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

Health Alert 4 April 2011
Last Updated: 5 April 2011
Article by Lex Holcombe

4 April 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 legal.updates@dlaphillipsfox.com with the relevant contact details.

The DLA Phillips Fox Health Team

Judgments

New South Wales. Medical Tribunal

25/03/2011: Vilo, Enn

This New South Wales Medical Tribunal decision concerned an application for review of a previous order suspending the applicant's registration as a medical practitioner. The applicant effectively sought to have his medical registration reinstated.

The applicant had a history of alcohol and opiate abuse before receiving psychiatric treatment in 1992. As a consequence of his addiction, he had fallen behind in his continuing education. He was subsequently found guilty of professional misconduct for his addictions, improperly supplying drugs to patients and continuing to practice medicine after being suspended.

The Tribunal decided that it was not appropriate for the applicant to be re-registered and accordingly rejected the application.  It noted his lack of frankness when giving evidence and that he had not received any training in the last 20 years to keep his medical knowledge up to date.  It also considered that medical evidence indicated that the applicant lacked appropriate insight into his previous addictions.

South Australia. Coroner

Inquest into the death of Vera Allen

This South Australian coronial inquest concerned the causes of the death of an 81 year old surgery patient. Her death was reportable because the patient had received surgery less than 24 hours before her death.  The coroner had made a finding in February 2009 that the cause of death was 'multi-organ failure due to aortic dissection complicating surgery for aortic valve disease' but embarked on a further investigation following a letter from the Chief Executive of SA Health.

Dr Sherbon's letter indicated that the surgery had been undertaken by, amongst other practitioners, a surgeon who was being investigated by the Medical Board of Queensland.  The surgeon had been undertaking a voluntary supervised work program agreed by the Medical Board, under the oversight of the Director of the Cardiac and Thoracic Surgical Unit at the hospital to assess whether he should be allowed to undertake cardiac work independently in Queensland.

The coroner revised its finding of the cause of death to 'severe cardiogenic shock complicating cardiac surgery' owing, in part, to complications and confusion occurring during the handover from the surgical team to the ICU following the surgery. The coroner recommended, among other things, that the hospital's credentialing of existing doctors and medical staff should be reviewed and investigated by an appropriate independent authority.

New South Wales. Nursing & Midwifery Tribunal

STRUIK v HCCC [2011] NSWNMT 7 (15 March 2011)

Legislation

Commonwealth

National Health (Highly specialised drugs program for hospitals) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2011 (No. 3) (No. PB 28 of 2011) - F2011L00546 " PB 28 of 2011 as made

National Health (Listed drugs on F1 or F2) Amendment Determination 2011 (No. 4) (No. PB 27 of 2011) - F2011L00544 " PB 27 of 2011 as made

Medicare Australia (Functions of Chief Executive Officer) Direction 2011 (No.1) - F2011L00541

National Health Act (Pharmaceutical Benefits - Early Supply) Amendment April 2011 - Specification Under Subsection 84AAA(2) (PB No. 30 of 2011) - F2011L00529 " PB 30 of 2011 as made

Private Health Insurance (Risk Equalisation Administration) Amendment Rules 2011 (No. 1) - F2011L00518

National Health Act 1953 – Amendment determination under paragraph 98C(1)(b) – conditions (No. PB 26 of 2011) - F2011L00509 " PB 26 of 2011 as made

National Health (Listing of Pharmaceutical Benefits) Amendment Instrument 2011 (No. 4) (No. PB 24 of 2011) - F2011L00507  PB 24 of 2011 as made

South Australia

Health Care (Country Health Guarantee) Amendment Bill 2011 - Legislative Council second reading 23 March 2011

Reports etc

Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

31 March 2011- Minister Welcomes Arthritis Awareness Week 2011-Chronic conditions involving the bones and joints are the leading cause of ongoing pain and disability in Australia and affect more than 6.3 million Australians, Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler said today as he acknowledged National Arthritis Week (27 March to 2 April 2011).

31 March 2011- Mobile Renal Dialysis Bus Launched-An innovative way to treat Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who require renal dialysis when returning or visiting remote communities in the Northern Territory has been launched in Alice Springs.

29 March 2011- Brisbane leads the way as e-health super site-Brisbane will the lead the way as an Australian e-health 'super site' following new e-health projects announced as a part of national health reform.

29 March 2011- E-Health benefits spread as Canberra team chosen to lead roll-out -Aged and palliative care patients in the ACT will benefit from better integrated and safer care through e-health systems developed by a team from Canberra that has been chosen as one of nine new projects to lead the roll-out of e-health records.

29 March 2011- E-Health Benefits Spread as Nine New Sites Start Work-Mothers and new born babies, Australians suffering from chronic disease and patients in aged and palliative care are some of the first groups set to benefit from national health reform as nine new locations have been selected to lead the roll-out of e-health records.

