Australia: Health Alert - 4 June 2012

Last Updated: 7 June 2012
Article by Andrew Forbes


Australia. Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia

Dunsdon and Australian Community Pharmacy Authority and Anor [2012] AATA 307 (22 May 2012)

The Australian Community Pharmacy Authority (respondent) refused an application by Mark Dunsdon (applicant) to operate a pharmacy at Kyogle in northern New South Wales. The applicant appealed to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Warwick Prentice and Chris Bonner were joined as parties as they operated an existing pharmacy in Kyogle.

One condition, under the National Health (Australian Community Pharmacy Authority Rules) Determination 2006 (the Rules), was that the proposed premises have a catchment area with a resident population of at least 8,000 people for most of the year. This was the issue in the application. The Rules did not define the term "catchment area". Re Tascone and Australian Community Pharmacy Authority [2011] AATA 724 held that it was "the area encompassing those people who would be expected to make use of [the proposed premises] if they were approved under the Act".

The 2006 census showed there were 9,256 people in Kyogle. However, evidence was brought by the respondent that population growth had changed since the census. The Deputy President P E Hack SC held that all experts concentrated on the question of the number or percentage of potential shoppers that might come from a particular area rather than whether the hypothetical shopper within that area would regard the proposed pharmacy as a reasonable practical option.

The census collection districts were considered individually with population projections from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The Tribunal was not satisfied that the population of the catchment area would have 8,000 residents.

Victoria. Supreme Court of Victoria.

Noone, Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria v Operation Smile (Australia) Inc & Ors [2012] VSCA 191 (11 May 2012)

The Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria (appellant) appealed to the Court of Appeal against a decision that Operation Smile (collectively four respondents) had not engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct within the meaning of section 9 of the Fair Trading Act 1999 (Cth) (Act).

Operation Smile's website claimed to be "complementary and alternative cancer therapies integrated with western medicine" and made 34 statements that were the subject of alleged misleading and deceptive conduct. Some statements included:

  • "Your good health is assured through integrated complementary and conventional medicine to treat the body as a whole".
  • "We offer what we believe is a more balanced and effective approach".
  • "We provide a unique diagnostic process that can better assess the patient's cancer".

The court held that the question was not about the "correct or likely construction" of the statement, but whether there was a "real or remote possibility" of it misleading people. It found that all 34 statements were misleading or deceptive or likely to mislead or deceive. Some of the court's reasons included:

  • There was a wide range of readers and comments that therapies were "peer reviewed" could mislead people into thinking they were peer reviewed in the conventional medicine sense.
  • Terms such as "we believe" or "our philosophy" will be interpreted as statements of fact if that is how they are communicated.
  • There had to be reasonable grounds if opinions were provided. There were no reasonable grounds in this case.

Therefore the appeal was allowed.

Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal

Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia v Buckland (Occupational and Business Regulation) [2012] VCAT 631 (15 May 2012)

Statement of Agreed Facts - Joint Submission as to Findings and Determination - Health Professions Registration Act 2005 (Vic) - s77(1)(a) - s77(4)

New South Wales. Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal

Hanson v Nursing and Midwifery Council of New South Wales [2012] NSWNMT 3 (22 May 2012)

Appeal against imposition of conditions on registration by a Performance Review Panel – nature of rehearing - orders by consent – appeal dismissed, no order as to costs, notations to order



National Health (Highly specialised drugs program for hospitals) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. 4) (No. PB 35 of 2012) - F2012L01122 " PB 35 of 2012 as made

National Health (Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. 4) (No. PB 36 of 2012) - F2012L01118 " PB 36 of 2012 as made

National Health (Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Program) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. PB 42 of 2012) - F2012L01116 " PB 42 of 2012 as made


Health Professions Registration (Repeal) Act 2012 No. 27 - assented to on 29 May 2012


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

1 June 2012 - PBS Website Update - The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits was updated on 1 June 2012 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 June 2012.

The following updates have also been made to the PBS Website:

Private Health Insurance Circulars

Aged care - 28 May 2012 - Changes to basic daily fees for Residential Aged Care

Australia. Medical Board of Australia

29 May 2012 - The Medical Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. | Read Article

Australia. Psychology Board of Australia

1 June 2012 - Revised registration standards for psychologists. | Read Article

Australia. Chinese Medicine Board of Australia

25 May 2012 - The Board has released the presentation used in its information forums conducted in February and March 2012. | Read Article

Australia. Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia

29 May 2012 - Qualifications: The Board has updated the Approved and Equivalent Qualification Lists. | Read Article

Australia. Occupational Therapy Board of Australia

25 May 2012 - The Occupational Therapy Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. | Read Article

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

25 May 2012 - Hospitalisations due to falls in older people, Australia 2007-08 - Hospitalisations due to falls in older people, Australia 2006-07 - media release

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

31 May 2012 - CEO Congratulates Recipients of Thomson Reuters Australian Citation and Innovation Award

30 May 2012 - Government funds world-first research into multiple sclerosis

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

1 June 2012 - Medicines Safety Update, Volume 3, Number 3, June 2012 - June 2012 issue of Medicines Safety Update.

31 May 2012 - TGA regulatory framework - The TGA takes a risk-based approach to regulation.

30 May 2012 - Orphan drugs - Added dexpramipexole to the list of designated orphan drugs.

30 May 2012 - Reasons for scheduling delegates' final decisions, May 2012 - Reasons for decisions by the Delegate of the Secretary to the Department of Health and Ageing for amendments to the Poisons Standard.

30 May 2012 - Public submissions on scheduling matters referred to ACCS#4 and ACMS#5 (February 2012) - Additional submissions on scheduling matters for ACCS and ACMS February 2012 meetings.

