as at 1 July 2010 for which a Low Volume Turnover (LVT) exemption will be sought, are due at the close of business 1 October 2010. No late applications will be accepted.

The use of GMDN codes for IVD medical devices in Australia (new)

Suspected adverse reactions to Panvax® reported to the TGA 30 September 2009 - 17 September 2010 (updated)

Drugs designated as orphan drugs (added drugs: catumaxomab, octreotide, vandetanib)

URPTG recall coordinators' contact details (updated)

National Coordinating Committee on Therapeutic Goods membership (updated)

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

National Information and Feedback Sessions 28 SEPTEMBER 2010 - NHMRC CEO, Professor Warwick Anderson will be visiting Australian Universities and Medical Research Institutes in the coming months to conduct information and feedback sessions. These sessions will outline NHMRC funding schemes, Strategic Plan and NHMRC's recent international initiatives. - » More information - » Details for University of Adelaide - Thursday 30 September

Australian Commission Safety and Quality in Health Care

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards and their use in a Model National Accreditation Scheme - Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement September 2010 (PDF 281 KB) - Submissions close 14 October 2010

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Blood And Fresh Blood Product Administration - The purpose of this document is to provide a systematic and consistent approach for the safe and appropriate transfusion of Blood and Fresh Blood Products across the ACT. This document provides clear direction for nursing and medical staff in relation to administration of blood and fresh blood products to adults. Staff employed within ACT Health must comply fully with the Blood and Fresh Blood Product Administration Policy of ACT HealthACT Health-Wide - Population healthCED10-026 Blood And Fresh Blood Products Administration

Health records changes - 1.10.10 - Changes to the Health Records (Privacy & Access) Act 1997, commence on 1 October, 2010.

Annual Report 2009-10 released - 30.9.10 - ACT Health has released its latest Annual Report on the major achievements and challenges faced by ACT Health in 2009-2010.

Mental Health Week 2010 (28 September 2010) - The aim of Mental Health Week 2010 is to reduce the stigma of mental illness and promote positive mental health.

Media release

· Minister for Health frocks up for cancer research Katy Gallagher, MLA September 30 2010

New South Wales. Department of Health

Media releases

· Improved Maternity Services At Tamworth Hospital [30 September 2010]

· Accessing 24-hour health advice during the school holidays [27 September 2010]

New South Wales. Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal

NSW Health cost and outcomes study by IPART - Final Report - NSW Health cost and outcomes study by IPART for selected NSW hospitals - September 2010     * Fact Sheet - NSW Health cost and outcomes study by IPART for selected NSW hospitals - September 2010     * Media Release - IPART today issued its report on costs and outcomes in 5 NSW hospitals

Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families

Media release

· Kon Vatskalis - Welcome To Alice Springs Hospital Team - Health Minister Kon Vatskalis has welcomed two new senior members of the Alice Springs Hospital (ASH) team, incoming General Manager, Mr Mike Melino, and ear nose and throat surgeon, Dr Jacques de Haan.

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

· 01/10/2010 Personalised payroll model rolled out across the State


· 28/09/2010 WANTED – 'Queenslanders' healthy ideas



· Evaluation of the Queensland Physician's Assistant Pilot - Final Report

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

· ECGs for every country emergency department - Wednesday, 29 September 2010  -Health Minister John Hill has announced that the roll-out of electrocardiography (ECG) machines for all of South Australia's country Emergency Departments is now complete. Read more...

· SA's ambos still the best in Australia  - Wednesday, 29 September 2010 - Health Minister John Hill has congratulated SA Ambulance Service for another year at the top of the patient satisfaction charts. Read more...

· Two new mobile screening units for Breastscreen SA - Monday, 27 September 2010 - More than 30,000 women living in rural and remote South Australia will benefit from the free breast screening provided by two brand new replacement mobile screening units unveiled today by Health Minister John Hill. Read more...

· Whooping cough vaccine reminder - Saturday, 25 September 2010 - There have been 3991 cases of whooping cough recorded in South Australia so far this year. At the same time last year, the number of cases was 2961. Read more...

