Australia: Health Alert - 9 July 2012

Last Updated: 13 July 2012
Article by Michael Regos



New South Wales. Medical Tribunal

Philipiah, Leonard (28 June 2012)

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) (complainant) brought two complaints against emergency department practitioner Dr Leonard Philipiah (respondent) before the New South Wales Medical Tribunal.

The first complaint alleged that the respondent had failed to properly diagnose and take an adequate history of four patients; specifically, the respondent's failure to consider in respective patients:

  • Alternative diagnoses in attributing bowel spasms to urinary tract infection
  • Nurse's notes for the existence of a pulmonary embolus
  • Social and psychiatric issues that would affect management of a fractured leg
  • A long history of febrile illness in an immunosuppressed patient.

The Tribunal made a finding of professional misconduct due to the serious clinical errors arising from these failures.

In the second complaint allegations were made that the respondent's bipolar affective disorder detrimentally affected the respondent's capacity to practise medicine. The HCCC opined that the existence of professional misconduct and evidence of an impairment warranted deregistration.

The Tribunal accepted that the respondent's conduct was attributable largely to a personality disorder rather than mental illness and that the respondent had made efforts to increase insight into his condition and competency. The Tribunal concluded that the respondent was competent to practise medicine.

The Tribunal declined deregistration. It suspended the respondent and required that he notify the NSW Medical Council before he wished to resume practise.

Cooke, Carolyn (28 June 2012_

The Health Care Complaints Commission (complainant) alleged that Ms Carolyn Cooke (respondent) was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. The respondent was a medical practitioner but had trained in alternative medicine and held herself out as providing "wholistic medicine".

The first complaint was the respondent's failure to refer Patient A for a mammogram (despite her family history of breast cancer). When a lesion was reported in the ultrasound, the respondent still did not order a mammogram. When Patient A commenced civil proceedings, the respondent altered clinical records and falsely swore an affidavit.

Secondly, the respondent failed on two occasions to perform an abdominal examination on Patient B despite her having symptoms including a hard abdomen and fluid retention. The respondent admitted she often did not physically examine patients who wanted complementary medicine. Patient B had a fibroid encompassing her uterus.

The Tribunal held that the failure to order a biopsy or mammogram was unacceptable. The Tribunal held that a patient complaining of fluid retention required a physical examination as a basic clinical skill. The respondent's interest in alternative medical therapies had obscured and clouded her judgment in these cases. This amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct.

The respondent expressed shame and regret for her unethical conduct. The Tribunal was persuaded she had begun to develop "insight" into how her complimentary medicine had absorbed her interest. She was competent to practice medicine but under supervision after retraining over several years in conventional medicine knowledge and practice.

Tasmania. Health Practitioners Tribunal

The Tasmanian Board of the Medical Board of Australia v Dr Paul McGinity (Ref No. 1-7/2010 & 5/2011) [2012] TASHPT 4 (3 July 2012)



Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records Act 2012 - C2012A00063 " Act No. 63 of 2012 as made

Personally Controlled Electronic Health Records (Consequential Amendments) Act 2012 - C2012A00064 " Act No. 64 of 2012 as made

National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Act 2012 - C2012A00087 " Act No. 87 of 2012 as made

National Health (Indigenous Chronic Disease - PBS Co-payment Measure)) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. 1) (No. PB 43 of 2012) - F2012L01461 " PB 43 of 2012 as made

National Health (Highly specialised drugs program for hospitals) Special Arrangement Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. 5) (No. PB 39 of 2012)

- F2012L01458 " PB 39 of 2012 as made

Therapeutic Goods (Charges) Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1) - F2012L01457 " SLI 2012 No. 144 as made

National Health (Claims and under co-payment data) Amendment Rules 2012 (No. 1) (No. PB 49 of 2012) - F2012L01456 " PB 49 of 2012 as made

Therapeutic Goods Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 2) - F2012L01455 " SLI 2012 No. 143 as made

National Health (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 3) - F2012L01443 " SLI 2012 No. 141 as made

Aged Care (Amount of Flexible Care Subsidy - Extended Aged Care at Home) Determination 2012 (No. 1) - F2012L01424 " as made

