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

Health Alert 25 October 2010
Last Updated: 25 October 2010
Article by Lex Holcombe


New South Wales

Atgazis v Health Administration Corporation [2010] NSWCA 271 (18 October 2010)

This case concerned an application for leave to appeal from a decision of the NSW District Court in which the applicant's action for damages against the New South Wales Ambulance Service for their failure to examine her and take her to hospital when called to her home at 3.00am on 26 July 2005 was dismissed. The applicant sued for damages for negligence and for an intentional tort causing her injury. It was only the intentional tort claim that was the subject of the application for leave to appeal

The applicant had been assaulted by her partner who then called 000 for an ambulance reporting an injury to her eyes. The applicant's case was that the ambulance officers were told by her partner on arrival that she had fallen and injured herself in the stomach and they left without seeing her in any way.

The trial judge was not satisfied that the applicant had discharged the onus of proving that the officers intended to cause her  injury. The trial judge found that the evidence did not support a finding that the conduct of the ambulance officers was so plainly calculating that damage to the applicant was a natural and probable result.

On appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal, the Court, by majority, agreed with the findings of the trial judge. The appeal was dismissed.

New South Wales. Nurses & Midwives Tribunal

HCCC V DATTA RAY [2010] NSWNMT 33 (19 October 2010)

On 22, 22 and 23 June and 8 July 2010, the Nurses and Midwives Tribunal conducted an inquiry under the Nurses and Midwives Act 1991 (NSW) (the Act) into a complaint made by the Director of Proceedings at the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) against Dipankar Datta Ray.

The complaint arose from two incidents. The first, on 4 April 2007, involved the administration of a medication listed in Schedule 8 (S8) of the Poisons List in force under the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW), by an enrolled nurse under the supervision of the respondent, and related breaches of the relevant laws and polices relating to the keeping, dispensing, administering, witnessing and recording of such medication. The second incident involved allowing the self-administration of a cytotoxic drug by a patient without the safeguards required by the relevant policies and guidelines, resulting in multiple failures to comply with requirements for dealing safely with spillage of cytotoxic waste.

The Tribunal found that Mr Datta Ray was guilty of both unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. Instead of removing Mr Datta Ray's name from the register, however, the Tribunal was satisfied that it was sufficient to issue a reprimand and place conditions for a period of twelve months on the respondent's practice. This included a requirement that the respondent have a mentor for a period of twelve months.

Victoria. Coroners Court

178108 Jesse Lee McGann (PDF 963KB)

Western Australia. District Court

FRANCIS v PETROS [2010] WADC 149 (8 October 2010)

Limitation - Medical negligence - Failure to advise to defer surgery - Whether cause of action arises on surgery or when risk materialises - Whether action should be struck out



Health Insurance Amendment (Pathology Requests) Bill 2010 [2] - C2010B00243 - Health - A Bill for an Act to amend the law relating to health, and for related purposes

Health Insurance (Prescribed Pathology Services) Amendment Determination 2010 (No. 1) - F2010L02759 - Health - This Determination amends the Health Insurance (Prescribed Pathology Services) Determination 2000 and allows participating nurse practitioners to render certain simple basic pathology services for which Medicare benefits are payable.

Health Insurance (Extended Medicare Safety Net - Midwives) Amendment Determination 2010 - F2010L02762 - Health - This Determination amends the Health Insurance (Extended Medicare Safety Net) Determination 2009 to place an upper limit on the amount of Medicare benefit that will be paid under the Extended Medicare Safety Net for midwifery items.

Health Insurance (Extended Medicare Safety Net) Amendment Determination 2010 (No. 2) - F2010L02763 - Health - This Determination amends the Health Insurance (Extended Medicare Safety Net) Determination 2009 by indexing the existing Extended Medicare Safety Net benefit caps by Consumer Price Index to commence on 1 January 2011.

New South Wales

Health Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2010 - Legislative Assembly second reading speech on 20 October 2010.


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

19 October 2010 - Funding for Innovative Health Training Facilities in Central Australia - More doctors, nurses and specialists will be supported in and around Alice Springs as part of the Australian Government's health reforms to deliver better health and hospitals for all Australians.

18 October 2010 - Bath Inquiry into the Northern Territory Child Protection System - The Australian Government will immediately commit more than $34 million to boost measures to protect children from neglect and abuse in the Northern Territory (NT).

18 October 2010 - Driving change in the Northern Territory - Over the last three years the Australian Government has improved community safety and increased jobs for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory, as programs and services under the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) have been ramped up.