29 March 2011- E-Health benefits spread as Sydney team chosen to lead roll-out-Patients are set to benefit from a better, safer and more integrated medical records system to be developed by a consortium of Sydney health providers that have been chosen as one of nine new projects to lead the roll-out of e-health records.

29 March 2011- E-Health benefits spread into Western Sydney-Mums and bubs, Indigenous Australians and aged, chronic and complex disease patients in Western Sydney are set to benefit from a new e-health project.

29 March 2011- Instalment of Funding for Royal Hobart Hospital -The next $50 million instalment of the Australian Government's contribution to the construction of the new Women's and Children's Precinct of the Royal Hobart Hospital will be paid to the Tasmanian Government shortly.

29 March 2011- New Training Resource for Child Services Workers-The social and emotional wellbeing of children will benefit from a pre-service vocational education and training resource launched in Canberra as part of the Government's commitment to mental health reform.

29 March 2011- Territory to Lead E-Health Records for Indigenous Australians-Northern Territorians will be one of the first groups of Australians to have access to e-health records thanks to a new national health reform e-health project announced on 29 March.

28 March 2011- $10,000 up For Grabs for Men's Sheds -Men's Sheds and community-based organisations across the country can again apply for up to $10,000 each through the second round of the Australian Government's Shed Development Program.

28 March 2011- Break the Chain: Indigenous Anti Tobacco Campaign Kicks Off-A new advertising campaign urging Indigenous Australians to quit smoking has hit the airwaves, newspapers and TV screens as the Australian Government continues its world-leading action to combat tobacco use.

28 March 2011- E-Health benefits spread as Geelong team to lead roll-out -Patients are set to benefit from a better and safer medication system to be developed by a team from Geelong that has been chosen as one of nine new projects to lead the roll-out of e-health records.

28 March 2011- Tasmanian aged and palliative care to lead e-health roll-out-Aged and palliative care patients and their families in North West Tasmania will be one of the first groups of Australians to have access to e-health records thanks to a new national health reform e-health project announced on 28 March 2011.

Private Health Insurance Circulars

PHI 23/11 - Second Tier Renewal Reminder

PHI 22/11 - Hospital Information

PHI 21/11 - Hospital Information

Aged care - 28 March 2011 - Accommodation Bond Refund Interest Rates.

Regulatory Plan 2010-11 - The Department of Health and Ageing's Regulatory Plan for 2010-11

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Expressions of Interest are invited for State, Territory and Regional Board Members - Medicine, Nursing and Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Psychology. - Read the information.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Refund rights for 'The Latin Seed' weight-loss food - A food marketed for weight-loss, The Latin Seed was recalled earlier this month after government ... Issued: 29th March 2011 Release # NR 055/11

Australian National Health & Medical Research Council

Tracker – 25 March 2011 edition

Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Health Care

On the Radar - Issue 34

Australia. National E-Health Transition Authority

Govt announces additional nine eHealth sites - 29 March 2011. Personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR) moved a step closer today with the announcement of an additional nine eHealth sites to drive the development and implementation of the Government's PCEHR program. Read more: Govt announces additional nine eHealth sites

Australia. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

1 April 2011 - The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits was updated on 1 April 2011 and the Summary of Changes can be found on the New amended and deleted items page. Detailed information regarding additions and alterations of restrictions is now available in the fact sheet, New Listings and Changes 1 April 2011.  The following updates have also been made to the PBS Website:

FORMULARY ALLOCATIONS - 1 April 2011

ITEMS EXEMPT FROM STATUTORY PRICE REDUCTIONS - 1 April 2011

12.5% and 16% PRICE REDUCTIONS - 1 April 2011

Drugs subject to Expanded and Accelerated Price Disclosure - 1 April 2011

Expanded and Accelerated Price Disclosure workshop presentations

Amendment to the pricing of FLUCONAZOLE, GEMCITABINE, PACLITAXEL, and VANCOMYCIN - General Schedule - 1 April 2011 (PDF 51KB)

Amendment to the pricing of GEMCITABINE, and PACLITAXEL - Chemotherapy Supplement - 1 April 2011 (PDF 12KB)

Australia. Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

31 March 2011 - State of the Health Funds Report 2010 - PHIO today published its annual State of the Health Funds Report, providing information on the comparative performance and service delivery of private health insurance funds in Australia. ... READ MORE

28 March 2011 - Assisted Reproductive Services Factsheet - What can be covered by insurance for IVF, GIFT and related services. -READ MORE

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated)  *Capecitabine/ oxaliplatin *Fingolimod *Mannitol *Oestradiol valerate/Dienogest

