Australia: Health Alert - 16 July 2012

Last Updated: 18 July 2012
Article by Michael Regos


Western Australia

LEHESTE -v- THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH [2012] WADC 92 (20 June 2012)

Colleen Leheste (the plaintiff) commenced proceedings against the Minister for Health (defendant) claiming damages for injuries she allegedly suffered after a cannula was inserted into her arm at the Swan Hospital (SHED).

The plaintiff's history included brachial plexopathy which meant that she had pain and tingling in the arms. She claimed this had stopped when she attended SHED in November 2006 with chest pain.

The plaintiff claimed that when the cannula was inserted into her forearm she immediately felt pain in her arm. After being discharged, she noticed that a haematoma had formed in her arm. She met with her general practitioner and a neurologist and complained of ongoing pain in her arm.

The court stated that breach of duty and causation were linked in this case, so factual causation had to be considered first.

The court found that it was most likely Dr Lin Mei who inserted the cannula. Although, there was no written record of the process of the cannula insertion, there was nothing to suggest that Dr Mei, who inserted cannulas on a daily basis, had not followed his normal practice. The plaintiff had not complained of pain at the time the cannula was inserted.

It came out in cross examination that the plaintiff had numbness in her hands a few weeks before attending SHED. The court accepted expert evidence that the plaintiff was probably suffering from inflammatory brachial plexopathy and this was causing her pain.

The defendant was not liable and the plaintiff's claim was dismissed.



Health Insurance Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 2) F2012L01547 " SLI 2012 No. 165 as made

National Health (Subsection 84C(7)) Amendment Determination 2012 (No. 1) (No. PB 57 of 2012) F2012L01544 " PB 57 of 2012 as made

Food Standards (Application A1066 – Food derived from Herbicide-tolerant Corn MON87427) Variation F2012L01536 " as made

Food Standards (Application A1064 – Food derived from Herbicide-tolerant Soybean Line CV127) Variation F2012L01537 " as made

Private Health Insurance (Insurer Obligations) Amendment Rule 2012 (No. 1) F2012L01530 " as made

Private Health Insurance (Incentives) Rules 2012 (No. 2) - F2012L01498 " as made

Health Insurance Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1) - F2012L01477 " SLI 2012 No. 138 as made

Health Insurance (General Medical Services Table) Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 3) - F2012L01479 " SLI 2012 No. 140 as made

National Health (Continued Dispensing) Determination 2012 - F2012L01465 " as made

Therapeutic Goods (Medical Devices) Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 1) - F2012L01464 " SLI 2012 No. 146 as made

Therapeutic Goods (Charges) Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 2) - F2012L01462 " SLI 2012 No. 145 as made


artment of Health & Ageing

Media releases

Australian Taxation Office

Third party procured GST-free health supplies - This measure amended the goods and services tax (GST) law to ensure that certain supplies made to health insurers in the course of settling health insurance claims are GST-free.

GST - free health supplies - overview - An overview of changes to the goods and services tax (GST) law to ensure that certain supplies made by a health care provider are GST-free.

GST and other health services - This fact sheet explains what health services, apart from medical services, are GST-free.

GST and medical services - How GST applies to medical services. For information about how GST applies to other health services, refer to 'GST and other health services' (NAT 4650).

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

Why hasn't the TGA taken Stilnox off the market? - As the medicines' watchdog, the TGA, has been closely monitoring the sleeping drug, zolpidem (Stilnox) for many years

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

National best practice guidelines for Indigenous data linkage activities relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (9 July 2012)

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Disability, Ageing and Carers: Summary of Findings, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0)

Australia. Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

1 July Media Release: Privacy protections now in place for the new eHealth system

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Media releases

Policy directive

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

Victoria. Department of Health

Nursing & Midwifery Policy Communiqué June 2012 (pdf, 78kb)

Key legislative requirements for Nurse Practitioners June 2012 (doc)

Personal Alert Victoria newsletter June 2012

Alcohol and drug treatment system reform - Bulletin, June 2012 (pdf)

Efficient Funding of Chemotherapy - July 2012 (pdf)

Health Data Standards & Systems - Bulletin 175 - 7 June 2012 (PDF file 100KB)

Elective Surgery Information Systems (ESIS) Manual 15th Edition 2012-13 - Added 29 June 2012

Patient Transfer Form Instructions for Use July 2012

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

Operational directives & Information Circulars

  • OD 0382/12- (5 July 2012)- Hospital Fees and Charges 2012-13 - This directive informs all WA public hospitals and health services of the amended schedule of hospital fees and charges 2012-13, as approved by Executive Council and gazetted on Friday, 15 June 2012 and which will be operationally effective from Sunday 1 July 2012.
  • OD 0381/12- (5 July 2012)- -Data Collection Policy - The Data Collection Policy has been developed to support and regulate the establishment of data collections within WA Health byensuring all new data collections are developed with regards to other existing health data collections and strategic initiatives within WA Health.
  • OD 0380/12- (4 July 2012)- Data Quality Policy - The Data Quality Policy outlines the allocation of accountability and responsibility for data quality to WA Health staff. This ensures data within WA Health's data collections are of a high quality to support its intended uses.
  • OD 0379/12- (27 June 2012)- Reciprocal Health Care Agreements – Eligibility to Highly Specialised Drugs Program - This operational directive is to advise hospitals and health services of the additional of a policy section on overseas visitors "Medicare Eligibility to Highly Specialised Drugs Program".

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

Statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the signing of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act - "Today, the President signed into law S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act." This legislation, which passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, will help speed safe and effective medical products to patients and maintain our Nation's role as a leader in biomedical innovation.

Australian Medical Association

Celebrating the work of hardworking local family doctors - 9 July 2012 - Next week is Family Doctor Week, the AMA's annual celebration of the hard work and dedication of the nation's family doctors – the GPs who serve local communities in the cities, the suburbs, rural centres, country towns, and remote areas of Australia. Having a trusted family doctor is good for your health. People who have an ongoing relationship with a family doctor are shown to have better health outcomes. read more

Submission: Australian Curriculum Framework Review - 3 July 2012 - The AMA Council of Doctors in Training submission to the review of the Australian Curriculum Framework (ACF) says that the while the ACF has helped bring structure and consistency to the teaching programs provided to junior medical officers it is yet to establish itself as a practical toolkit that has every day relevance to trainees.Read more here

e-dit: Issue 93 - 2 July 2012

Securing the medical training pipeline - 29 June 2012 - Following the release of the Health Workforce 2025 report, the Federal AMA is advocating strongly for increases in prevocational and vocational training positions to ensure that medical graduates can access training positions and go on to achieve College Fellowships. We are working hard to ensure that the quality of clinical training is maintained to maximise the benefits of the increase in student numbers. We are pushing for new funding arrangements for public hospital services that provide proper funding for teaching, training and research and in turn secure high quality training places for medical graduates. read more

Medicines Australia

Medicines Australia to disclose payments to doctors under new Code of Conduct - 5 July - A new Medicines Australia Code of Conduct will require member companies for the first time to provide public disclosure of aggregate payments to doctors and consumer groups. The new provisions represent a major shift towards greater transparency and follow 18 months of consultation with consumer organisations, academics, peak doctor groups and other stakeholders.

,a href="">Medicines Australia to submit draft Code of Conduct to ACCC - 27 June - Medicines Australia members yesterday voted unanimously to adopt edition 17 of the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. Edition 17 of the Code of Conduct will be submitted to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for authorisation on Wednesday, 4 July.

© 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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