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

Health Alert 18 April 2011
Last Updated: 19 April 2011
Article by Heather Wellington

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


Australia. Family Court


On 11 April 2011, the full court of the Australian Family Court heard an application by the Department for Community Services (Department)to summarily dismiss an appeal against a judgment which held that the court could authorise hormone treatment for a transsexual minor (named Bernadette). The minor's parents and the Department had not disagreed on the appropriateness of the treatment. Rather, the appellant parents sought an order that decisions about such treatment were an aspect of parental responsibility and that consequently the court had no jurisdiction to make the orders. The application was made following the refusal of medical experts to treat the adolescent in the absence of a court order.

The court granted the application for summary dismissal. Between the trial judgement and the appeal, Bernadette had turned 18 years old. The court therefore held that because Bernadette was no longer a minor, the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal. The court reiterated that Bernadette was now an adult, who no longer required the consent of the court (or her parents)to any medical treatment.

Victoria. Coroners Court

497007 Louise Lit is (PDF 758KB)

This coronial finding into death without inquest concerned the suicide by hanging of a patient diagnosed with postpartum depression. The deceased, a mother of two, was admitted to a private hospital and used the cable from the nurse call button as a ligature. The coroner granted an objection to autopsy, given that the patient's death could be determined from her clinical history.

The deceased's husband and parents were critical of her psychiatric care at the hospital, including the failure to inform them of the change in the deceased's risk assessment status and to allow them the opportunity to contribute to a management plan. Some of these criticisms were supported by expert psychiatric evidence, which also noted some confusion at the hospital regarding the patient's suicide risk status.

The coroner made recommendations that patients with high levels of suicidality be placed in rooms appropriately suicide-proofed, that families be included in the psychiatric care of their loved one, and that protocols be established to ensure appropriate records of psychiatric assessment and management.

Victoria. Coroners Court

155297 Anderina Laura Sanderson (PDF 1.02MB)

aged, care, DHS, Department, of, Human, Services, heart, disease, Windsor, assault

078410 Jeanette Bramley(PDF 162KB)



National Health and Hospitals Network Act 2011

Health Insurance Amendment (Compliance) Act 2011

National Health (Listing of Pharmaceutical Benefits) Amendment Instrument 2011 (No. 5)(No. PB 31 of 2011)

National Health Act 1953 - Amendment determination under sections 93and 93AA - pharmaceutical benefits supplied by medical practitioners (PB No. 32of 2011)

Australian Capital Territory

Health Amendment Act 2011No. 11


Health Services Amendment (Health Innovation and Reform Council) Bill 2011


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

"14 April 2011- Commitmenton Youth Mental Health Delivered-The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, has announced a $300,000grant to set up a new headspace youth mental health service in Hobart.

"14 April 2011- MoreSupport and Services for the Kimberley to Tackle Indigenous Suicide-The Australian Government is fast-tracking support and services in the Kimberley region of Western Australia in response to the recent tragic suicides of Indigenous people in the area.

"14 April 2011- TenNew Youth Mental Health Services -Ten new headspace youth mental health services will begin operating by the end of the year, following the announcement of the selection of the lead agencies for operation.

"13 April 2011- 63Extra Health Workers for WA-An extra 63 health workers are being provided to health services across Western Australia to help close the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

"13 April 2011- Developinga Future Vision for Mental Health Research -Australian of the Year 2010 Professor Patrick McGorry AM and Director of the National Institute for Mental Health in the USA Professor Thomas Insel are taking part in a Mental Health Workshop, providing advice and initiatives to help improve Australia's mental health system.

"13 April 2011- MinisterSnowdon holds an information session on low aromatic Opal fuel-The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon MP, and BP held an information session with Aboriginal health professionals from across Western Australia on13 April to raise awareness about the benefits of low aromatic Opal fuel.

"11 April 2011- e-HealthRecords Blueprint released as National Health Reform continues to deliver-A national blueprint for the development of e-health records ready for their 1July 2012 launch, helping Australians to better manage their own health care, has been released today.

