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

Health Alert 11 October 2010
Last Updated: 11 October 2010
Article by Michael Regos

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. Medical Tribunal

30/09/10 Howe, Gordon

This case concerns a complaint by a patient against her medical practitioner (plastic and reconstructive surgeon) for engaging in a personal and intimate relationship with the patient from March until November 2006.  The practitioner had treated the patient on various occasions.  The relationship was not of a sexual nature although the practitioner conceded that an incident of attempted sexual intercourse occurred in May 2006.  During the relationship, the practitioner contributed to the patient's household expenses and entered into a financial arrangement regarding a motor vehicle he registered in the patient's name.

The plaintiff brought a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission in June 2009 alleging that the practitioner was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and/or professional misconduct.  Allegations included an inappropriate act of a sexual nature and providing Ritalin to the patient for her daughter's use. 

The Tribunal found the practitioner guilty of professional misconduct as his conduct was improper and unethical and significantly below the standard reasonably expected.  They were not satisfied that the practitioner understood the 'boundary violation' that occurred with the patient. 

The Tribunal considered a severe reprimand appropriate and ordered counselling, health and practice conditions be placed on the practitioner's registration including that an adult third person must be present when the practitioner examines or treats female patients.  This was imposed to minimise the risk of the conduct recurring rather than as a punitive measure.  These conditions can be reviewed, amended or varied by the Medical Council of New South Wales as appropriate.



Health Insurance (Midwife and Nurse Practitioner) Determination 2010 - F2010L02640 - Health - This Determination continues the implementation of the new arrangements to enhance and expand the role of midwives and nurse practitioners working in collaboration with medical practitioners, to allow them to take a greater role in providing quality health care by creating new Medicare items for services provided by participating midwives and participating nurse practitioners.

Private Health Insurance (Benefit Requirements) Amendment Rules 2010 (No. 7) - F2010L02624 - Health - This instrument amends the Private Health Insurance (Benefit Requirements) Rules 2010 by adding facilities that are eligible for second tier default benefits, updating the names of hospitals and removing a facility that has merged with another.


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

03 October 2010 - Games Raise Awareness Of Need For Organ And Tissue Donation - The 12th Australian Transplant Games, which officially opened in Canberra on 3 October, play a crucial role in raising awareness and support for organ and tissue donation.

30 September 2010 - 30 Minutes to Spare can Reduce our Risk of Chronic Disease - By being active for at least 30 minutes on most days – such as taking a brisk walk – we ca...

Private Health Insurance Circulars

PHI 63/10 - Hospital Information

PHI 62/10 - Private Health Insurance (Benefit Requirements) Amendment Rules 2010 (No.6) and Private Health Insurance (Complying Product) Amendment Rules 2010 (No.4)

6 October 2010 - Relocation of the New South Wales State Office Department of Health and Ageing

1 October 2010 - Aged Care Essentials Newsletter 2010 - Fourth Edition

The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits was updated on 1 October 2010 and the Summary of Changes can be found on the New amended and deleted items page.

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Patient-Centred Care: Improving Quality and Safety by Focusing Care on Patients and Consumers discussion paper

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Q&A on the code of good manufacturing practice (updated)

ACNM meeting dates 2011 (added)

Technical working groups (updated)

On-going Stability Testing for Listed complementary medicines (updated)

Product Quality Review for Listed complementary medicines (updated)

Analysis of Febrile Convulsions Following Immunisation in Children Following Monovalent Pandemic H1N1 Vaccine (Panvax®/Panvax Junior®, CSL) (new)

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

Medicines Safety Update No.5; 2010 (new)

Information on the LCS® DuofixTM Femoral Knee Replacement Component Recall (new)

Product recalls (updated)

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (2010) & Executive Summary (PDF, 1312KB)

NHMRC Tracker 1 October 2010

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Expenditure on health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 2006-07: an analysis by remoteness and disease - Health expenditure patterns, and the ratios between Indigenous and non-indigenous expenditure, vary by remoteness and by the type of health expenditure. For example, Medicare Benefits Schedule expenditure was lower for ... Published 8 October 2010.

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

New community engagement protocol announced Katy Gallagher, MLA October 7 2010

Canberra's Dry July Participants Raise $77,000 for Adult Cancer Patients Katy Gallagher, MLA October 6 2010

ACT Health Report shows achievements and challenges Katy Gallagher, MLA October 5 2010

Official Launch of the Public Diagnostic Breast Imaging Service Katy Gallagher, MLA October 5 2010

Government consults on CTP and Workers Compensation scheme changes Katy Gallagher, MLA October 5 2010

New South Wales. Department of Health

The boundaries for 18 new Local Health Networks have been announced - The LHNs will be formally established across NSW on 1 January 2011.