Advisory Committee on Medical Devices (ACMD) meeting recommendations, 18 March 2011 (new)

Recall of Vaccine Batch N3336 Pneumovax® 23 (new)

Breast screening devices (updated)

Drugs designated as orphan drugs (added arsenic trioxide, rifaximin, taliglucerase & 6-chloro-2, 3, 4, 9-tetrahydro-1H-carboxamide)

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Trends in serious injury due to land transport accidents, Australia

The use of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs for the management of rheumatoid arthritis

Health and the environment: a compilation of evidence

AIHW Access no.29: March 2011

Dental health of Indigenous children in the Northern Territory: findings from the Closing the Gap Program

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media release

Local Hospital Network Established Katy Gallagher, MLA March 29 2011

Death Cap Mushroom Warning (29 March 2011) - The Death Cap mushroom is a deadly poisonous introduced fungus responsible for 90% of all mushroom related deaths.

New South Wales. Department of Health

April Falls Day no laughing matter [31 March 2011]

Policy directive

Maternity - Management of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy PD2011_020

Northern Territory. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

Kon Vatskalis - Indigenous Health Outcomes Continue to Improve - A unique and innovative approach to teaching Indigenous Territorians about vital aspects of their health care was launched in Alice Springs today.

Kon Vatskalis - Talking Posters Get the Message Out - Talking posters in six of central Australia's common Aboriginal languages are now being used to keep mental health patients well informed, Health Minister Kon Vatskalis said today.

Kon Vatskalis - Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre Turns 1  - It has been one year since the Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre (AWCCC) treated its first patient, enabling most Territorians requiring cancer treatment to receive their vital care without travelling away from home, Health Minister Kon Vatskalis said today.

Gerry McCarthy - Free door-to-door bus service for Territory disadvantaged  - A free door-to-door shuttle bus service for the sick and elderly to get to their medical appointments will start in the coming months, the Territory Government announced today.

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

30/03/2011 Health research to benefit Queenslanders

New Healthier Queensland campaign web site launched

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

30 March 11 - South Australian hospitalised with MVE

29 March 11 - Mosquito health warning

New Chief Executive for SA Health - Wednesday, 30 March 2011 - Health Minister John Hill has announced that David Swan has been appointed as the new Chief Executive for SA Health. - Read more...

Fewer obese children in SA - Tuesday, 29 March 2011 - There has been a decline in the percentage of four year-old children in South Australia who are overweight or obese. - Read more...

Health Alert - 29 Mar 11 - Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus detected in birds in SA

South Australia. Health & Community Services Complaints Commissioner

HCSCC helps to Close the Gap 24 March 2011 - HCSCC's latest edition of Buzz published today has an Aboriginal focus in support of National Close the Gap Day 2011. This campaign highlights work to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians within a generation. Buzz can be downloaded in either a PDF or RTF format. To download a copy of the March 2011 Buzz please click here.

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media releases

Health and Human Services Progress Chart Minister for Health 31 March 2011

New Health Centre Expanding Services for the Central Highlands Minister for Health 30 March 2011

$50 Million Delivered for the Royal Hobart Hospital Minister for Health 29 March 2011

Secretary of Health and Human Services Minister for Health 25 March 2011

Aspirin Study for Older Tasmanians Minister for Health 25 March 2011

March 2011 Progress Chart released | 31 Mar 2011

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

Geelong gains $7 million for Regional Community Health Hub at Deakin University - Thursday 31 March 2011 - Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall today announced the Victorian Government will commit $7 million towards a new Regional Community Health Hub at Deakin University's Geelong campus. Mr Hall said the Health Hub was expected to accommodate 1500 new students, 172 new staff and inject $140 million a year into the regional economy by 2017. The development is also expected to create a further 850 indirect jobs.

Coalition reduces the risk of alcohol-related harm to our children - Wednesday 30 March 2011 - The Baillieu Government has introduced legislation banning adults from supplying alcohol to a minor in a private home unless parental consent is given, restoring decision-making power to parents over access to alcohol by their children, Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge said. Legislation introduced by Minster for Consumer Affairs Michael O'Brien into Parliament this week will amend the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, changing the way people under 18 years of age obtain access to alcohol in private residences.

