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

Health Alert 14 March 2011
Last Updated: 14 March 2011
Article by Kerry Hogan-Ross

14 March 2011

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 us.

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. Nursing & Midwifery Tribunal


This Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal of New South Wales ruling concerned the review of the decision of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Board to reject the application of a nurse, who had not practiced since 1991, to be re-registered.

The applicant had practiced as a nurse in Australia and the USA, before living in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong. She made submissions that her work in these countries, while not as a registered nurse, was related to midwifery and the care of children who were often ill, which helped her to maintain her 'nursing knowledge and skills'.

The Tribunal noted that technological advances in the health sector demand constant changes in professional knowledge, and that in 2002 the rate of 'turnover' of knowledge was estimated to be 4 to 7 years. The Tribunal ruled that recency of practice will not be sufficient to maintain the continuing competence of practicing nurses and midwives: education and training is also required. Accordingly, the Tribunal affirmed the Board's decision to reject the application for registration.

Commonwealth. Administrative Appeals Tribunal


This Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision concerned an application for review of a decision by the Department of Health and Ageing's Therapeutic Goods Administration branch ('TGA'). The decision by an unknown officer of the TGA was that a Brachy therapy Kit known as Rapidstrand Rx was not required to be registered under the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods because it was a custom-made medical device.

The Appellant himself manufactured kits that directly competed with the RapidStrand Rx. However, the Appellant's kits were required to be registered. He thus sought judicial review of the decision, arguing that the manufacturers of the Rapidstrand Rx received a considerable commercial advantage by being exempt from registration requirements.

The Tribunal dismissed the appeal because the TGA's decision was not a decision that could be reviewed by the Tribunal. The tribunal noted its limited jurisdiction over the Therapeutic Goods Act 1992 and explained that it could only review decisions by the Minister reconsidering a decision of an officer of the TGA.

New South Wales. Nursing & Midwifery Tribunal

HCCC V BOTTLE [2011] NSWNMT 3 (3 March 2011)



Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Pensioner Supplement) Determination 2011 (No. 1) - F2011L00409

Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Transitional Accommodation Supplement) Determination 2011 (No. 1) - F2011L00407

New South Wales

Health Services Amendment (Local Health Network Areas) Regulation 2011 - commenced on 4 March 2011

South Australia



Health Service Establishments Amendment Bill 2011 introduced into the House of Assembly on 8 March 2011 [Not available on Internet yet]


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

10 March 2011- Community Ideas Sought on Mackay GP Super Clinic -Residents and health professionals from the Mackay area are invited to share ideas on Friday 11 March about the best options for their local GP Super Clinic.

09 March 2011- 68 GP Training Places for South Australia-Sixty-eight new GPs will begin training in South Australia this year as the Australian Government continues to deliver national health reform benefits, helping South Australians to see and contact a doctor when they need to.

09 March 2011- Health Reform to Deliver 179 Sub Acute Beds and Places in SA-South Australians will soon see changes taking place across the state as national health reform starts to deliver more sub acute beds and better care following an announcement of 179 sub acute beds and places with a substantial focus on mental health.

07 March 2011- 10th GP Super Clinic Opening Brings Health Boost to Burnie-Residents from Burnie and surrounds will enjoy greater access to GPs and health professionals closer to home, with the opening of Australia's 10th GP Super Clinic in Burnie on 7 March.

04 March 2011- Australian Health Survey Gets Under Way-The Australian Health Survey about to be undertaken will help with the design and planning of a more focussed health care system for all Australians.

04 March 2011- Chief Medical Officer Professor Jim Bishop-Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, has announced he will leave the position in May this year.

04 March 2011- Community Views Sought on Lower Hunter GP Super Clinic -Residents and health professionals from the Lower Hunter have been invited to share ideas about the best options for their local GP Super Clinic.

Private Health Insurance Circular

PHI 17/11- Introduction of new Private Patient's Hospital Charter Factsheet

Aged care - 8 March 2011 - Implementation of the Community Care Common Standards.