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media releases

· Chlamydia Tracking Higher Minister for Health 30 September 2010

· Recruitment of New Parkinson's Nurses Minister for Health 30 September 2010

· Opening of the Tasmanian Inherited Cancer Centre Minister for Health 28 September 2010

· Go Sober for October Minister for Health 28 September 2010

· New residential units at NWRH to reduce travel and accommodation costs for loved ones Minister for Health 24 September 2010

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases







Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

· 28 Sep 2010Jacobs Celebrating good outcomes in mental health

·27 Sep 2010Hames New funds boost research into impact of home health care

·24 Sep 2010Hames New health facilities opened at Rockingham

·23 Sep 2010Hames WA Health sets new surgery records in August

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

1 Oct: Office of the Director of Mental Health - Annual Report 2009 - This is the fifth annual report of the Office of the Director of Mental Health (the Office) and it reflects the Ministry's ongoing emphasis on transparency, accountability and trust in government and its agencies

1 Oct: Implementing the Clinical Guidelines for Weight Management in New Zealand: 2010/11 = Activities included in this document are being developed to support frontline health care workers in the primary care and community health sector who provide healthy weight management advice and treatment to patients/consumers.

27 Sep: Shifting Māori Health Needs - Māori population trends, health service needs, and medical workforce requirements - issues arising - The paper discusses how the projected increase in the Māori population impacts on Māori demand for health services over the next 10-20 years, and looks specifically at the demands on the Māori medical workforce 

24 Sep: Mental Health: Service use in New Zealand, 2007/08 - Covers the following: * clients seen by age group, sex, ethnicity and team type; * referrals by referral source and sex *information about specific groups of services (community, inpatient, alcohol and drug, forensic, kaupapa Māori and child and youth teams).

New Zealand. Health & Disability Commissioner

Pharmacy Council: Consultation on Code of Ethics for the pharmacy profession view publication (PDF 221Kb)

Pharmacy Council: Consultation on Pharmacist Prescriber Scope of Practice view publication (PDF 204Kb)

United Kingdom. Department of Health

A simple guide to Payment by Results

National Cancer Programme Bulletin, Issue 10, September 2010

Protocol for ordering, storing and handling vaccines

GP and Practice Team Bulletin, September 2010

Quality outcomes for people with dementia: Building on the work of the National Dementia Strategy

Delays in deliveries of seasonal influenza vaccine 2010

Dear colleague letter: Pilot campaigns to promote early diagnosis of bowel cancer

Dear colleague letter: Preparations for winter planning and reporting 2010/11

NICE work programme referrals - September 2010

National Child Measurement Programme 2010/11

Australian Medical Association

GP Network News Issue 11, Number 34 - 1 October 2010 1 October 2010 - 12:00pm  - AMA success with Medical Board of Australia, Medical Board of Australia - FAQs on non-practising registration, Collaborative Arrangements,  AMA Medical Training Summit, Practice Nurse Technical Working Group

Partnerships to provide seamless high quality medical training in Australia 29 September 2010 - 4:30pm - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that discussion at the AMA Medical Training Summit was strongly supportive of immediate action to fix medical training in Australia. Dr Pesce said that the AMA believes that Australia needs a national medical training framework with appropriate funding to deliver the right number of highly trained medical practitioners in the disciplines and in the regions where they are needed across the country, urban and rural.

AMA Medical Training Summit Joint Statement 29 September 2010 - 4:00pm  - Australians have access to a world-class health care system that is the envy of many other countries. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, life expectancy in Australia is amongst the highest of all OECD countries.

AMA welcomes Medical Board decision to waive late fees for National Registration 28 September 2010 - 4:30pm  - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the AMA welcomes the positive response from the Medical Board of Australia to the AMA's formal request to waive late fees for doctors registering with the Board under the new national registration arrangements. Dr Pesce said that, in a letter to the Board on 15 September, the AMA made strong representations about the level of fees for national registration, with particular concern about the high fees for late renewals.

British Medical Association

Potential benefits of health White Paper could be undermined by increased competition, says BMA  - The BMA says today (Friday 1 October, 2010) that positive elements of the government's plans for the NHS in England – such as devolving more control to patients and frontline clinicians, and a stronger focus on public health – are at risk from other aspects that seek to accelerate a market-based approach. (Fri 1 Oct 2010)

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