Arthritis support just a click away with new online map - Tuesday 29 March 2011 - Health Minister David Davis today officially launched Arthritis Victoria's Arthritis Map – a practical and interactive online tool for people with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. The Arthritis Map displays the latest information on the prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Paramedics and nurses join forces - 25 March 2011 - A partnership between Ambulance Victoria and Northern Health will allow graduates with nursing and ambulance qualifications to work in both areas when they finish university.  Read More

Mosquito health warning - 25 March 2011 - Residents and visitors in the Murray Valley and Bendigo are being warned to protect themselves against mosquitoes. Read More

Fact sheet for corporate influenza immunisation providers

Tweets

[VIDEO] Flu (influenza) immunisation - facts from the Department of Health Chief Health Officer, Dr John Carnie http://ow.ly/4pXZ5

Signposting #depression in teenagers and pathways for positivity - http://ow.ly/4ksGZ. Please RT

#Depression affects 1 in 5 teenagers. Symptoms solutions and where to get help here - http://ow.ly/4kspH. Please RT

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

26 March 2011 - Chlamydia campaign asks 'Could I have it?'

25 March 2011 - Upgraded mosquito-borne disease risk in northern and central WA

31 March 2011 Morton - Time for the hard truth on suicide prevalence, prevention and early response

01 April 2011 Morton - Grants to support self directed disability services

29 March 2011 Morton - Call to action on suicide prevention in Western Australia

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

1 April 2011: Uia Tonutia - Māori Disability Research Agenda

31 March 2011: Targeting More Elective Operations - Improved Access to Elective Surgery

New Zealand. Pharmac

Full subsidy for tube fed patients. - 30 Mar 2011,

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Health is Global: An outcomes framework for global health 2011-15

Transparency in outcomes: A framework for quality in adult social care, response to consultation

Making Quality Your Business: A guide to the right to provide

HealthWatch Transition Plan

Health visiting return to practice and recruitment drive

The NHS Business Services Authority (Awdurdod Gwasanathethau Busnes y GIG) Amendment Directions 2011

Health Canada

Government of Canada to explore new options for tobacco control [2011-03-25]

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

March 31, 2011 - BARDA funds advanced development of new influenza antiviral - A contract has been awarded to develop a long-acting single-dose antiviral drug for use in the United States, the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) announced today.

March 31, 2011 - Statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the Institute of Medicine Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health - The report provides the scientific community with the first comprehensive overview of health-related research in this important area. It concludes by recommending that NIH develop and implement a comprehensive research agenda to advance our knowledge and understanding of LGBT health, including demographic studies and inequities in health care, and the social contexts in which LGBT people live.

March 30, 2011 - HHS Launches New Consumer-Focused Immunization Website www.vaccines.gov - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today unveiled an innovative new website to help parents and other consumers learn about the most effective way to protect themselves and their children from infectious diseases and learn about immunization. Vaccines.gov brings together the best in federal resources on vaccine and immunizations to provide consumers with easy-to-understand health information specifically for their needs.

United States of America. Centres for Disease Control

Report to Nation Finds Continued Declines in Many Cancer Rates - Rates of death in the United States from all cancers for men and women continued to decline between 2003 and 2007, the most recent reporting period available, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer. The report also finds that the overall rate of new cancer diagnoses for men and women combined decreased an average of slightly less than 1 percent per year for the same period. (Published: 3/31/2011)

Australian Medical Association

The community must have confidence in vaccination services 31 March 2011 - 11:45am - The AMA today released its Position Statement on Vaccinations Outside of General Practice – 2011. AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that vaccination against preventable diseases is a proven method of reducing the incidence of and deaths from diseases such as measles, tetanus, diphtheria, and Haemophilus influenza type B. "Australia's comprehensive vaccination program means that the occurrence of vaccine-preventable diseases is now very rare," Dr Hambleton said.

Extra $5 billion needed for mental health 29 March 2011 - 10:00am - The AMA is calling on the Federal Government to provide an extra $5 billion in funding over four years to expand health and social services to ensure that there is a properly resourced, coordinated and supported mental health system in Australia. Releasing the AMA's first formal Position Statement on Mental Health today, AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said that all Australians with a mental illness deserve to have ready access to quality mental health care based on their particular needs. "This requires a significant expansion of services, intervention, and support across the whole continuum of care for people with mental illness," Dr Pesce said.

British Medical Association

Health and student organisations launch NHS Bursary consultation - Organisations representing the country's leading health and student organisations today (Thursday 31st March 2011) announced that they will be launching a joint consultation on the latest options from the government on proposed changes to the NHS Bursary. (Thursday 31 March 2011)

American Medical Association

AMA to Host Webinar on Radiation Emergencies - AMA Press Release, March 31, 2011 - Crisis in Japan spurs need for information about radiation disaster implications. - Read the AMA Press Release

AMA Honours Physicians on National Doctors' Day - AMA Press Release, March 30, 2011 -Today, the AMA honours the physicians who have dedicated their professional lives to providing excellent patient care. - Read the AMA Press Release

AMA Introduces Its First-Ever Physician App; Launches App Challenge - AMA Press Release, March 29, 2011 - The AMA introduced its first-ever app that allows physicians to quickly find CPT billing codes. - Read the AMA Press Release

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