Australia: Health Alert : 21 November 2011

Last Updated: 21 November 2011
Article by Michael Regos


New South Wales. Nursing & Midwifery Tribunal

HCCC v GUO [2011] NSWNMT 29 (15 November 2011)

This Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal decision concerned an inquiry into a complaint against a nurse by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC).

The complaint was comprised of two allegations, the first of which was that the nurse was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct in that she had demonstrated that her knowledge, skill or judgement, or care exercised by her, in the practice of nursing was significantly below the standard reasonably expected of a nurse of an equivalent level of training or experience.

The second complaint was that the nurse was not competent to practise nursing as she did not have sufficient mental capacity, knowledge and skill and/or sufficient communication skills for the practice of nursing, including an adequate command of the English language.

As the nurse had admitted to these complaints, the HCCC did not have to prove its case. However, the Tribunal was still required to familiarise itself with the evidence to be satisfied that the admissions were appropriate.

Ultimately the Tribunal found that the complaints were proved and cancelled the nurse's registration. The Tribunal also made an order that at least one year pass from the date of the order before the nurse be permitted to apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal of New South Wales to be registered as a nurse.

Victoria. Coroners Court

421708 Andrew Westley (PDF 791KB)

This Coroners Court of Victoria case concerned an investigation into the death of a 56 year old man from Adelaide after his family made a complaint to the Health Service Commissioner about his care at the Alfred Hospital in relation to a heart transplant procedure.

The deceased was an ex-smoker and had a past medical history which included coronary artery surgery and radiotherapy for Hodgkins lymphoma. In January 2008 the deceased was admitted on the Alfred Hospital's cardiac transplant list after developing dilated cardiomyopathy.

A donor heart was sourced from far North Queensland on 9 June 2008 and a decision was made to accept the organ for transplant. Surgery did not commence until 11.34am on 10 June after the deceased's flight was delayed. During the surgery, the deceased's heart had severe adhesions as a result of his previous surgery and radiotherapy.

Following surgery, the deceased remained in ICU for 30 days and developed a range of complications, including becoming septic and developing gastrointestinal bleeding. His condition continued to deteriorate and following a discussion with the family he was palliated and passed away on 10 July 2008.

The Coroner found that the deceased's transplant procedure was highly complex and referred to "the cascade of uncontrolled circumstances" which led to an unsuccessful outcome. Further, the Coroner was satisfied that the decision to proceed with the transplant was reasonable and appropriate and based on clinical factors, irrespective of the fact that the donor heart was from a "good but not optimal" donor.


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

Review of Australia's Health Sector Response to Pandemic (H1N1) 2009: Lessons Identified

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Allergic rhinitis ("hay fever") in Australia - media release (17 Nov 2011)

Australia. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Revised Arrangements for the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Drugs & Streamlined Authority Data Capture.

Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency & the boards

Health practitioners urged to renew registration online, on time - 14/11/2011 | Read Article

The Chiropractic Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. - 03/11/2011 | Read Article

The Dental Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. - 10/11/2011 | Read Article

The Medical Board Releases its 2011 Financial Overview - 02/11/2011 | Read Article

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué - 16/11/2011 | Read Article

Information for enrolled nurses who qualify for registration as a registered nurse - 14/11/2011 | Read Article

Nurses and midwives in Western Australia with registration due to expire 31 December 2011 are urged to renew. - 09/11/2011 | Read Article

Optometrists whose registration expires on 30 November are urged to renew online and on time. 11/11/2011 | Read Article

The Optometry Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. - 03/11/2011 | Read Article

The Osteopathy Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. - 03/11/2011 | Read Article

The Pharmacy Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. - 04/11/2011 | Read Article

The Podiatry Board of Australia releases its first Newsletter. - 03/11/2011 | Read Article

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

18 November 2011 - Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines (ACSOM) - Updated membership information & added 2012 meeting dates

17 November 2011 - Compositional guidelines - Added alpha-casozepine enriched hydrolysed milk protein, DHA-rich oil derived from microalgae Schizochytrium sp., Steviol glycosides & Zeaxanthin

11 November 2011 - Australian Public Assessment Reports for prescription medicines (AusPARs) - Added Naproxen/Esomeprazole & Ranibizumab

Australia. Private Health Insurance Administration Council

Quarterly Statistics September 2011

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

Canberra Hospital Pedestrian Access (16 November 2011) - Changes to Canberra Hospital pedestrian access pave the way for new cancer centre.

New South Wales. Department of Health

Media releases

Policy directive

Information bulletins

Northern Territory. Department of Health

Media release

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

Directive - Elective surgery policy framework and associated procedural

Directive - Incident management policy

Guideline - Incident management guideline incorporating open disclosure response

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Media releases

Victoria. Department of Health

Victoria's exceptional public healthcare leaders honoured - 18 November 2011 - The leadership and innovation of outstanding Victorian public health service providers has been recognised at the 2011 Victorian Public Healthcare Awards.