"11 April 2011- NationalLive Longer Road show Kicks off to Improve Health of Indigenous Australians-The Minister for Indigenous Health, Warren Snowdon, has launched a new national campaign called Live Longer featuring community events across the country to help extend the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"11 April 2011- PathologyServices to be Better Managed and Funded, Delivering $550 Million Saving to Taxpayer-Anew landmark agreement between the Australian Government and the pathology sector will ensure that patients get access to quality, affordable pathology services and the tax payer, better value for money.

Private Health Insurance Circular - PHI 28/11 - Medicare Levy Surcharge Thresholds for 2011-12

Using the enHealth Environmental Health Officer Skills and Knowledge Matrix

Guidance on use of rainwater tanks

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

NHMRC participant in Women in Engineering and Science Summit yesterday 12April 2011 - NHMRC was a participant in the Women in Engineering and Science Summit at Parliament House, Canberra yesterday. Chief Executive Warwick Anderson participated in the leaders' summit. The NHMRC is concerned that while there are a great number of women at the early stages of their careers, it appears that many leave before they can reach their full potential and certainly before they reach more senior positions. Further information (DOC, 120KB)

Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in HealthCare

Evaluation of the National Clinical Handover Initiative Pilot Program

On the Radar - Issue 36

Australia. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

PCEHR Concept of Operations Consultation - 14 April 2011 - The DraftConcept of Operations - Relating to the introduction of a PCEHR systemprovides details on how the personally controlled electronic health record(PCEHR) system may look, what information it might contain, and how it will function and connect with existing clinical systems. It also covers participation issues, information management, privacy and security, and matters of implementation, evaluation and consultation. The content has been shaped bythe wide range of consultations which the Department and the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) have held with stakeholders ù consumer groups, health professionals, the ICT industry and state and territory governments. The PCEHR consumer booklet, e-health- have your say,is now available which describes key elements of the PCEHR system, and theimpact it will have on health care. You can also find out more about the Concept of Operations process by reading the factsheet. Haveyour say on the Draft Concept of Operations - Relating to the introduction of a PCEHR system via the web submission form on the yourHealthwebsite oremail your submission to, you can send your submission via the postaladdresssupplied. * Feedback on the draft Concept of Operations closes on 31 May2011.

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

"Chocolate bunnies cheer up sick childrenKaty Gallagher, MLA April 13 2011

"Hanson out of touch with primary healthcare needsKaty Gallagher, MLA April 10 2011

SoundDisaster Planning at ACT Health(14 April 2011) - ACT Health has demonstrated its planning to keep the healthcare system running during disasters.

New South Wales. Department of Health

Media releases

" Holiday season health warning to avoid Mosquitoes [14April 2011]


" Organ Donation After Cardiac Death: NSW GuidelinesGL2011_005 14/04/2011

Northern Territory. Treasurer

Media releases

" Delia Lawrie - Banned Drinker Register ID Scanners to Turn Problem Drinkers off Tap -Banned Drinker Register ID scanners will be installed in take-away liquor outlets across the Territory as part of the Enough is Enough Alcohol Reforms to tackle alcohol-related crime and violence.

" Delia Lawrie - Rehabilitating Problem Drinkers Back into Society -Problem drinkers turned off tap and onto the banned drinkers register will be rehabilitated with a comprehensive range of alcohol treatment services funded in Budget 2011.

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

"LHNs announced for South Australia - Wednesday,13 April 2011 - South Australia will have five Local Health Networks (LHNs) to manage public hospital and community health services from 1 July 2011. Read more...

"Quit on Q program on cue for quitters - Sunday, 10 April 2011 -Australia's first comprehensive SMS support program to quit smoking is exceeding expectation in South Australia with almost 1,200 users registering for the Quit on Q program in its first six months. Read more...

"Flinders celebrates 35 years of service -Saturday, 09 April 2011 – It's been 35 years since the Flinders Medical Centre(FMC) opened. Minister for Health John Hill said FMC was the first medical school and teaching hospital in Australia to be planned and built as one institution. Read more...

"Government welcomes country health inquiry - Friday,08 April 2011 - Health Minister John Hill has welcomed an inquiry by the Social Development Committee of Parliament into the current and future delivery of health services in country South Australia. Read more...