Aged Care (Amount of Flexible Care Subsidy - Innovative Care Service - Congress Community Development and Education Unit Ltd) Determination 2012 (No. 1) - F2012L01422 " as made

Aged Care (Amount of Flexible Care Subsidy - Extended Aged Care at Home - Dementia) Determination 2012 (No. 1) - F2012L01420 " as made


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

Private Health Insurance Circulars

28 June 2012 - Aged Care Complaints Scheme - Home and Community Care (HACC) complaints item - The Aged Care Complaints Scheme (Scheme) will be able to examine complaints about Commonwealth-funded HACC services from 1 July 2012. This is part of a broader change, where the Commonwealth will directly fund HACC services for older people in all states and territories, except Western Australia and Victoria. This covers people aged 65 and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 and over. People will continue to be encouraged to speak to their HACC service provider first to resolve any concerns unless a care recipient's health or safety is at risk. Visit the Scheme's website for more details about HACC complaints.

29 June 2012 - Aged Care Subsidies and Supplements - New Increased Rates of Payment from 1 July 2012

From December 2012, the Department of Health and Ageing will introduce its new technology system, Pharmaceutical Consolidated Information System (PharmCIS), which will support the processes associated with the approval and listing of medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). From 1 December 2012, PBS data that is produced by the Department will also include reference to Australian Medicines Terminology (AMT). AMT standardises medicine terminology, uniquely and unambiguously codes and describes all commonly used medicines available in Australia for computers, clinicians and patients. The 1 December 2012 Schedule will be the first produced that will reference AMT descriptors. Further details on the look and feel of the new system will be provided to all stakeholders over the coming months. To facilitate the introduction of the new data management system and the inclusion of AMT in PBS data, the Department will not produce a November 2012 Schedule. This means the 1 October 2012 Schedule will remain current until 30 November 2012. To assist the pharmaceutical industry, in exceptional circumstances the data cut-off date to meet the requirements of a 1 October 2012 listing on the PBS may be extended up to 29 July 2012. Please contact PBS Listing via to discuss any extension required to the 15 July 2012 deadline.

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

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and The Boards

4 July 2012 - The Medical Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. | Read Article

4 July 2012 - The Psychology Board of Australia releases its latest Communiqué. | Read Article

2 July 2012 - Call for Nominations or Expressions of Interest - Northern Territory. | Read Article

1 July 2012 - Four more health professions now regulated nationally. | Read Article

29 June 2012 - Read more about AHPRA's work in health practitioner regulation in the latest AHPRA Report. | Read Article

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

5 July 2012 - TGA presentations given at the ATBF, 29 May 2012 - Added clinical trials presentation.

4 July 2012 - Summary of fees and charges at 1 July 2012 - Summary of TGA fees and charges for the 2012-2013 financial year.

3 July 2012 - Health World Limited (Complaint No. 2010/12/013) - Decision in relation to an advertisement about the product "Urinary Tract Support".

3 July 2012 - Implanting medical devices - Safety information for health professionals about implanting medical devices.

3 July 2012 - PIP breast implants and breast feeding advice from the Chief Medical Officer - Advice from the Chief Medical Officer on PIP silicone breast implants and breast feeding.

3 July 2012 - TGA presentations given at the ARCS Congress, 6-7 June 2012 - Presentations given by the TGA at the ARCS Congress, 6-7 June 2012.

3 July 2012 - TGA prescription medicines SSP newsletter, June 2012 - June 2012 edition of the TGA prescription medicines streamlined submissions process newsletter.

2 July 2012 - RegTech Forum sponsor information & training day, 22 June 2012 - Members of the RegTech Forum conducted a Sponsor Information and Training Day on Friday 22 June 2012.

2 July 2012 - Importing and supplying medical devices - Information for health professionals about importing and supplying medical devices.

2 July 2012 - Custom made medical devices - Information for sponsors, health professionals and manufacturers about custom made devices.

2 July 2012 - Revised TGA fees & charges, 2012-2013 - The Executive Council approved a 5.6% increase to all TGA fees and charges taking effect from 1 July 2012.

