Australia: Health Alert - 22 October 2012

Last Updated: 27 October 2012
Article by Mark Williams


New South Wales. Supreme Court - Court of Appeal

Reimers v Health Care Complaints Commission [2012] NSWCA 317 (25 September 2012)

The applicant filed a summons seeking relief from an order made in 2003 that led to his deregistration as a medical practitioner. The Commission (the respondent) filed a notice of motion seeking dismissal of the summons.

In 2003 the Medical Tribunal heard 12 complaints lodged by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) against the applicant. The applicant was found guilty of professional misconduct and the Tribunal ordered that his name be removed from the Register of Medical Practitioners.

The original complaints related to the applicant's addiction to narcotics and the problems they caused him in his professional life. In the current matter, the applicant submitted that there had been an error of law in finding that his conduct was due to a physical or mental disorder and, at the same time, that it was not due to a physical or mental disorder. The court found that there was no substance in the assertion by the applicant that the Tribunal's decisions were manifestly unreasonable.

The court found that there were two reasons that favoured a discretionary refusal of relief. The first being the "extraordinary" lapse of time, eight years, which had not been explained, and the second being the possible outcomes if the applicant were to succeed. The respondent submitted that there would be significant prejudice if the matter were to be remitted for a rehearing.

The court made orders dismissing the summons and the applicant was to pay the respondent's costs. The respondent's motion was dismissed with no order as to costs.

New South Wales. Administrative Decisions Tribunal

AFC v The Sydney Children's Hospital Specialty Network (Randwick and Westmead) [2012] NSWADT 189 (18 September 2012)

The applicant requested a review of conduct by The Children's Hospital at Westmead (now The Sydney Children's Hospital Specialty Network (Randwick and Westmead)) (the Agency).

The applicant applied to the Agency in March 2011 for an internal review of conduct under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) (the PPIP Act) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) (the HRIP Act).

The applicant's complaint concerned conduct during his son's stay at Westmead Hospital in that the nurses and other staff made observations and notes about him in his child's medical notes. The Agency completed an internal review in July 2011 and found that information about the applicant contained in his son's medical records was collected in the context of his son's health information, not the applicant's personal information. The Agency decided that their disclosure of the applicant's information contained in his son's records was appropriate and there was no breach of the PPIP Act.

The applicant then sought external review by the Tribunal. The Tribunal considered whether the applicant's personal information was lawfully used and if notes in his son's medical records were his personal information, or his son's medical information.

The Tribunal found that there had been a breach of the PPIP Act in that the Agency had failed to make the applicant aware that the information about him was being collected, the purpose for its collection, the intended recipients of the information and if there was any right to access and correct the information.

New South Wales. Dental Tribunal

HCCC v PHUNG (No. 2) [2012] NSWDT 3 (17 August 2012)

New South Wales. Medical Tribunal

Health Care Complaints Commission v Dr Jones [2012] NSWMT 19 (1 August 2012)

Queensland. Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Persley v Medical Board of Australia [2012] QCAT 479 (3 October 2012)

Health – psychiatrist – review – review of conditions on registration – conditions imposed by order of the Health Practitioners Tribunal – where orders imposed conditions which could only be removed by order of the Tribunal – where Registrant has complied with all conditions.



Residential Care Grant Amendment Principles 2012 (No. 1) - F2012L02061 " as made

New South Wales

Human Tissue Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 - awaiting assent


Australia. Department of Health and Ageing

Media release

15 October 2012 - NGOs Called on to be "Partners in Recovery" - Applications from non-government organisations to become Partners in Recovery Organisations in each of the 61 Medicare Local regions have opened.

The November 2012 Medicare Benefits Schedule - ASCII and XML files

Australia. Parliament. Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs

The involuntary or coerced sterilisation of people with disabilities in Australia - Inquiry

Australia. Parliamentary Secretary for Industry & Innovation

Review of pharmaceutical patents announced 15 October 2012

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the Boards

18 October 2012 - Quarterly registration data released. | Read Article

12 October 2012 - Call for Nominations or Expressions of Interest for a health practitioner to join the NSW Board of the Psychology Board of Australia. | Read Article

17 October 2012 - Dental Board and AHPRA publish Health Profession Agreement (77.1 KB,PDF)

The Dental Board of Australia Health Profession Agreement is available for review on the Dental Board of Australia website.

