Australia: Health Alert - 2 April 2012: policy, case law & legislation updates affecting the health sector

Last Updated: 7 April 2012
Article by Mark Williams


Australia. Family Court

Talbot & Norman [2012] FamCA 96 (24 February 2012)

Mr Talbot (applicant) sought an injunction against Ms Norman (respondent) to stop her from aborting their unborn child. The applicant also sought residency and responsibility of the child at birth amongst other orders. The respondent was a child herself and the parties were not married.

The respondent indicated that she did not intend to terminate the pregnancy. Therefore, the court held that there was no factual foundation for the injunction application and it ought to be dismissed.

The court still considered the question of whether it had jurisdiction to make the orders sought. The court stated that it had power to make orders with respect to ex-nuptial children pursuant to Part VII of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (Act). This included the power to grant injunctions for the welfare of a child under section 68B of the Act.

The court cited Paton v The British Pregnancy Advisory Service [1979] 1 QB 276 where it was held that there is no common law right to force the mother of one's child to carry it to term. The court also cited In The Marriage of F [1989] FLC 92-031, where the court held that the word "child" in the Act meant a child once born.

Therefore in the current case the court held that it did not have jurisdiction to consider the injunction applied for. As a result, it could not consider the other requests including residency and responsibility of the child.

New South Wales. Nursing & Midwifery Tribunal

Health Care Complaints Commission v Williamson [2011] NSWNMT 1 (28 March 2012)

Medicine - Nurses - Nurses and Midwives Tribunal - Professional misconduct -Impairment - Disqualification - Costs.

New South Wales. Nursing & Midwifery Professional Standards Committee

Health Care Complaints Commission v Molony [2012] NSWNMPSC 1 (23 March 2012)

The NSW Health Care Complainants Commission (complainant) commenced an inquiry against Karen Molony (respondent), a nurse, for unsatisfactory professional conduct.

The case involved a patient's attendance for leg pain at the Maclean District Hospital. The respondent believed that the patient's injury was musculoskeletal and discharged him after making observations and giving him Panadeine Forte. No medical officer was at the hospital and a doctor was only called after the patient was discharged. The patient was diabetic and a few days later his lower leg was amputated due to blood clots.

The Professional Standards Committee stated that under section 139B(1)(a) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) No 86a, "unsatisfactory professional conduct" meant "conduct significantly below the standard reasonably expected of a practitioner of an equivalent level of training or experience".

The Committee received a statement from an experienced peer reviewer. It agreed with the reviewer's findings that the respondent had fallen below the required standard in failing to take neurovascular observations, failing to create an adequate record of the consultation and in dispensing medication without a doctor's order.

The Committee found that the respondent did not significantly fall below the standard when she failed to take the patient's vital signs, failed to observe the patient thoroughly after providing Panadeine Forte and failed to call a doctor because she thought the injury was musculoskeletal.

There were sufficient grounds to find the respondent guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct. She was reprimanded and ordered to complete courses that would improve her standard.

Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal

Medical Radiation Technologists Board of Queensland v Sanderson [2012] QCAT 107 (13 March 2012)

Health Practitioner - Ground for Disciplinary Action - where the registrant could not be located during a shift - where the registrant was intoxicated while on shift - where the registrant did not cause harm to a patient or colleague - where conduct constituted unsatisfactory professional conduct.




Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

  • 28 March 2012 - International Experts Complement Australia's Organ and Tissue Donation Reform - Visiting Australia for the 2012 Annual DonateLife Network Forum, Dr Laura Siminoff from the US and Associate Professor Marti Manyalich from Spain have joined delegates to share their experience of organ and tissue donation reform in their home countries and explore opportunities to further Australia's.
  • 26 March 2012 - Food and Health Dialogue Communique - The Federal Government's Food and Health Dialogue is continuing its role as a key plank in the Government's effort to reduce salt intake across the population.
  • 25 March 2012 - Reduce Salt for Better Health - Countries around the world are joining forces to highlight the role too much salt plays in the development of many diet-related diseases.

Private Health Insurance Circulars

20 March 2012 - Information Sheets - Quality Care for Older Australians - Information Sheets concerning Residential Aged Care, Veterans and War Widow(er)s, Home and Community Care and the GST.

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

30 March 2012 - Call for nominations or expressions of interest for board members in the Australian Capital Territory. | Read Article

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

Australia. Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

30 March 2012 - 2011 State of the Health Funds Report - The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman 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. ...

Australia. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

29 March 2012 - Revised Arrangements for the Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy Drugs - Full implementation from 1 April 2012 - A factsheet on the full implementation from 1 April 2012: key issues for public hospitals - prescribers and pharmacists is now available.

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Media releases

Information bulletins

Policy directive

Northern Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

The Chronicle (Chronic Diseases Network) 2012

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Victoria. Department of Health

Hospital circulars

Western Australia. Department of Health

United Kingdom. Department of Health

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

Australian Medical Association

  • 30 March 2012 - Australian Medical Association (AMA) takes strong stance on non-medical prescribing - In response to a growing trend to grant prescribing rights to more non-medical health professionals, the AMA has adopted a formal position rejecting all forms of non-medical practitioner prescribing, with the exception of dentists.
  • 28 March 2012 - Family Doctor Week 2012 - Family Doctor Week highlights the role played by General Practitioners (GPs), also known as family doctors, in delivering high-quality health care in local communities all around Australia. This year, Family Doctor Week runs from Monday 16 July to Sunday 22 July. The AMA President's annual address to the National Press Club coincides with Family Doctor Week, and is scheduled for Wednesday 18 July 2012.This year's theme is "For A Lifetime of Trusted Care". The theme encapsulates family doctors' ability to provide skilled care for patients at every phase of life. Family Doctor Week aims to highlight the vital role played by local family doctors in delivering high-quality health care and in keeping Australians healthy. It is also an important reminder to the community of the importance of having a family doctor.
  • 28 March 2012 - Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCEHR) and the Medical Benefits Scheme - more work for and no reward for GPs - AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said today that the Health Minister's announcement about Medicare rebates for preparing shared health summaries for the PCEHR raises more questions than answers. Dr Hambleton said it is still unclear whether Medicare rebates will be available for this new clinical service that GPs are being asked to provide for their patients.
  • 27 March 2012 - Take care with medicines - In support of NPS Be Medicinewise Week 2012, the AMA is urging all Australians who are taking medicines, be they prescription or over the counter, to take the time to learn about their medications and to use them safely according to the prescription or the instructions. AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton said today that people should carefully follow the medicines advice provided by their family GP and to always consult their GP with any doubts or questions about their medication.

© DLA Piper

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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