Victoria's rural and regional doctors recognised - 16 November 2011 - Fifty four of Victoria's top rural and regional doctors have been recognised at a ceremony in Melbourne at the 2011 Victorian Rural Doctors' Awards.

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

WA Health Performance Report – July to September 2011 Quarter (PDF 527KB)

United Kingdom. Department of Health

NHS referral to treatment waiting times statistics – September 2011 - The September 2011 data on NHS referral to treatment waiting times (RTT) was published by the Department today. This provides information provided by primary care trusts, strategic health authorities and ... Read more

Dementia awareness campaign - In his latest video blog, Alistair Burns – National Clinical Director for Dementia talks about the role the dementia awareness campaign is playing in helping people spot the early signs ... Read more

Designers try to reduce violence in A&E - Designers are working with the Department of Health to try to help reduce violence and aggression towards A&E staff. Designers and psychologists have helped identify the reasons patients might become ... Read more

UK one of best prepared for pandemic - The UK Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Strategy 2011, which aims to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the best-prepared countries in the world, was published today. The updated ... Read more

Creating a fairer care system - In his latest video blog, Alex Fox, CEO of NAAPS talks about creating a care system in which people have the right and responsibility to develop a better life now... Read more

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

November 17, 2011 - Over 100,000 primary care providers sign up to adopt electronic health records through their regional extension centers - The HHS Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced today that more than 100,000 primary care providers are adopting certified Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to help improve their quality of care and ultimately lower health care costs.

November 14, 2011 - We can't wait: Health Care Innovation Challenge will improve care, save money, focus on health care jobs - Up to $1 billion dollars will be awarded to innovative projects across the country that test creative ways to deliver high quality medical care and save money. Launched today by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will also give preference to projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy health care workers.

Australian Medical Association

read more

Submission: Draft RACGP Vocational Training Standards - Yesterday, 17 November 2011, - Did you know that the RACGP Vocational Training Standards are changing? The new draft standards involve significant change and a move to an outcomes based approach. Supervisors and doctors-in-training have expressed concern about some elements of the draft standards. Find out what the changes to the Vocational Training Standards could mean for you by reading our submission. read more - AMA+submission+on+Draft+RACGP+Vocational+Training+Standards.pdf

American Medical Association

AMA adopts new policies during final day of semi-annual meeting - Nov. 15, 2011 - AMA Press Release - The AMA voted today during the closing session of its semi-annual policy-making meeting to adopt the following new policies...

AMA Adopts new policy to combat national drug shortages - Nov. 14, 2011 - AMA Press Release - The AMA today adopted policy to combat national drug shortages that threaten patient care and safety.

AMA supports allowing research on organ transplantation between HIV-infected individuals - Nov. 14, 2011 - AMA Press Release - The AMA voted to support amending a federal law that bars clinical research of HIV-infected organ donation.

AMA announces 2011 App Challenge Winners - Nov. 11, 2011 - AMA Press Release - Out of the hundreds of ideas submitted, two were selected by AMA members as the next great medical app ideas.

British Medical Association

Correction to BMA briefing paper: Smoking in vehicles – press release issued on Tuesday 15 November 2011 (publication date – 16 November 2011) (Thu 17 Nov 2011)

BMA calls for smoking ban to include private motor vehicles - A review of compelling scientific evidence supporting a ban on smoking in motor vehicles is published today (Wednesday 16 November) in a new briefing paper from the BMA. (Wed 16 Nov 2011)

BMA prepares for Day of Action on pensions - The BMA is providing new campaign resources for doctors who want to show their support for the 30 November Day of Action on public sector pensions. (Mon 7 Nov 2011)

Medical students from low income families facing £13,000 more debt, warns BMA - Medical students from low income backgrounds are graduating over £13,000 more in debt than their better off peers, says a new report from the BMA today (Wednesday, 2nd November 2011). The results from the survey also indicate that the number of students from the lowest income brackets in medical school has declined in the past 12 months. (Wed 2 Nov 2011)

Doctors go on camera with fears for patient care - BMA highlights doctors' concerns about NHS reforms

Canadian Medical Association

11/17/2011 - Number of physician assistants set for "dramatic growth," report predicts

11/14/2011 - Move to develop national CPG strategy gathering steam

11/07/2011 - Meeting tackles taboos, stigmas surrounding physician health issues

11/01/2011 - Survey points to impact new MDs will have on medical practices

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This publication is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. It is not intended to be, and should not used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. DLA Piper Australia will accept no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this publication.

DLA Piper Australia is part of DLA Piper, a global law firm, operating through various separate and distinct legal entities. For further information, please refer to

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