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Interim report on the International API inspection Pilot Programme (new)

SMP email list (new - replaces the NDPSC email list)

TGA Internet site redevelopment: consultation on content and structure (new)

Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (added Amlodipine/Valsartan & Gefitinib)

Medi Choice low dose Aspirin 100mg enteric coated tablet blister pack (new)

Trust Thrombix low dose Aspirin 100mg enteric coated tablet blister pack (new)

Response to the West Australian (Stokes) Review into the handling of AEFIs following 2010 seasonal flu vaccination (new)

Overview of vaccine regulation and safety monitoring and investigation into adverse events following 2010 seasonal influenza vaccination in young children (new)

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

Hearts, minds and everything in between – New Centres of Research Excellence 19th  OCTOBER 2010 - Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler today announced 11 further Centres of Research Excellence, following on from initial announcements in July and August 2010. » View Media Release

NHMRC Tracker 15 October 2010

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

ACCC accepts court enforceable undertakings from St Vincent's private anaesthetists - The ACCC has accepted court enforceable undertakings from St Vincent's Private Hospital Sydney. Issued: 20 October 2010 Release # NR 228/10

Australia. Chiropractic Board of Australia

Consultation on Limited Registration - 19 Oct 2010
NSW Chiropractors and the title 'Dr' - 14 Oct 2010

Australian Medical Council

Invitation to comment on proposed amendments to accreditation standards - The AMC's roles include the assessment and accreditation of medical programs leading to general or specialist registration of the graduates of those programs. In a peer review process, medical programs provided by university based medical schools and specialist programs provided by specialist training organisations – the medical colleges - are assessed against standards developed by the AMC. Standards are accompanied by explanatory notes which outline the AMC's thinking on why the standard is important and amplify contemporary views on good practice.  Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 October 2010   Read more...

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Sustainability Strategy - ACT Health is committed to the principles of ecologically sustainable development by closely monitoring its use of resources, integrating economic, social and environmental considerations into decision making, and implementing measures to minimise the impact of agency activities on the environment. ACT Health-Wide - Business and InfrastructureCED10-027 Act Health Sustainability Strategy

Media releases

ACT elective surgery wait times improving Katy Gallagher, MLA October 18, 2010

New South Wales. Department of Health

Media releases

Information for Clients of the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty [15 October 2010]

$27.6 Million For Rural And Regional Hospitals [20 October 2010]

'Clean hearts' project takes out major health award [16 October 2010]

Policy directives

Subpoenas PD2010_065 21/10/2010

Maternity - Prevention, Early Recognition & Management of Postpartum Haemorrhage (PPH) PD2010_064 21/10/2010

Information Bulletins

MOU Between NSW Department of Health & HSU Effective 1 July 2010 IB2010_055 19/10/2010

Christmas Closedown 2010/2011 IB2010_054 19/10/2010

Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families

Media release

Kon Vatskalis / Paul Henderson - Major Reforms in NT Child Protection System - Chief Minister Paul Henderson today announced major reforms to the Child Protection System in the Northern Territory.

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

21/10/2010 Yarrabah opening a big step toward community control

15/10/2010 Winners of Mental Health Week awards announced

South Australia. Department of Health

Media release

Flinders ED redevelopment enters stage two - Thursday, 21 October 2010 - Construction work will begin next week on the second stage of the new Emergency Department at Flinders Medical Centre, as part of the hospital's $163 million redevelopment. Read more...

Aboriginal Health Care Plan

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media releases

Minister Opens Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Conference Minister for Health 18 October 2010

New Base for Registration of Health Minister for Health 15 October 2010

Move to Healthier Vending Machines Minister for Health 15 October 2010

Supported Accommodation Facilities - Request for Proposal

Victoria. Department of Health

Resource kit eases travel strain for rural patients - 15 October 2010 - Rural Victorians now have access to information that will improve their trip to a health service easier and more coordinated.  Read More

Media releases







Guidelines - Suspected Anaphylactic Reactions Associated with Anaesthesia - Available from the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain & Ireland website.

Adverse drug reactions 1993-2008

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

21 Oct 2010Hames Four Hour Rule Program delivers improved care

19 Oct 2010Hames Preferred bidder named for support services at Fiona Stanley Hospital

Department of Health Disability Access and Inclusion Plan 2010–2015

Annual reports 2009–10

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

20 October: Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2010 - This Annual Report outlines the Ministry of Health's key achievements for the 2009/10 financial year, including the Ministry's output performance and financial summary. It includes the Director-General of Health's Annual Report on the State of Public Health, which provides a snapshot of the overall functioning of the health system in New Zealand.