Needle and Syringe Program - Treatment service users (TSU) project: Phase two - This project implemented consumer participation demonstration projects in a variety of drug treatment settings in Australia. It followed the phase one research project which recommended a series of priority actions to support education and training in relation to consumer participation. Treatment service users (TSU) project: Phase two (PDF 2899 KB large file)

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Public and private sector medical indemnity claims in Australia 2007-08 (11 March 2011) (media release)

Australia's public sector medical indemnity claims 2007-08 (11 March 2011) (media release)

Time trends and geographical variation in re-admissions for asthma in Australia (7 March 2011) (media release)

2009 Adult Vaccination Survey: summary results (3 March 2011) (media release)

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

Complex health problems receive research funding boost - 8 March 2011 - Australia's reputation as an international leader in research will continue after today's announcement of nine high-level medical research programs worth $107 million over the next five years. View Media Release

Clinical Utility of Personalised Medicine

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality

On the Radar - Issue 32

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Psychology Board: Ministerial Council approves health and community area of practice endorsements - 10 March 2011 Statement from the Psychology Board of Australia

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Seasonal influenza vaccines (new)

Call for input: Review to improve transparency of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) (added submissions)

What a sponsor needs to know about conformity assessment and manufacturer's evidence for IVDs (new)

Conformity assessment overview (new)

Uniform Recall Procedure for Therapeutic Goods - Recall coordinators' contact details (updated)

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

ACCC not to oppose single certifying body for attendant care standard - The Attendant Care Industry Management System Standard (ACIMSS) is a new standard that has been d... Issued: 4th March 2011 Release # NR 042/11

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media release

Draft Primary Health Care Strategy seeks public consultation Katy Gallagher, MLA March 11 2011

ACT Primary Health Care Strategy (11 March 2011) - Community Consultation is now open on a new ACT Primary Health Care Strategy that aims to reflect community needs for primary.

Learn to Relax Workshops (7 March 2011) - These workshops will teach you simple relaxation techniques that can help lower stress.

Arthritis Awareness Seminar (7 March 2011) - Find out more at this seminar presented by Arthritis ACT during Arthritis Awareness Week.

New South Wales. Department of Health

Role Delineation Levels of Emergency Medicine in NSW Public Hospitals

Policy directives

Procurement Checklists PD2011_017 10/03/2011

Dementia Services Framework 2010-2015 GL2011_004 10/03/2011

Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Problems Requiring Inpatient Care PD2011_016 08/03/2011

Care Coordination: Planning from Admission to Transfer of Care in NSW Public Hospitals PD2011_015 07/03/2011

Information bulletins

Midwives - NSW Health Credentialing Framework IB2011_011 10/03/2011

Public Holidays for 2011 and 2012 IB2011_010 08/03/2011

New South Wales. Therapeutic Advisory Group Inc

TAG Mail: 4th March 2011

Practical Considerations for Pre-Mixed Parenteral Solutions- March 2011 - This document outlines the issues that may arise as use of pre-mixed solutions becomes more widespread in practice including: " Selection errors - packaging and labelling issues " Product standardisation " Storage  " Pumps and devices " When premixed infusions are not available. Please click here to access the document.

Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families

Media releases

Kon Vatskalis - NT Reaffirms Commitment to Renal Care on World Kidney Day - Health Minister Kon Vatskalis today reiterated the NT Government's commitment to addressing renal disease in the Territory on World Kidney Day.

Kon Vatskalis - CLP Position on Katherine Renal Facility Unacceptable - Health Minister Kon Vatskalis has hit out at the CLP for launching a scaremongering campaign targeting sick Territorians set to receive life saving renal dialysis treatment.

Sentinel chickens put Kunjin virus on the radar 8 March 2011 - Results of recent testing of sentinel chickens in the Top End have shown evidence of circulating Kunjin virus - which has a range of unpleasant and potentially serious symptoms.

Dedicated Doctor wins Tribute to Territory Women Award 8 March 2011 - Long-serving Territory medical practitioner Dr Christine Connors has been recognised in the annual Tribute to Northern Territory Women awards, announced today to mark the centenary of International Women's Day.

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases




4 March 2011 Measles alert Gold Coast (PDF, 85KB)

Queensland Health Multicultural Services newsletter issue 8

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

Pseudoephedrine monitoring - Thursday, 10 March 2011 - South Australia will introduce a mandatory, real-time reporting system for pharmacies to monitor sales of pseudoephedrine products. Read more...

Kilojoule info on fast food menus - Sunday, 06 March 2011 - Health Minister John Hill has announced moves to require all major fast food retailers in South Australia to display kilojoule information on their menu boards, websites, leaflets and menus. Read more...