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media release

"DonÆt Lose Sight of Your Sight Minister for Health 14April 2011

Be Heard Tasmania - Response

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

" Government tackles challenges facing older Victorians - Thu 14 April 2011 -Health Minister David Davis today highlighted the Coalition's commitment to tackling key issues facing senior Victorians, including health, transport and the rising cost of living. Mr Davis joined National Seniors Australia and St Vincent de Paul to speak at the Croydon Probus Club's Seniors: The Road Ahead Forum.

" New homes for people with a mental illness open in South Yarra - Wed 13 April 2011 -Innovative new housing for people with a severe mental illness was today officially opened by Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge. Ms Wooldridge said the Haven Foundation's 14 one-bedroom apartments in South Yarra would provide people with mental illness access to stable, long-term housing and vital support services.

" Surgical robot cuts hospital stay for Peter Mac cancer patients - Wed 13 April 2011 -New robotic technology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre will reduce the time cancer patients spend in hospital for highly complex keyhole surgeries. Inspecting the surgical robot at Peter Mac today with Health Minister David Davis, Premier Ted Baillieu said Peter Mac was the first public hospital in Victoria to install the state-of-the-art da Vinci robotic surgical system.

New Victorian Hospital Performance Data

Annual Reporting Guidelines - Health Services 2009/10 (PDF file 843KB)

Riskwatch Newsletter Current Issue - Infection Risk in theatre - Case 1 - Incorrect side surgery - Case 2 - Lessons from the trauma case review group - Working with the suicidal patient - Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare - Risk Watch Vol. 9, Issue 2

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

"13 April 2011 - Minister for Health: Funding boost forAboriginal health partnership

"12 April 2011 - Mosquito-borne disease risk intensifies innorthern and central WA

"13 April 2011 Barnett, Hames Fiona Stanley Hospital takes shape

"13 April 2011 Hames Funding boost for Aboriginal health partnership

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Mental health promotion and mental illness prevention: the economic case

Strategic high impact changes – childhood obesity

Transforming Community Services: Demonstrating and Measuring Achievement: Community Indicators for Quality Improvement

The Government's response to there commendations in front line care - the report of the Prime Minister's Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery in England

United States of America. Centres for Disease Control

CDCStudy Finds Suicide Rates Rise and Fall with Economy - The overall suicide rate rises and falls in connection with the economy, according to a Centres for Disease Control and Prevention study released online today by the American Journal of Public Health. (Published: 4/14/2011)

Australian Medical Association

The unique pivotal role of doctors in the Australian health system 14 April 2011 - 9:30am - AMA Position Statement on the Role of the Doctor - The AMA today released a new Position Statement on the Role of the Doctor. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said that at a time of significant health reform that involves moves towards team-based approaches to health care, it is important to set out the unique qualities that make doctors the pivotal players in Australia's health system. Read more

Looking after the health of doctors 13 April 2011 - 11:20am - AMA Position Statement on the Health and Wellbeing of Doctors and Medical Students - The AMA today released a revised Position Statement on the Health and Wellbeing of Doctors and Medical Students. - Read more

e-health blueprint 12 April 2011 - 4:30pm - The AMA welcomes the opportunity to raise concerns and provide input to the way that the proposed personally controlled electronic health record (PCEHR) will operate. AMA Vice President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the draft e-health records blueprint, Concept of Operations,will require careful consideration, particularly in respect to the medical information that will be stored on the PCEHR, and who will have access to it. Read more

British Medical Association

GPC launches its latest survey of opinion - Anin-depth survey to gather the views of the UK's GPs about a number of important contractual issues has been issued by the BMA's General Practitioners Committee(GPC). It follows on from previous similar surveys in 2001 and 2007 to track GP opinion. (Friday 8 April 2011).

GMC fitness plans found wanting - BMA says fitness-to-practise overhaul unlikely to reduce public hearings.

Standards review must address reforms - Doctors says revised version of Good Medical Practice must address issues raised by NHS overhaul.

© DLA Phillips Fox

DLA Phillips Fox is one of the largest legal firms in Australasia and a member of DLA Piper Group, an alliance of independent legal practices. It is a separate and distinct legal entity. For more information visit

This publication is intended as a first point of reference and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to any particular circumstances.

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