Media releases

New resources for Bankstown Hospital [07 October 2010]

HIV and Drug Harm Reduction MOU [01 October 2010]

  Policy directives

Antenatal Maternal Referral/Transfer: Known Congenital Structural Malformations - Early Surgery PD2010_062 06/10/2010

Staff Specialists Training, Education & Study Leave (TESL) - New Funding Entitlement 2010-2011 PD2010_061 06/10/2010

  Information bulletins

Public Holidays for 2010 and 2011 IB2010_051 07/10/2010

Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families

 Media releases

Kon Vatskalis - Important Reminder: Labor Committed to Affordable Health Care, CLP Is Not - Health Minister Kon Vatskalis has slammed the CLP's Terry "superclinic sceptic" Mills for continually knocking the new GP service, saying that while the Labor Government is committed to affordable, accessible health care the CLP is not.

Dr Chris Burns - More Housing for Seniors in Alice Springs - More housing for Senior Centralians will be built next year as part of the $5.6 million Larapinta Seniors Village project.

Queensland. Department of Health

Queensland Health Annual Report 2009-2010

Healthy Queensland Awards

South Australia. Department of Health

Recommended timing and minimal intervals between doses relating to Pertussis-containing vaccine for children

 Media release

07 Oct 10 - Whooping cough case at WCH

SA artists needed for Glenside Campus redevelopment - Saturday, 02 October 2010 - South Australian artists have a chance to showcase their talent as part of the Glenside Campus redevelopments public art initiative. Read more...

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

 Media releases

New Scottsdale Ambulance Station Opened Minister for Health 6 October 2010

World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Minister for Health 6 October 2010

Raising Awareness of Lupus Minister for Health 5 October 2010

Asking Tasmanians to Think before they Drink Minister for Health 1 October 2010

Tasmania Together review: Have your say  - 08 Oct 2010

Report on case of 12-year-old under guardianship  - 06 Oct 2010

Victoria. Department of Health

Mental health - Information Management - 13 September 2010 - Information, Analysis and Reporting (IAR) carry primary responsibility for the capture, analysis and reporting of Mental Health and Drug Treatment Services data sets.

Hospitals take next step down tech path - 1 October 2010 - The HealthSMART Program has reached a major milestone with Box Hill Hospital and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital becoming the first agencies to fully implement Release 1 of the program's clinical system. Read More

The health of Victorians revealed - 1 October 2010 - The health and well-being of Victorians has been revealed following the release of the 2008 Victorian Population Health Survey results.  Read More

Scale measures mental health needs - 24 September 2010 - A new state wide triage scale will be used by all Victorian public mental health services. - Read More

Very special kids - 24 September 2010 - Victoria's most critically unwell children and their families will have improved access to quality respite care thanks to a funding boost for the Very Special Kids organisation. Read More

Victorian Population Health Survey 2008

Victorian Aboriginal Palliative Care project 2007-2010 final report - September 2010

Stroke palliative care pilot project: final report & appendices - August 2010

 Media releases














Western Australia. Department of Health

WA Health Performance Report April to June 2010 (PDF 1.42MB)

 Media release

06 Oct 2010Hames Expressions of interest called for delivery of Midland Health Campus

New Zealand. Mental Health Commission

7 October 2010, 'About Us' newsletter released - The newsletter for people who really know about mental health and addiction + Read more

7 October 2010, We need an EA for our Mental Health Commissioners - We are looking for a well organised, experienced and motivated person to provide our three Commissioners with executive assistant support. + Read more

5 October 2010, What does ' flourishing' mean to you? - "To plan and live the life that you dream for yourself." Ann 48yrs + Read more

4 October 2010, Welcoming Mental Health Awareness Week - Kia whitianga te rā, ka hihi, ka whakamana, te hā, te hē, kia whai kikokiko, kia puāwai te mauri: The sun arises with each new day; its rays beckon opportunities to all living things + Read more

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Strategies to achieve cost-effective prescribing: guidance for primary care trusts and clinical commissioning groups

Revenue Generation Initiative - Reporting Information about Treatment of Overseas Visitors

National Capabilities Survey 2010

General Practice Profiles on Cancer

What to expect after vaccinations

Essence of Care 2010

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

New resources available to improve patient safety and combat abuse in long-term care facilities  - In a move aimed at combating abuse and neglect in the nation's long-term care facilities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today awarded more than $13 million to six states to design comprehensive applicant criminal background check programs for jobs involving direct patient care.

