Australia: Health Alert - 21 March 2011

Last Updated: 21 March 2011
Article by Kerry Hogan-Ross

21 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


Family Court of Australia

Re: Baby D (No. 2) [2011] FamCA 176 (16 March 2011)

This Family Court of Australia decision concerned an application by parents of a prematurely born baby to be authorised to consent to an operation to remove and not replace an endotracheal tube from the baby's airway, and to consent to the administration of palliative care if the baby then experienced pain, respitory distress or collapse.  

The baby was suspected to have suffered some brain damage and the parents sought to have the tube removed to ascertain whether there remained any significant obstruction of the baby's airway.  The case was controversial because it was unknown whether the baby would respond to removal of the tube by breathing on her own, or of suffering respitory collapse.

The court considered that this was a "special case" and that ultimately court authorisation of the procedure and subsequent treatment was required. The court followed the evidence of various doctors, the Clinical Ethics Committee and the baby's parents that it was in the best interests of the child to remove the tube. It granted the application to authorise the parents to consent to the removal of the tube, and the administration of palliative care if needed.



Private Health Insurance (Complying Product) Amendment Rules 2011 (No. 2)

Private Health Insurance (Benefit Requirements) Amendment Rules 2011 (No. 2)

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

Therapeutic Goods Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 1)

Therapeutic Goods (Charges) Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 1)

National Health (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 1)

Health Insurance Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 1)

Health Insurance (Diagnostic Imaging Services Table) Amendment Regulations 2011 (No. 1)

Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Concessional Resident Supplement) Determination 2011 (No. 1)

Reports etc

Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

The new approach to aged care complaints: A Department and industry dialogue - The 20th annual Tri-State Conference was held in Albury from 27 February to 1 March 2011, bringing together aged care professionals from NSW, Victoria and South Australia. First Assistant Secretary for the Office of Aged Care Quality and Compliance, Iain Scott, and Assistant Secretary for the Aged Care Complaints Scheme, Lucelle Veneros, addressed the sector on the topic "The new approach to aged care complaints: a Department and industry dialogue".

11 March 2011 - Consumer Directed Care in Australian Government Community Aged Care Programs.

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Dental health of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory: findings from the Closing the Gap Program - 18 March 2011

Cardiovascular disease: Australian facts 2011 - 17 March 2011

Australia's public sector medical indemnity claims 2007-08 - 11 March 2011

Public and private sector medical indemnity claims in Australia 2007-08 - 11 March 2011

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Safety advisory: FU YUAN CHUN capsules (new)

Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated) - Immunoglobulin – normal (human) - Telmisartan/Amlodipine

Safety advisory: SATIBO capsules (new)

Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines: Appointment of new members (new)

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

Business rules for reduced assessment fees for in vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDs) (new)

Australian National Council on Drugs

School Fundraising and Alcohol - 2 March 2011

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

Better help for health professionals means better help for treating mental health problems - 18 March 2011 - Health professionals will have access to new clinical practice guidelines to help them identify and treat mental health problems following National Health and Medical Research Council's approval of guidelines developed by beyondblue: the national depression initiative.. View Media Release

Tracker – 11 March 2011 edition

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Court finds allergy treatment claims misleading - The Federal Court has found three companies and two individuals made false claims and misled cons...Issued: 11th March 2011 Release # NR 047/11

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

Bats warning (18 March 2011) - ACT Health has received feedback in recent weeks from people bitten or scratched by bats.

Health Services Performance Report (17 March 2011) - See the latest quarterly report on the performance of the public health services provided by ACT Health.

Slimming Products Health Warning (12 March 2011) - Canberrans should avoid consuming plant seeds marketed as slimming products under the labels 'The Latin Seed.'

New South Wales. Department of Health

Media release

Policy directives

Information bulletins

Northern Territory. Department of Health & Families

Media releases

  • Fond farewell to Territory's Principal Nursing & Midwifery Adviser  - Department of Health Chief Executive Jeff Moffet has announced that the Northern Territory's Principal Nursing and Midwifery Adviser, Dr Greg Rickard, will step down from his position on 18 March 2011 after eight years with the Department.
  • Hand-foot-and-mouth disease circulating in the community - The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has issued advice to parents about the viral infection known as "hand-foot-and-mouth disease" that is currently circulating in children in Darwin and other Territory centres.
  • Mosquito virus warning for Barkly region  - The detection of Murray Valley encephalitis virus (MVEV) / Kunjin virus (KUNV) in the combined NT Health and Department of Resources Primary Industry laboratories program of sentinel chickens in the Barkly region, gives early notice of the presence of these mosquito borne viruses in the region and has prompted a public alert from the Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Kon Vatskalis - Territory Teeth To Get 'Makeover' - A first of its kind four-year strategy for improving the oral health of Territorians was launched today by Health Minister Kon Vatskalis.
  • Interruption to MRI service at Royal Darwin Hospital  - The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine owned and operated by Northern Territory Medical Imaging (NTMI) at Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH), has been accidentally damaged by water leakage.

