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

Health Alert 15 November 2010
Last Updated: 15 November 2010
Article by Heather Wellington

15 November 2010

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.


Victoria. Coroners Court of Victoria

586208 Veronica Campbell (PDF 2.15MB)  - Veronica Campbell Appendix 1 - 3 (PDF 3.39MB)  - Veronical Campbell Appendix 3 continued (PDF 2.79MB) - Death as a result of ruptured ectopic pregnancy

This Coronial Inquest concerned the death of a 38 year old woman on 31 December 2008 as a result of complications following a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

On 20 December 2008 the woman arrived at her local hospital experiencing pain.  The doctor on call diagnosed a possible ectopic pregnancy and called an ambulance to transport the woman to the closest hospital with appropriate facilities to perform surgery.  The ambulance did not arrive for over one hour and forty minutes despite the request for a priority upgrade.  On arrival it was found to be unable to transport the woman as her condition had deteriorated.  A MICA unit was called and arrangements were made for an Air Ambulance to transfer the woman.  On landing at the other hospital (four and a half hours after the initial call for an ambulance) she went into cardiac arrest and despite receiving 28 units of blood and attempts for resuscitation, she died.

The Coroner found that the death was preventable.  She made various recommendations including:

Hospital facility descriptions summarising the facilities available at rural hospitals should be created and utilised by Ambulance Victoria;

The use of the term 'emergency department' should not be used for small rural hospitals with only urgent care facilities and a limited ability to respond to medical emergencies;

The number of available ambulances in the region be increased on evening and night shifts;

Staffing must be at a level sufficient to enable staff to enter information on the Medical Dispatching System and that dispatchers and call takers can take appropriate breaks;

Ambulance Victoria undertakes a complete systems review to determine the optimum ratio of dispatching staff to ambulances on each shift;

Provision of information on response time of Air Ambulance for dispatchers; and

Ambulance Victoria and the Victorian Government to develop a viable method of providing blood products in emergencies in rural communities.


South Australia

Controlled Substances (Therapeutic Goods and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2010 - 10/11/2010 Intro HA


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

08 November 2010 - Continuing the Fight against Petrol Sniffing - The Australian Government is stepping up its push to curb petrol sniffing in regional and remote communities – making the low aromatic Opal fuel available in Kakadu National Park for the first time.

08 November 2010 - Indigenous Runners Successful in New York Marathon - Four young men from remote Northern Australia have become the nation's first Aboriginal marathon team to complete the world-famous New York City Marathon.

Private Health Insurance Circulars

PHI 75/10 - Invitation to Comment - Standard Information Statement (SIS) Review

PHI 74/10 - Hospital Information

PHI 73/10 - Hospital Information

Translated Aged Care Information Sheets - A number of Information Sheets on aged care are available in 17 languages to assist people with English as a second language. These can be ordered by contacting the Aged Care Information Line on 1800 500 853 or using the online order form.

Highlights of progress on health reform initiatives – November 2010

DoHA news and information in 140 characters - You can now receive Department of Health and Ageing news and information alerts via Twitter.  Visit @HealthAgeingau to view general Departmental and health news, event updates and announcements. If you have a Twitter account, you can follow us to receive regular updates to your account.  Concerned about your privacy? See our Twitter guidelines.

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

11 November 2010 - Notice of Public Forum - The CEO of ARPANSA has announced a public forum to receive oral submissions on the application from ANSTO for a facility license to decommission the National Medical Cyclotron at Camperdown, NSW.

5 November 2010 - Application to decommission National Medical Cyclotron - The CEO intends to make a decision on a facility license application from ANSTO to decommission the National Medical Cyclotron in Camperdown, NSW and invites public submissions on the application by 10 December 2010.

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Drugs designated as orphan drugs (added Afamelanotide (SCENESSE), Ex vivo cultured adult human mesenchymal stem cells (PROCHYMAL)) and Drug: Tobramycin (TOBI))

Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines

Corifollitropin alfa




Consultation: Proposed amendments to the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 to implement the Biologicals Framework (new)

TGA Biologicals framework newsletter, Issue 4, November 2010 (new)

Urgent consumer level recall: APO-PERINDOPRIL 2MG TABLETS – Blister Packs of 30 Tablets (new)

Complaint investigations (new)

European Union guidelines (added 10 guidelines adopted, 5 guidelines replaced/superseded and 1 guideline not adopted)

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Media Release: Few 'non-returns' in medical registration renewal (263 KB,PDF)

Media release: Board and AMC to review implementation of IMG pathways (245 KB,PDF)

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Electoral roll matching project - This brief report shows that it is feasible to access telephone listings for surveys by using the Australian electoral roll databases as a starting point. Around 52% of records sampled. Published 12 November 2010.