29 May 2012 - Advertising regulatory framework - options for reform - The TGA advises that the release of the report is a recommendation of "TGA reforms: A blueprint for TGA's future".

28 May 2012 - Preventing accidental disconnections of lines connecting patients to medical devices - The TGA has received reports of haemodialysis catheters becoming dislodged at the Luer lock connection point.

Australia. Austroads

Assessing Fitness to Drive for Commercial and Private Vehicle drivers - medical standards for licensing and clinical management guidelines

The National Transport Commission has released these guidelines to assist health practitioners to assess whether their patients are fit to drive, promote the responsible behaviour of their patients regarding medical fitness and conduct medical exams for the licensing of drivers, amongst other things. The publication is also a guide for licensing authorities with respect to licensing decisions.

The publication provides guidelines on driver capability, differentiates between national minimum standards for drivers of commercial and private vehicles, and outlines the obligations of health professionals, driver licensing authorities and drivers. The guidelines are broken up into topics on health care professionals' roles and responsibilities, drivers and licensing authorities, licensing and medical fitness to drive, general considerations for assessing fitness to drive, and the assessment and reporting process. The publication provides medical standards for specific medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and vision disorders.

The publication replaces all previous publications regarding medical standards for private and commercial vehicle drivers.

This publication may have been initiated to assist in fulfilling the Coroner's recommendations in the Inquest of Scott Peoples. Scott Peoples was killed after his bicycle was hit by a car. The driver was suffering from a diagnosed medical condition known as hemianopia and had lost half of his peripheral vision. The Coroner made eight recommendations, three of which included that Vic Roads conduct more research into the link between impaired drivers and collisions in the context of mandatory and nonmandatory reporting systems, that it be mandatory for medical practitioners to report patients whom they know are unfit to drive and that there be safety awareness campaigns for medically trained impaired drivers and for cyclists and motorists.

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

30 May 2012 - Busy ACT Emergency Departments - ACT Emergency Departments are currently experiencing high demand. For after hours or other options.

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Media releases

Policy directives

Information bulletins

New South Wales. Health Statistics New South Wales

Prematurity by mother's age

Queensland. Department of Health

Ministerial Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS being established

Emergency Department Patient Experience 2011 Survey results are now available for participating hospitals

Queensland. Health Quality and Complaints Commission

Annual Health Check 2011 released

South Australia. Department of Health

State Budget 2012-13

Victoria. Department of Health

1 June 2012 - Box Hill Hospital redevelopment reaches a major milestone - The new clinical services block, the cornerstone of the $447.5 million redevelopment of Box Hill Hospital, will soon start rising from the ground and is on track to be completed in 2015.

31 May 2012 - New Bendigo Hospital tender phase well underway - Health Minister David Davis announced the next step in the process for delivering the new Bendigo Hospital public-private partnership today.

29 May 2012 - Landmark plan to improve Aboriginal health launched - The Victorian Government has released Victoria's first ever long-term plan to tackle inequalities in Aboriginal health.

25 May 2012 - Video feature: Temporary Urgent Care Centre in Numurkah - Jacque Phillips, CEO of Numurkah District Health Service, talks about the impact of the recent floods on the health service and the local community, and the installation of a Temporary Urgent Care Centre.

Agency Information System

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

30 May 2012 - Communicable Disease Control Manual 2012 - Communicable Disease Control Manual seeks to inform and assist those at the frontline of public health action, namely the medical officers of health, health protection officers and staff at public health units. The primary purpose of the manual is to describe the standard practice that public health services would normally follow in regard to the prevention and control of notifiable diseases - Read More

United Kingdom. Department of Health

"Friends and family" test aims to improve patient care and identify best performing hospitals - A National Health Service (NHS) "friends and family" test to improve patient care and identify the best performing hospitals in England has been announced by Prime Minister David Cameron. Read more ? "Friends and family" test aims to improve patient care and identify best performing hospitals

Paul Burstow announces £60 million of funding for hospices - Care Services Minister Paul Burstow has announced that hospices are to benefit from up to £60 million of funding. Read more ? Paul Burstow announces £60 million of funding for hospices

Homeless Link and St Mungo's publish report on hospitals and the homeless - Homeless Link and St Mungo's have published a report, commissioned by the Department of Health, on how homeless people are treated by hospitals. Read more ? Homeless Link and St Mungo's publish report on hospitals and the homeless

Nursing and Care Quality Forum make recommendations to Prime Minister - The Nursing and Care Quality Forum's initial recommendations to the Prime Minister have been published today. Read more ? Nursing and Care Quality Forum make recommendations to Prime Minister

PM meets with dementia friendly communities champion group - Prime Minister David Cameron has met with the dementia-friendly communities champion group in London. Read more ? PM meets with dementia friendly communities champion group

Canada. Health Canada

31 May 2012 - Fewer Young People Smoking, Drinking and Using Drugs - New survey reveals encouraging trend

British Medical Association (BMA)

30 May 2012 - Results of BMA ballot on industrial action over changes to the NHS pension scheme – BMA Council's decision on next steps to follow - The BMA has today published the results of its ballots of members on industrial action over changes to the NHS pension scheme. It has also sent them directly to all relevant members and employers.

30 May 2012 - Doctors to take industrial action for first time in almost 40 years - Doctors will take industrial action for the first time in almost 40 years over major changes to the NHS pension scheme, the BMA confirmed today. The first day of action will take place on 21 June 2012 and will see doctors providing all urgent and emergency care, but postponing non-urgent cases.

© 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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