New Zealand. Pharmac

Annual Report - year ended 30 June 2010  - 22 Oct 2010

Medicines funding application tracker now available - 21 Oct 2010

New Zealand. Medsafe

NZ takes part in 3rd online global operation against illegal and counterfeit medicines

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Review of coding for success implementation

Prevention and control of blood-borne virus infection addendum: guidelines for dialysis away from base

Cardiac rehabilitation commissioning packs

The 2010 Spending Review Settlement - David Behan, Director General, Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships to Directors of Adult Social Services

Review of the Organ Donor Register by Professor Sir Gordon Duff

Dear colleague letter from Karen Middleton: Equity and excellence: liberating the NHS for allied health professionals

An Information Revolution: a consultation on proposals

Liberating the NHS: greater choice and control. A consultation on proposals

Response to consultation: Your choice of GP practice: a summary of the consultation on enabling people to register with the GP practice of their choice

Canada. Health Canada

Government of Canada Calls on Industry to Voluntarily Stop the Use of Cadmium in Children's Jewellery [2010-10-19]

United States of America. Centres for Disease Control

Number of Teen Drivers Involved in Fatal Crashes Drops, CDC Study Finds - The number of fatal crashes involving 16 and 17 year old drivers dropped by more than a third between 2004 and 2008, but this doesn't mean that parents and teens should be satisfied with the progress, according to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (Published: 10/21/2010)

ATSDR Launches National ALS Registry - In a groundbreaking step to learn more about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has launched the National ALS Registry. (Published: 10/20/2010)

CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Meeting - The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) develops written recommendations for the routine administration of vaccines to children and adults in the civilian population; recommendations include age for vaccine administration number of doses and dosing interval, and precautions and contraindications. (Published: 10/19/2010)

Statement Regarding Release of Global Adult Tobacco Survey Results by India  - On October 19, India released its Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) results. Many countries conduct surveys to monitor adult tobacco use, but until recently, no single standard global survey for adults has consistently tracked tobacco use, exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, and tobacco control measures. (Published: 10/19/2010)

CDC Announces Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women  - The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced today it had invited 15 individuals to serve on the Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women, a federal advisory committee established by the Affordable Care Act, subject to prescribed appointment procedures. (Published: 10/15/2010)

Australian Medical Association

GP Network News, Issue 10, Number 37 - 22 October 2010 22 October 2010 - 9:00am - Report of AMACGP Meeting; AMA meets with NIS Consultants; National Registration; AMA Poll on Junk Food Advertising; International Medical Graduates

Young rural Australians with type 1 diabetes need assistance to transition to adult health services 17 October 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - Young rural Australians with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) have limited access to adult diabetes health services and contact with specialist staff, and aren't effectively transitioning from child to adult health services, according to an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia. The article finds that diabetes the management of young Australians, and uptake of routine monitoring and preventative services, is poor in several Australian regions.

World-class stroke care in Australia 17 October 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - Clinical outcomes and safety for stroke patients after thrombolysis in Australia are similar to those worldwide, according to research published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Associate Professor Helen Dewey, Head of the Inpatient Stroke Service at Austin Health, Melbourne, and co-authors report Australian outcomes from the Safe Implementation of Thrombolysis in Stroke International Stroke Thrombolysis Register (SITS-ISTR).

Australia needs a tax on junk food 17 October 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - A tax on junk food should be implemented as a tool to reduce consumption and address the obesity epidemic, according to an article in the Medical Journal of Australia. Ms Molly Bond, PhD candidate at the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University, and co-authors discuss the possibility of introducing a junk food tax in a similar fashion to tobacco and alcohol taxes.

Australia needs to make better use of hospital data 17 October 2010 - 12:00pm - MJA media release - Although not the traditional focus of public reporting of Australian hospital care, data already exist that can be used to improve clinical quality, patient-centeredness and safety of care in hospitals, according to a supplement to the 18 October issue of the Medical Journal of Australia. The supplement, entitled Using what we gather — information for improved care, describes initiatives across Australia that are using data to improve care in this manner.

World Health Organisation

The essential role of health professionals - 19 October 2010 -- Health workforces play a crucial role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Staff shortages impact the mortality of women and children, but only 5 of 49 low-income countries attain the minimum 23 doctors per 10 000 inhabitants recommended by WHO. As a result, WHO is promoting global and national solutions. Read more on the health workforce and its impact on the MDGs

New strategies to combat neglected tropical diseases - 14 October 2010 -- Neglected tropical diseases thrive in impoverished settings and impair the lives of at least one billion people. This number can now be significantly reduced according to a report released by WHO today. According to WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, "Existing interventions, including safe, simple and effective medicines, are having an impact."   Read the press release on neglected tropical diseases - Read the Director-General's speech on neglected tropical diseases

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