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

Mount Isa Community Lead Screening Program 2010 Report

Radiation health information relating to nuclear incidents in Japan

Queensland Health Multicultural Services newsletter issue 8

Clinical Services Capability Framework for Public and Licensed Private Health Facilities Version Three  

PaRROT - Pathways to Rural and Remote Orientation and Training (new site)

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

  • New mental health centre open in the south - Friday, 18 March 2011 - Mental Health Minister John Hill has opened a new Intermediate Care Centre (ICC) in Noarlunga. Read more...
  • Doctors start work at Modbury GP Plus Superclinic - Monday, 14 March 2011  - General Practitioner services are now available at the $25 million GP Plus Super Clinic Modbury. - Read more...

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media releases

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

16 March 2011 Advice on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan

Seclusion in approved mental health services - March 2011 (PDF file 278KB)

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

Victoria. Obudsman

Ombudsman Investigation - Assault of a Disability Services Client by Department of Human Services Staff (278KB) - Report tabled in Parliament 3 March 2011.

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media release

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Diagnostic testing for Clostridium difficile infection, dear colleague letter from Dame Christine Beasley

GP Patient Survey, January to December 2010

Quality Governance in the NHS - A guide for provider board

Maintaining and improving quality during the transition: safety, effectiveness, experience

Industry review of the NHS Litigation Authority

Efficient use of vaccines, letter from Dorian Kennedy, Head of Immunisation Branch

JCVI advice on pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination programme

Consultation on options for improving information on the labels of alcoholic drinks to support consumers to make healthier choices in the UK - response to consultation

Safeguarding Adults: The role of health services

United States of America. Centres for Disease Control

Older Adults Not Getting Recommended Preventive Services - Critical gaps exist between older Americans who receive potentially lifesaving preventive services and those who do not, according to a new report from agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  (Published: 3/10/2011)

$10 Million Awarded to Help Reduce Health Care-Associated Infections - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarding $10 million for new research to five academic medical centers as part of its Prevention Epicenter grant program, which supports efforts to develop and test innovative approaches to reducing infections in health care settings.  (Published: 3/10/2011)

US Cancer Survivors Grows to Nearly 12 Million  - The number of cancer survivors in the United States increased to 11.7 million in 2007, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. There were 3 million cancer survivors in 1971 and 9.8 million in 2001.  (Published: 3/10/2011)

Health Canada

Government of Canada Works with Nunavut to Help Prevent Young People from Taking Illicit Drugs [2011-03-16]

Minister Aglukkaq Highlights the Important Role of the Nutrition North Canada External Advisory Board [2011-03-14]

Australian Medical Association

Advice from DoHA and ARPANSA on exposure to radiation arising from nuclear incidents in Japan 17 March 2011 - 11:30am  - The following advice was released on 17 March 2011 by ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) with regard to the nuclear incidents in Japan.

2011 AMA Award for Excellence in Health Care 15 March 2011 - 12:00pm - The AMA Award for Excellence in Health Care is awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to improving health or health care in Australia. The closing date for nominations is Thursday 21 April 2011.

2011 AMA State Awards 15 March 2011 - 12:00pm - The AMA State Awards recognise the work of State and Territory AMAs in promoting the Association and the profession. The closing date for submissions is Thursday 21 April 2011.

Budget cuts are not health reform 11 March 2011 - 4:36pm - AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said today that the Government risks losing all health reform credibility if it pursues speculated Budget savings by cutting essential patient services while at the same time pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into unproven projects such as Medicare Locals and GP Super Clinics. Dr Pesce said that cutting funding for services that are known to help patients is not health reform. "Health reform should be about making the system better, not cutting services that work or making services more expensive for people," Dr Pesce said.

GP Network News, Issue 11, Number 9 - 11 March 2011 11 March 2011 - 10:45am - New AMA Health Reform landing page; Australia to host the World Medical Association (WMA) Council; Multidisciplinary Team Care Arrangements (TCA) in the management of patients with chronic disease in Australian general practice – research paper; Medicare Australia (MA) Telephony Modernisation program – call for GPs to participate on a working group; Keep patients occupied with FOXTEL Business; Post new comment

British Medical Association

BMA statement following Special Representative Meeting
The BMA will continue to demand major changes to controversial NHS reform proposals and to pursue robustly amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill following intense and detailed debate at a special meeting of the BMA's Representative Body. (Thursday 17 March 2011)

BMA comment on report on hospital productivity
Commenting on today's (Tuesday 15 March, 2011) Committee of Public Accounts report on the productivity of hospitals in England, Dr Paul Flynn, Deputy Chairman of the BMA's Consultants Committee (Tuesday 15 March 2011)

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