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.
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The DLA Piper Health Team
Georgiou & Ors v Capitol Radiology Pty Ltd & Ors VSC 158
This Victorian Supreme Court decision concerned judicial review of a medical panel determination that four plaintiffs in a related negligence claim did not suffer a significant injury, barring their right to claim damages for non-economic loss. The plaintiffs had previously served certificates establishing significant injury (based on the plaintiffs' alleged psychiatric conditions following the death of a family member following a fall at hospital) on the defendant, who referred the matter to a medical panel. The panel's decision contained a description of the family member's death before discussing each plaintiff's assessment by the two panel assessors.
The plaintiffs sought judicial review of the decision, largely due to the panel's failure to provide sufficient reasoning for ignoring the served certificates and also for its failure to state a calculation of specific impairment.
The court upheld the panel's determination finding that sufficient reasons were given and that the panel was not required to state a calculation of specific impairment. The court also reiterated that a failure to give reasons will not necessarily be grounds for setting aside a decision.
New South Wales. Administrative Decisions Tribunal
This New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal decision resulted in the Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service being ordered to pay compensation totaling $40,000 to an employee who was also a patient for breaches of the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 ('Health Privacy Act') and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 ('Privacy Act ').
The specific breaches related to use of inaccurate medical information. Hospital workers disclosed information gleaned from the employee's patient record, resulting in the cancellation of the employee's access to the hospital, which in turn discouraged him from accessing health services at the hospital.
In ordering the $40,000, the Tribunal noted that but for a legislative provision limiting the amount of damages that could be awarded, exemplary and aggravated damages would have totaled a far greater figure.
New South Wales. Medical Tribunal
15/04/2011: Gorondy-Novak, Kinga Maria
Australia. Department of Health & Ageing
" 29 April 2011 - Hospital Funding Boost Starts to Pay Dividends - The Government's 50 per cent boost to hospital funding in 2008 is starting to pay dividends according to a new report released on 29 April.
" 28 April 2011 - 96 Doctors Start Psychiatry Training Through Record Australian Government Investment - Ministers Roxon and Butler met with the presidents of Australia's medical colleges to discuss the Government's investments in training more specialists and, in particular, the 96 new psychiatrist specialist positions that will see a substantial boost to our mental health workforce.
" 27 April 2011 - Better Access to Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas - People in living in rural and remote communities will benefit from an innovative program that is boosting health and medical services across the nation.
" 21 April 2011 - Australian Government Funds Major Upgrade for Royal Hobart Hospital - The Australian Government today announced a boost to health services in Tasmania by committing $240 million to a major upgrade of the Royal Hobart Hospital.
" 16 April 2011 - More Patients to Benefit From New GP Facilities - Many more patients around Australia can expect a boost in the services provided by their local GP practice thanks to a new round of primary care infrastructure grants.
Private Health Insurance Circular - PHI 29/11 - Private Day Hospital Information
Australian Government response to Review of cardiovascular disease programs - This response highlights commitment to reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease through targeted investment and through broader health reforms.
Australian Institute of Health & Welfare
Australia's hospitals 2009-10 at a glance 29 April 2011
Australian hospital statistics 2009-10 29 April 2011
Dental attendance patterns and oral health status 21 April 2011
Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Health Care
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
AHPRA has launched the first phase of its new look website to improve service to practitioners. - 29/04/2011 | Read More
AHPRA has today released a snapshot profile of Australia's registered health practitioners. - 18/04/2011 | Read More
Australian National Council on Drugs
Australia. Medical Board of Australia
Draft guidelines for medical practitioners and medical students infected with blood borne viruses - Released: 4 April 2011 - Closes: 27 May 2011. Draft Guidelines for Consultation on Blood Borne Viruses (364 KB,PDF) The Medical Board of Australia invites submissions on its draft guidelines "Guidelines for medical practitioners and medical students infected with blood-borne viruses". If you wish to provide comments, please email: email@example.com or post them to Executive Officer, Medical Board of Australia, G.P.O. Box 9958, MELBOURNE VIC 3001 by close of business on Friday, 27 May 2011. Please note that your comments will be published on the Board's website unless you request otherwise.
Draft guidelines: Sexual boundaries: a guide for doctors and patients - Released: 4 April 2011 - Closes: 27 May 2011 Draft Guidelines for Consultation on Sexual Boundaries (358 KB,PDF) - The Medical Board of Australia invites submissions on its draft guidelines "Sexual boundaries: A guide for doctors and patients". If you wish to provide comments, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to Executive Officer, Medical Board of Australia, G.P.O. Box 9958, MELBOURNE VIC 3001 by close of business on Friday, 27 May 2011. Please note that your comments will be published on the Board's website unless you request otherwise.
Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council
Australia. National E Health Transition Authority
Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated) - Saxagliptin Hydrochloride
Advisory Committee on Prescription Medicines (updated ACPM and PSC members & PSC meeting dates)
Biologicals framework (updated level of regulation to be applied to each class)
Australian Public Assessment Report (AusPAR) for prescription medicines (updated) - *Indomethacin *Vinflunine ditartrate
Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health
" Manteena to construct new health centre-Katy Gallagher, MLA-April 28, 2011
" Splash some colour and make a difference-Katy Gallagher, MLA-April 23, 2011
" ACT performing above national benchmark for HPV Immunisation-Katy Gallagher, MLA-April 21, 2011
" Capital Works Program continues record achievement-Katy Gallagher, MLA-April 20, 2011
" Opposition: 2 years too late-Katy Gallagher, MLA-April 19, 2011
" 107 submissions received on Northside hospital plans-Katy Gallagher, MLA-April 18, 2011
" Report shows ACT remains the standout economy-Katy Gallagher, MLA-April 18, 2011
" Assistance for patients with chronic disease only a phone call away-Katy Gallagher, MLA-April 16, 2011
Chronic Disease Telephone Coaching (18 April 2011) - The ACT Health Chronic Disease Telephone Coaching Service is now fully operational and ready to receive referrals.
Gonorrhoea cases increase in ACT (15 April 2011) - ACT Health today reminded Canberrans to be aware of the symptoms of gonorrhoea and ensure they practice safe sex.
New South Wales. Department of Health
" Work to begin on New England North West Cancer Centre site [27 April 2011]
" Party goers warned about mixing alcohol with energy drinks [21 April 2011]
" Manilla MPS HealthOne construction on track [21 April 2011]
" Your Health Rights and Responsibilities-PD2011_022-20/04/2011
" EnableNSW - Assistive Technology for Communication, Mobility, Respiratory Function & Self-Care-PD2011_023-20/04/2011
Northern Territory. Department of Health
" Royal Darwin Hospital's MRI back on-line - 28 April 2011 - The state of the art Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment at Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) is again fully operational, following a huge effort to source replacement parts and repair damage caused when it was accidentally damaged last month.
" Kon Vatskalis - Terry Please Explain Why You Hate Superclinics? - Health Minister Kon Vatskalis has called on Opposition Leader Terry Mills to attend a community meeting on the new northern suburbs Superclinic next week to explain to Territorians why the CLP does not support the GP service.
" Paul Henderson - Record Funding For Royal Darwin Hospital: Budget 2011 - Royal Darwin Hospital will receive a record $315 million in funding this year which will see major upgrades undertaken in one of Australia's busiest hospitals, Chief Minister Paul Henderson said today
Queensland. Department of Health
" 28/04/2011- New ENT telehealth services for South Burnett
South Australia. Department of Health
" Doctors start work at Elizabeth GP Plus health centre - Monday, 18 April 2011 - Health Minister John Hill says GP services are now available at the GP Plus Health Centre Elizabeth. Read more...
" Drink too much, you're asking for trouble - Monday, 18 April 2011 - A new advertising campaign graphically depicting the serious consequences of drinking too much alcohol begins today. Read more...
Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services
" Measles alert | 18 April 2011
" Disability Services Bill 2011 | 15 April 2011
Victoria. Department of Health
" Coalition Govt delivers on commitment to expand Frankston Hospital - Thu 28 April 2011 - The Victorian Coalition Government has committed $36 million towards the redevelopment and expansion of Frankston Hospital. Visiting Frankston Hospital today with Minister for Health David Davis, Premier Ted Baillieu said the Coalition's 2011-12 Budget commitment would provide local families with 64 extra medical and surgical beds and expanded critical care services.
" Casey Hospital leads way with wireless - Thu 21 April 2011 - Casey is the first hospital in Victoria to be 100 per cent wireless capable, Health Minister David Davis announced today. Mr Davis said local wireless area networks (WLAN) were being used to a variable extent in Victorian public hospitals, but Casey Hospital was leading the way.
" Minister opens Melton Dental Health Service - Wed 20 April 2011 - Minister for Health David Davis has officially opened the $4.9 million 12-chair Melton Dental Health Service. Visiting the facility today, Mr Davis said the new services would boost access to vital dental services in Melton and provide training opportunities for dentists.
" New Shepparton medical school to boost local workforce - Tue 19 April 2011 - Health Minister David Davis today officially opened new state-of-the-art medical training facilities in Shepparton and a University of Melbourne GP clinic. Mr Davis opened the GP medical centre at the University of Melbourne Rural Health Academic Centre.