Joint Statement by Secretaries Clinton and Sebelius on a 1946-1948 Study - Following is a joint statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on the U.S. Public Health Service Sexually Transmitted Disease Inoculation Study of 1946-1948

Institute of Medicine will study best policies and practices for improving health care safety with health information technology

World Health Organisation

Simplifying treatment of mental, neurological disorders - 7 October 2010 -- Millions of people with common, but untreated, mental, neurological and substance use disorders can now benefit from new simplified diagnosis and treatment guidelines. The guidelines are designed to facilitate the management of depression, alcohol use disorders, epilepsy and other common mental disorders in the primary health-care setting. - Read the press release on treatment of mental disorders

Medical devices: managing the mismatch - 4 October 2010 -- This report discusses how an agenda to improve access to appropriate medical devices could be devised from applying the crucial 4 components – availability, accessibility, appropriateness, and affordability – to the 15 global high-burden diseases and other cross-cutting issues.  - Download the publication

Australian Medical Association

More research needed to prescribe Testosterone for older men 3 October 2010 - 12:00pm  - MJA Media release - Further research is needed to determine the risks and advantages of testosterone supplementation for older men, according to an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Professor David Handelsman, Director of the ANZAC Research Institute at Concord Hospital, University of Sydney, reviewed two recent research articles on prescribing testosterone for older men.

Pneumococcal vaccines effective 3 October 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA Media Release - The currently available pneumococcal vaccines are effective in preventing invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), according to a study in the Medical Journal of Australia. However, it is likely that, with combined direct and indirect effects, newer conjugate vaccines could prevent even more IPD than could be prevented with the two current vaccines.

Iodine levels in imported foods should be more closely monitored 3 October 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - Despite increasing awareness of iodine deficiency, the potential for iodine toxicity, particularly from sources containing seaweed, is less well recognised, according to a case study in the Medical Journal of Australia. Dr Bronwyn Crawford and co-authors, including Dr Diana Learoyd, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, reviewed a series of cases of thyroid dysfunction in adults associated with ingestion of a brand of soy milk manufactured with seaweed.

Osteoporosis prevalence in older Australian men severely underestimated 3 October 2010 - 12:00pm  - MJA Media Release - Despite a high prevalence of osteoporosis in elderly Australian men, awareness, diagnosis and treatment of the condition remain low, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Ms Kerrin Bleicher, a physiotherapist and PhD Student at the University of Sydney, and co-authors conducted a study to determine the proportion of older Australian men who meet the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) criteria for osteoporosis treatment and are receiving effective treatment.

Australian Medical Council

Call Centre Closed - Technical Difficulties - The Australian Medical Council International Medical Graduates Inquiry line is currently out of service due to technical difficulties. Please defer all your International Medical Graduate inquires to email until we have the issue resolved.

AMC Calls for Submission on Genetic Pathology and Clinical Pathology Recognition - In conducting its assessment the AMC welcomes submission from the public on the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia application for recognition of genetic pathology and clinical pathology as fields of specialty practice. Only submissions that address the criteria described in the assessment process, outlined below will be considered. The deadline for submissions is 5pm AEST, 12 November 2010. The AMC asks that all submissions are provided electronically to - Last Updated on Friday, 24 September 2010 13:37

American Medical Association

AMA Responds to IOM Report on Future of Nursing  - AMA Statement, Oct. 5, 2010 - Physician-led team approach to care helps ensure high quality patient care and value for health care spending. - Read the AMA Press Release

AMA Calls on Government to Remove Legal Barriers to Ensure Success of Health Reform  - AMA Press Release, Oct. 5, 2010  - Changes to current government rules must be made for physicians to fully participate in the models of patient care being tested under the new health care law, AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, M.D. will today tell government officials. - Read the AMA Press Release

AMA Welcomes Arkansas High Court Decision to Uphold Physician Legal Victory Against Baptist Health - AMA Statement, Sept. 30, 2010 - "Today's ruling by the Arkansas Supreme Court validates last year's key legal victory that found Baptist Health, Arkansas' largest hospital system, acted improperly by inappropriately restricting hospital admitting privileges and interfering with the patient-physician relationship." Read more

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