Injury of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people due to transport, 2003-04 to 2007-08 - Land transport accidents accounted for 20% of fatal injury cases and 8% of all injury hospitalisations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Based on age-standardised rates, there were 2.7. Published 11 November 2010.

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

Commonwealth MYEFO: positives and negatives for ACT Katy Gallagher, MLA 11 November 2010


Launch of the ACT Breastfeeding Strategic Framework 2010-2015 Katy Gallagher, MLA 10 November 2010

Minister for Health congratulates 2010 ACT Health Allied Health Awards for Excellence recipients Katy Gallagher, MLA  9 November 2010

Woolworths Fresh Food Kids Hospital Appeal donation to Paediatrics Katy Gallagher, MLA 9 November 2010

Breastfeeding - Act Breastfeeding Strategic Framework 2010-2015: The overall aim of the framework is to identify strategies to increase the number of infants being exclusively breastfed from birth to six months, and to encourage ongoing breastfeeding with complimentary foods until at least 12 months of age in line with the National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations. ACT Health-Wide - Community HealthCED10-031 Act Breastfeeding Strategic Framework (PDF File 474k)

Corporate Plan 2010-2012: Act Health - The ACT Health Corporate Plan (2010-2012) gives strategic direction to ACT Health business units to support the achievement of ACT Health's overarching organisational vision and corporate values. The vision for the Plan is "your health our priority". The Plan has seven key performance areas - Consumer Experience; Sustainability; Hospital and Related Care; Prevention; Social Inclusion and Indigenous Health; Community Based Health; and Aged Care. ACT Health-Wide - Chief ExecutiveCED10-033 Act Health Corporate Plan 2010-12 (PDF File 1151

New South Wales. Department of Health

Media releases

Thunderstorms cause Asthma 'Spike' [11 November 2010]

NSW Health Releases Report on Upper Hunter Health [05 November 2010]

Chairs of the Governing Councils - Governing Councils that will oversee Local Health Networks. [Video]

Analysis of BEACH general practitioner encounter data 05/11/2010

NSW Health Analysis of costs and benefits of specialised intellectual disability health services 30/10/2010

Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families

Consultation Paper - Local Hospital Network (Adobe PDF document - 150KB)

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases


11/11/2010 Queensland Rural and Remote Health medical practitioner receives top award for excellence in women's health

11/11/2010 Registration roadblocks for nurses on national agenda

10/11/2010 Queensland welcomes review of IMG pathways

09/11/2010 SCUH still an LNP policy black hole


05/11/2010 $1 million Longreach Hospital upgrade completed

Food Regulation Policy Options Consultation Paper, for the review of the 2003 Ministerial Policy Guideline Food Safety Management in Australia: Food Safety Programs

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

New program to tackle under-age drinking - Saturday, 06 November 2010  - A program to target alcohol misuse and harm amongst young people is being piloted in Adelaide. Read more...

Rescue helicopters re-fuel at Berri - Thursday, 04 November 2010 - Emergency helicopters can now refuel at Riverland Regional Hospital's new on-site 1,500 litre fuel storage system. - Read more...

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media releases

Contract for Statewide Aero-Medical Services to be Subject to Transparent Tender Process Minister for Health 10 November 2010

Improving Health Care on the Bass Strait Islands Minister for Health 10 November 2010

Greater Role for Allied Health Professionals Minister for Health 8 November 2010

Communication and health literacy survey  - 10 November 2010

Tobacco Control  - 9 November 2010

Victoria. Department of Health

Hospital Circular - Publication Number 20 / 2010 - 10 November 2010 - Date Issued: 1 November 2010 - Subject: Highly Specialised Drugs Program

Department of Health and Victoria Police Protocol for Mental Health - September 2010 (PDF file 553KB)

New men's and women's health and wellbeing strategies - 5 November 2010: The Department of Health has released two new health and wellbeing strategies – the first Victorian Men's health and wellbeing strategy and the third Victorian Women's health and wellbeing strategy.