" New ambulance unit hits the road in Shepparton - Tue 19 April 2011 - Health Minister David Davis today launched a new ambulance MICA single responder unit for the Shepparton community. Mr Davis said the new 24- hour MICA single responder unit is part of a Baillieu Government commitment to Victorians in regional areas to have access to MICA services.
" $600,000 boost for Shepparton Oncology Centre - Tue 19 April 2011 - The Baillieu Coalition Government will provide $600,000 towards the state-of-the-art Goulburn Valley Health Oncology facility currently under construction. Health Minister David Davis today inspected building works at the new $1.9 million facility and toured Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton.
27 April 2011- Measles health alert for GPs and Emergency Departments
New Echuca Hospital plans released - 21 April 2011 - Draft plans have been unveiled for a $40 million rebuild of Echuca Regional Health.
World first - Victoria's ambulance helicopters to carry life saving blood - 21 April 2011 - New program allows for blood to be administered by MICA Flight Paramedics on Victoria's ambulance helicopters.
New surgical robot for Peter Mac cancer patients - 15 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.
Innovative new housing for people with a mental illness - 15 April 2011 - New housing for people with a severe mental illness has been opened in South Yarra, Melbourne.
Roads to Rural Practice - On Thursday 12 May 2011 the Department of Health will be hosting the second forum in the 'Roads to Rural Practice' forum series in Bendigo, Victoria. Invitation - Roads to Rural Practice Forum 2011 (PDF File - 585.2 KB) - Program - Roads to Rural Practice Forum 2011 (PDF File - 265.4 KB) The forum will seek to identify opportunities to direct more Victorian medical graduates towards specialist training in rural and regional public hospitals and health services. Anyone with an interest in the future of specialist training in rural Victoria is welcome to attend. Click here to register for the Roads to Rural Practice Forum 2011
Western Australia. Department of Health
" 27 April 2011 - Minister for Health: Big boost to ambulance services following review
" 27 April 2011 - Minister for Health: Paramedics to upgrade regional emergency services
" 20 April 2011 - Algal bloom warning for Hunter River near Bremer Bay
" 18 April 2011 - Symposium to shine the light on rare diseases
United Kingdom. Department of Health
United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services
Interagency working group seeks input on proposed voluntary principles for marketing food to children - In an effort to combat childhood obesity – the most serious health crisis facing today's youth – a working group of four federal agencies today released for public comment a set of proposed voluntary principles that can be used by industry as a guide for marketing food to children.
Australian Medical Association
Coalition mental health policy a sound investment in a vital social service - Thursday, 21 April 2011, 2:07:38 PM - The AMA today welcomed the Coalition's additional mental health policy, and says investment in mental health must remain a high priority in the development of Australia's social services. AMA President, Dr Andrew Pesce, said the Coalition's announcement was a sound investment and would ease the strain on Australia's overburdened mental health services. read more
No to second dose of Pneumovax 23 - Wednesday, 20 April 2011, 1:19:27 PM - The TGA advises health professional not to administer the second dose of Pneumovax 23 vaccine following an apparent increased rate of injection site reactions following the administration of the second dose. read more
Repeated use of pain relief puffer may damage liver - Monday, 18 April 2011, 11:22:23 AM - MJA release - Repeated exposure to a widely-used anaesthetic may cause liver disease, according to a case study published in the Medical Journal of Australia. read more
More support needed to cut HCV toll - Monday, 18 April 2011, 11:19:39 AM - MJA release - Better support for patients with drug and alcohol dependency could help reduce complications from hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection a new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia has found. read more
Call to turn Easter Bunny into a healthy lifestyle pin-up - Monday, 18 April 2011, 11:12:38 AM - MJA release - The Easter bunny should be converted from a symbol of chocolate consumption to a healthy lifestyle advocate, delivering brussels sprouts instead of Easter eggs, according to a humorous article in the Medical Journal of Australia. read more
Several cancers are underrepresented in clinical trials - Monday, 18 April 2011, 11:09:01 AM - MJA release - Several cancers with a high burden of disease are not receiving the clinical trial investment they require, according to a study in the Medical Journal of Australia. read more
New guidelines on managing childhood asthma released - Monday, 18 April 2011, 11:04:46 AM - MJA release - Children aged five and under – particularly those with intermittent viral-induced wheezing – should be treated with oral corticosteroids for asthma only if their wheeze is severe enough to require hospital admission, according to new guidelines. read more
British Medical Association
BMA demands safer Euro work rules - More robust system is needed to protect patients from doctors working across Europe
American Medical Association
Medical Leaders Urge Collection of Demographic Information - AMA Press Release, April 28, 2011 A report shows ambulatory settings need to collect and use demographic information... Read More
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