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

Annual Report 2011/12 - 2012

On the Radar – 15 October 2012 – Issue 101 (91KB)

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

19 October 2012 - Palliative care services in Australia (media release)

18 October 2012 - Girls and young women in the juvenile justice system (media release)

17 October 2012 - BreastScreen Australia monitoring report 2009–10 (media release)

16 October 2012 - Australian hospital statistics 2011–12: elective surgery waiting times (media release)

Australia. National Health and Medical Research Council

19 October 2012 - $652 million boost for best and brightest medical researchers

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

19 October 2012 - List of evaluated registered complementary medicines - The list of evaluated registered complementary medicines was updated to include one new product.

17 October 2012 - Searching the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods - Updated information.

16 October 2012 - Concerns with urogynaecological surgical mesh implants - Urogynaecological surgical mesh implants are used in some surgical procedures to treat the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence.

16 October 2012 - Urogynaecological surgical mesh implants - Statement provided to the 7.30 Report (ABC) by the TGA.

16 October 2012 - TGA presentations given at the ARCS Congress, 27-28 September 2012 - Presentations given by the TGA at the ARCS Congress, 27-28 September 2012.

15 October 2012 - Australian Public Assessment Reports for prescription medicines (AusPARs) - Added five AusPARs.

15 October 2012 - Donor screening tests: information requirements - Sponsors of biologicals are advised to submit applications with information about existing test kits and methodologies.

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Media release

17 October 2012 - Helping More People Overcome Drug and Alcohol Addiction


18 October 2012 - Mental health, drug and alcohol - Emergency Department and Ambulance monitoring - GL2012_009

New South Wales. Health Statistics

17 October 2012 - High body mass attributable hospitalisations by Aboriginality

17 October 2012 - Alcohol attributable deaths by Local Government Area

17 October 2012 - High body mass attributable deaths

17 October 2012 - Smoking attributable deaths

17 October 2012 - Smoking attributable deaths by Local Government Area

17 October 2012 - Dental health of children

Northern Territory. Department of Health

Media release

David Tollner - Improving Health Services in Central Australia - Minister for Health, David Tollner today toured the new Alice Springs Hospital Emergency Department and 24-Hour Medical Imaging facility as construction on the $24.5 million project nears completion.

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

18 October 2012 - Gay Health Issues Fall off Queensland Labor's Radar - Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg has questioned the Opposition's focus on gay health issues after not one Labor MP, including State Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk, asked a single question on HIV statistics during yesterdays Estimates hearings.

16 October 2012 - Labor Milks Funds from QLD Health - The Queensland-based Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan has been accused of trying to milk $40 million from the Queensland health system to fill holes in his struggling Commonwealth budget.

16 October 2012 - Queensland Hospitals Top the Nation - Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg has welcomed the findings of a national study that found Queensland hospitals have the best elective surgery performance of any Australian state.

Pay date change is here! Find out more...

Queensland. Health Quality and Complaints Commission

Carers critical link in healthcare safety

South Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

16 October 2012 - South Australia's elective surgery waiting times improve - Hon John Hill MP - South Australians are waiting less time than the average Australian for their elective (non-emergency) surgery, according to a major national report released today. Read more

13 October 2012 - New smoking legislation kicking butts - Hon John Hill MP - More than 100 cautions and 30 fines have been issued since new legislation banning smoking near playgrounds, transport waiting areas and smoke-free areas was introduced earlier this year. Read more

Your Guide to a Healthier Today - Your Guide to a Healthier Today is a handy guide to a healthier lifestyle with some delicious healthy food tips and plenty of advice.

Draft Pressure Injury Prevention and Management Education Framework - This is a draft Education Framework for consultation and feedback. It describes the education and training required to ensure that the health workforce has the skills and knowledge required to effectively prevent and manage pressure injuries.

SA Recycled Water Guidelines - The South Australian Recycled Water Guidelines advise how to obtain licenses and approvals for recycled water schemes in SA and replace the rescinded SA Reclaimed Water Guidelines.