Health Victoria - The Department of Health's monthly publication. - Read latest edition

Protect our waters – protect our health: A guide for landholders on managing land in drinking water catchments

9 November 2010 - Medicines Alert: Urgent recall of APO-PERINDOPRIL 2 mg tablets

Draft HITH program guidelines 2010 (pdf, 1.3mb)  - Draft HITH Guidelines Feedback Template (doc, 121kb)

Victorian Health Services Policy and Funding Guidelines 2010 - 11

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

9 November 2010 - Ross River virus disease risk in Peel region

8 November 2010 - Release of the 2008 WA Cancer Incidence and Mortality Report

11 November 2010 - Strategic Intent 2010-2015

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

12 November 2010: New Zealand Clinical Guidelines for the Use of Buprenorphine (with or without Nalaxone) in the Treatment of Opioid Dependence 2010 - These guidelines state the best practice for prescribing, and provide guidance on the use of buprenorphine alone or in combination with nalaxone for managing opioid dependence. They are to be used in conjunction with the Practice Guidelines for Opioid Substitution Treatment in New Zealand (Ministry of Health 2008).

10 November 2010: The Burden of Cancer: New Zealand 2006 - The report presents estimates of the burden of 28 different cancers in 2006, denominated in disability adjusted life years (DALYs). The total burden of cancer was estimated to be approximately 127 000 DALYs, with the major types being breast (27%), lung (14%) and colorectal cancer (13%) in females, and prostate (16%), lung (16%) and colorectal cancer (13.5%) in males. Age standardised cancer DALY rates were typically 1.5 fold higher in Maori than non-Maori.

10 November 2010: Report of the South Island Neurosurgery Expert Panel - Recommendations to the Acting Director-General of Health for a safe, sustainable neurosurgical service for the people of the South Island.

5 November 2010: Review of Services for People Living with HIV in New Zealand - The Ministry has conducted an independent review of existing service coverage for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) including those services not funded by the Ministry.

New Zealand. Mental Health Commission

12 November 2010, Four new reports released by the Commission

5 November 2010, The boys at MHC support Movember for men's health

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Carbon monoxide poisoning: needless deaths, unnecessary injury: PL/CMO/2010/02, PL/CNO/2010/02

Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) scheme: record retention and disposal policy

Nothing ventured, nothing gained: risk guidance for people with dementia

Department of Health business plan 2011-2015

Liberating the NHS: National Quality Board's advice on implementing the White Paper

Keep Warm Keep Well leaflet and posters 2010

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

HHS announces new tobacco strategy and proposed new warnings and graphics for cigarette packs and advertisements - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today unveiled a new comprehensive tobacco control strategy that includes proposed new bolder health warnings on cigarette packages and advertisements. Once final, these health warnings on cigarettes and in cigarette advertisements will be the most significant change in more than 25 years. These actions are part of a broader strategy that will help tobacco users quit and prevent children from starting.

United States of America. Centres for Disease Control

CDC Releases Two Reports on Excessive Alcohol Use and Related Harms - CDC's Guide to Community Preventive Services has released two reports on "Maintaining Limits on Days and Hours of Sale of Alcoholic Beverages to Prevent Excessive Alcohol Consumption and Related Harms". (Published: 11/9/2010)

Australian Medical Association

Minister must urgently clarify regulations for collaborative care 11 November 2010 - 4:30pm  - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, must urgently clarify the intent and coverage of the new regulations for collaborative care arrangements between doctors and nurse practitioners. Dr Pesce said that claims in the media by some groups, especially Revive Clinics, that their models of care are eligible for access to Medicare and the PBS are throwing the new arrangements into disarray and confusion.

AMA welcomes review of assessment processes for international medical graduates 9 November 2010 - 4:00pm  - The AMA welcomes the Medical Board of Australia's review of assessment processes for international medical graduates (IMGs) working in Australia. The Board has announced it will work with the Australian Medical Council to determine the terms of a review of the assessment pathways for IMGs, which came into effect on 1 July 2008.

Doctors support collaborative care, not fragmented care 5 November 2010 - 1:15pm - The AMA today reaffirmed that it does not support nurse practitioners working independently of doctors. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the AMA supports meaningful collaborative care arrangements between doctors and nurses under new measures that came into effect this week, and welcomes Health Minister Roxon's public confirmation that the arrangements will not make nurse practitioners substitutes for doctors.

Canadian Medical Association

CMA helps launch radon-awareness campaign - 11 November 2010 - Canada's doctors are being asked to remind patients, particularly smokers, about the health risk posed by radon.

Violence against women a global disease, MDs told - 8 November 2010

American Medical Association

AMA's Award-Winning Newspaper Opens Online News Archive  - AMA Press Release, 11 November 2010  - American Medical News, the award-winning newspaper published by the American Medical Association (AMA), announced today it is offering unrestricted access to its online news archive at Read the Press Release

New AMA Policy Helps Guide Physicians' Use of Social Media  - AMA Press Release, 8 November  2010 - New policy adopted today by the American Medical Association (AMA) aims at helping physicians to maintain a positive online presence and preserve the integrity of the patient-physician relationship.   Read the AMA Press Release

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