Australia. Parliament. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing

Discussion paper

4 July 2012 - Roundtable on Late Effects of Polio/Post-Polio Syndrome

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

5 July 2012 - The mental health of prison entrants in Australia: 2010 - media release

5 July 2012 - Surgery in Australian hospitals 2010–11 - media release

4 July 2012 - Specialist Homelessness Services Collection: December quarter 2011 - media release

3 July 2012 - Perinatal depression: data from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey - media release

Australia. Private Health Insurance Administration Council

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

CEO Research Newsletter - Winter 2012

Research Tracker - 29 June 2012

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Media releases

Information Bulletins

Policy directives and guidelines

New South Wales. Health Care Complaints Commission

4 July 2012 - UPDATED NEWS STORY Court confirms that complaints made "in good faith" are protected against claims of defamation

New South Wales. Health Statistics

4 July 2012 - Aboriginal population by Local Health District

4 July 2012 - Self-rated health status by sex

2 July 2012 - Obesity

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

Queensland. Health Quality and Complaints Commission

Checking the pulse: Perceptions and experiences of healthcare in Queensland

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

Tasmania. Department of Health and Human Services

DHHS Progress Chart - June 2012

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

New regulatory scheme - The new SRS regulatory scheme commenced 1 July 2012. While the role and responsibilities of proprietors remain largely unchanged, there are a number of new requirements that are immediately applicable on 1 July 2012. It is therefore imperative that all proprietors have implemented the changes that need to be made to their business practices in order to comply with the new regulatory scheme.

Operating an SRS. A guide for proprietors has been developed by the department to help proprietors to understand their responsibilities under the Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010 (Vic) and the Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Regulations 2012. It replaces Meeting the need: a guide to providing quality care in supported residential services published in 2007. The guide, including without limitation any attachments, does not constitute and is not to be construed or relied upon as the provision of legal advice. Persons using the guide are advised by the department to seek appropriate legal and professional advice. To assist proprietors prepare for the new scheme, two rounds of scheduled workshops were delivered across the State between March - May 2012. Different information was covered in each round of the workshops. Clarification of key questions arising from these workshops is now available to download. A number of template forms have also been developed to assist you to be compliant with the new scheme. They are NOT mandatory forms: they contain the minimum requirements only under the SRS regulations. You are encouraged to add to them so that they meet your operational needs.

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

WA Health Operational Plan

Chief Psychiatrist's examination of the clinical care of four cases at Fremantle Hospital

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

1 July 2012 - Long-term Residential Care for Older People: What you need to know: 2012 - This booklet explains both the needs assessment process for aged residential care and the financial means assessment for eligibility for the Residential Care Subsidy.

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Consultation on new care objectives for improving health and healthcare - New objectives for the improvement of health and healthcare have been set out for public consultation.

5 July 2012 - Patients and staff asked to name their NHS heroes - A new recognition scheme for all National Health Service (NHS) staff has been launched as ministers mark the 64th anniversary of the NHS.

4 July 2012 - Health Secretary's annual report on the NHS and public health published - The Secretary of State's annual report has been published today, a year earlier than is required by law.

4 July 2012 - Paul Burstow calls for improvement in the early diagnosis rates of dementia - An audio clip of Paul Burstow talking about the importance of early diagnosis of dementia is now available at the end of this post.

3 July 2012 - Bereavement survey published - The Office for National Statistics has published the results of the first national survey of bereaved people.

29 June 2012 - Responsibility Deal partners publish first annual updates - The first annual updates from Public Health Responsibility Deal partners, who signed up at the launch of the Deal in March last year, have been published.

Canada. Health Canada

29 June 2012 - Harper Government Working with Ontario First Nations to Address Prescription Drug Abuse

United States of America. Department of Health and Human Services

HHS grants bolster health care and public health disaster preparedness - The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded more than US$971 million to continue improving preparedness and health outcomes for a wide range of public health threats within every state, eight US territories, and four of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.

Obama administration and states move forward to implement health care law - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today a new funding opportunity to help states continue their work to implement the health care law -- the Affordable Care Act. When the law is fully implemented in 2014, the affordable insurance exchanges will provide people and small businesses with one-stop shops to find, compare and purchase affordable, high-quality health insurance.

British Medical Association (BMA)

Canadian Medical Association (CMA)

29 June 2012 - MDs' advocacy role beefed up in new CMA policy

© 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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