Tasmania. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)

18 October 2012 - Historic apology to victims of forced adoptions

18 October 2012 - Online help available for Tasmanian cancer patients

18 October 2012 - Latest DHHS Annual Report available

16 October 2012 - Jeremy Rockliff Does Not Back Clinicians, New Beds for the Mersey

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

17 October 2012 - Hope for Victorian children with cancer - More Victorian children than ever are surviving their fight against cancer, with new statistics showing five-year survival rates have increased to 82%.

16 October 2012 - Federal funding cuts hit Victorian hospital performance - The Federal Government's health funding cuts have harmed the capacity of Victoria's public hospitals to treat more patients in time, Health Minister, David Davis said today.

12 October 2012 - Campaign to raise teen awareness of cannabis risks - An innovative new online awareness campaign about the risks associated with cannabis use for young Victorians was launched today by the Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge.

2012 Health System and Governance Induction

Cultural resource guide - October 2012

Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulation Unit newsletter - Edition 1, 2012 (2nd revision 1 October 2012) (pdf)

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Program Information Sheet October 2012

All Victorian Hospitals are invited to participate in the Audit of consent for Blood Transfusion. The aim of this audit is to improve the quality of care provided to patients by ensuring blood and blood product transfusion consent policies are available, appropriate, understood and practised within hospitals. These policies should be consistent with the Australian and New Zealand Society of Blood Transfusion/ Royal College of Nursing Australia Guidelines for the Administration of Blood Products 2nd edition, 2011, ACSQHC - National Safety and Quality Heath Service Standards and Australian Health Ministers' Conference (AHMC) – Statement on National Stewardship Expectations for the Supply of Blood and Blood Products. This audit can be completed at any time during from 20 August to 30 November 2012. Return date for audit data is 14 December 2012.

Victoria. Office of the Health Services Commissioner

Health Records Regulations 2012 - The fees which organisations are able to charge to individuals seeking access to their health information are set by the Health Records Regulations 2012. The Health Records Regulations 2012 began operation on Wednesday 12 September 2012, and the fees for access to health information increased from that date. Please go to the following page for information on the new fees.

A study of people who have lodged a complaint with the Health Services Commissioner - The Health Services Commissioner (the Commissioner) is reviewing the Office's complaints handling process and has asked the Social Research Centre to speak with people who have made a complaint to the Commissioner in the past few years, to talk about their experiences of the complaint process. The research will be undertaken during October 2012 and a research report will be published on the website during the first part of 2013. For further information go to the OHSC page.

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

17 October 2012 - ADHD stimulant report reveals minimal changes

16 October 2012 - WA continues strong performance in elective surgery wait times

15 October 2012 - Finalists announced for 2012 WA Health Awards

Operational directive

17 October 2012 - OD 0396/12 - This information circular describes the HA215B reporting requirements and timeframes for non-admitted patient services, as required for Department of Health. Timely distribution of this circular is pivotal to the data reporting practices and provision of data supporting the implementation of Activity-Based Funding. Furthermore, the procedures and time frames documented in the current Operational Directive 0284/10 are no longer valid.

Canada. Health Canada

18 October 2012 - Harper Government Takes Steps To Bring Clinical Trial Information Home - Plans Underway for First Canadian List of Authorized Clinical Trials

Australian Medical Association (AMA)

16 October 2012 - Medicare patient rebates failing to keep pace with the true value of quality medical care - AMA List of Medical Services and Fees 2012 - AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb said today that the new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) patient rebates, to apply from 1 November 2012, fail dismally to reflect the true value of quality medical care in Australia. The new MBS patient rebate for a standard GP consultation is $36.30, an increase of just 70 cents.

British Medical Association

18 October 2012 - Overseas campuses will not offer UK qualifications

18 October 2012 - Commissioning board set-up branded "remarkably stupid"

18 October 2012 - Adventures in flexible work and training

17 October 2012 - Juniors defend working time directive

American Medical Association

12 October 2012 - Former American Medical Association President Named World Medical Association President - Cecil B. Wilson, M.D., takes on leading role at international physician organisation.

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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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