South Australia. Health & Community Services Complaints Commissioner

HCSCC doing critical, valued work for South Australians - The Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner, Leena Sudano, released her response to the SA Health-commissioned operational review of her office, HCSCC, on 3 March 2011. Click here to read the HCSCC media release - Click here to read the HCSCC Fact Sheet - Click here to read the HCSCC response to the operational review

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media releases

Postcards Highlight Inequalities for Women Minister for Health 8 March 2011

Tasmania's Mental Health Consumers set to Flourish Minister for Health 5 March 2011

Improving Cancer Services Minister for Health 4 March 2011

Bowel scan Can Save Lives Minister for Health 4 March 2011

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

Doors open on new sunshine radiation therapy centre Published : - 10/03/2011

Victorians urged to be sun smart at any age Published : - 09/03/2011

New management system to enhance patient safety Published : - 08/03/2011

Hefty fine for unlicensed pest controller - 7.3.11 Published : - 07/03/2011

Historic milestone for Burnet Institute Published : - 05/03/2011

Avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes - You can use simple self protection measures to prevent getting bitten and reduce the risk of being infected with a mosquito-borne disease. (09 March 2011)

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

4 March 2011: Disability Services e-newsletter - Issue 39, February 2011

New Zealand. Mental Health Commission

9 March 2011, Feedback Survey on the Family, Whānau Booklet

United Kingdom. Department of Health

The functions of GP commissioning consortia: a working document

Healthy lives, healthy people: a tobacco control plan for England

Impact of smoke free legislation: evidence review, March 2011

NHS Outcomes Framework: Innovation in Outcomes competition

National Perinatal Mental Health Project Report

Deeds of Variation for the NHS standard contracts for acute hospital, mental health, community and ambulance services

Mobile phone base stations and health

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

Obama Administration takes new steps to support innovation, empower states - Building on President Obama's commitment to ensure states have the power and flexibility to innovate and implement the health care solutions that work best for them, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury today proposed new rules outlining the steps states may pursue in order to receive a State Innovation Waiver under the Affordable Care Act.

Review of recent studies shows predominantly positive results for health information technology - A study completed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and published in the journal Health Affairs finds growing evidence of the benefits of health information technology (HIT). Using methods that were employed by two previous independent reviews, the new study finds that 92 percent of articles on HIT reached conclusions that showed overall positive effects of HIT on key aspects of care including quality and efficiency of health care.

Australian Medical Association

Supervision a factor in most child drownings - 6 March 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - Lack of adequate supervision was a contributing factor in more than 70 per cent of fatal child drownings across Australia, according to a study in the latest Medical Journal of Australia. Read more

Protect your kidneys, save your heart - 6 March 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - Protecting your kidneys may help save your heart, according to an article in the Medical Journal of Australia.   Read more

Cutting food in plastic takeaway containers can cause oesophageal obstruction - 6 March 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - More care should be taken when eating food directly from reheated plastic takeaway containers, as accidental ingestion of plastic can cause oesophageal obstruction, according to a case study in the Medical Journal of Australia. Read more

Antipsychotic and antidepressant medication is on the rise in Sydney nursing homes - 6 March 2011 - 12:00pm - MJA release - Regular use of antipsychotic and antidepressant medication has increased among residents of Sydney nursing homes since 2003, an expert says. Read more

British Medical Association

NHS should not be run like a privatised industry, BMA warns  - The NHS should not be run in the same way as privatised industries such as water, gas, and telecommunications, the BMA says today. (Thu 10 March 2011)

Increase in retirement age for NHS staff unacceptable, BMA says - The final report of Lord Hutton's Independent Public Service Pension Commission recommends linking the retirement age in most public sector pension schemes to the state pension age, and replacing final salary schemes. (Thu 10 March 2011)

NO SMOKING DAY 2011 - Doctors welcome action to tackle tobacco promotion  - Doctors are very pleased to hear that the government in England has finally decided to implement a ban on tobacco displays in shops, said the BMA Director of Professional Activities, Dr Vivienne Nathanson. (Wed 9 March 2011)

The Hutton Review and the NHS Pension Scheme - BMA Media Briefing Paper  - Background information about the NHS pension scheme ahead of publication of the Public Service Pensions Commission final report tomorrow. (Wed 9 March 2011)

American Medical Association

American Medical Association Names New JAMA Editor-in-Chief - AMA Press Release, March 10, 2011 - Professor of Paediatrics and noted researcher to become 16th editor in journal's 127-year history Read the AMA Press Release

AMA Introduces New Medication Safety Checklist for Patients - AMA Press Release, March 7, 2011 - Urges patients to give their medicine cabinets a check-up as National Patient Safety Awareness Week kicks off Read the AMA Press Release

Health Canada

Ministers Duncan and Aglukkaq Take Action to Ensure Successful Transition to Nutrition North Canada [2011-03-09]

The Government of Canada and the Home Depot Team Up to Educate Canadians about Potential Environmental Hazards in the Home [2011-03-08]

Minister Aglukkaq Appoints Chairperson and Vice-Chair to the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board [2011-03-08]

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