Australia: Health Alert - 12 November 2012

Last Updated: 14 November 2012
Article by Andrew Forbes


New South Wales. Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal

HCCC v Thompson (No 2) [2012] NSWNMT 15 (6 November 2012)

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) appealed a decision of the Professional Standards Committee (PSC). The Tribunal found that the subject matter of the single complaint against Ms Thompson was not proved and the HCCC's case was dismissed (the current matter). The reasons for the dismissal had been given earlier. The Tribunal considered the question of awarding costs.

Counsel for Ms Thompson submitted that, as the PSC had dismissed the complaint against Ms Thompson, she was entitled to her costs in relation to the PSC hearing in addition to the costs incurred in the current matter. The HCCC argued that the PSC hearing was conducted under the now repealed Nurses and Midwives Act 1991 (NSW), and it did not give the PSC power to award costs. The HCCC also contended that while the current law, the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW), allows for the Tribunal to award costs, it was not intended to operate retrospectively.

The Tribunal accepted that the current law does not operate retrospectively to create a new right to award costs in relation to proceedings conducted under legislation that did not allow for such cost orders when it was in force.

It was also contended by counsel for Ms Thompson that she was entitled to costs of the attendance of certain witnesses. The Tribunal considered it to be appropriate for the HCCC to pay the costs of the witnesses. The HCCC was also ordered to pay the costs of Ms Thompson in this matter.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribuna

Pharmacy Board of Australia v The Registrant [2012] QCAT 515 (24 October 2012)

The Board brought disciplinary proceedings against a pharmacist (the Registrant) for inadequate record keeping in regards to dispensing PSE, not complying with the industry standards, stocking excessive quantities of PSE and failing to record adequate PSE sales.

PSE is a "pharmacist only" poison. It is prone to misuse and abuse in that it is used in the manufacture of methylamphetamines known as "speed" and "ice".

The Registrant admitted to professional misconduct; however the Tribunal was not satisfied that his conduct amounted to this.

In determining the Registrant's conduct, the Tribunal considered whether the Health Practitioner National Law Act 2009 (Qld) (National Law Act) or the Health Practitioners (Professional Standards) Act 1999 (Qld) applied. It was held that the National Law Act applied as the Board had failed to deal with the matter before or on 1 July 2010; the Board had only taken steps to investigate on 12 October 2010.

Under the National Law Act, the standard of professional misconduct is the standard reasonably expected of a registrant of equivalent training and expertise. Unprofessional conduct is the standard that is of a lesser standard than that expected by the public or professional peers. Unprofessional conduct amounts to professional misconduct if it is of a "substantially" lesser standard.

It was established that the Registrant's conduct did not amount to professional misconduct. It was conduct of a lesser standard than expected by the public and their peers but was not "substantially" lesser.

The Registrant provided an undertaking not to reapply for registration and was ordered to pay the Board's legal costs.

New South Wales. Psychologists Tribunal

HCCC v Whyte (No 4) [2012] NSWPST 6 (8 November 2012)

Psychologist – unsatisfactory professional conduct – professional misconduct – boundary violations – allegations of sexual relationship with former client.

HCCC v Whyte (No 3) [2012] NSWPST 5 (16 October 2012)



Therapeutic Goods Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 3) - 012L02161 " SLI 2012 No. 251 as made

National Health (Residential Medication Chart) Amendment Determination 2012 (No. 2) (No. PB 101 of 2012) - 2012L02154 " PB 101 of 2012 as made

National Health (Remote Aboriginal Health Services Program) Special Arrangements Amendment Instrument 2012 (No. 3) (No. PB 102 of 2012) - 2012L02153 " PB 102 of 2012 as made

Private Health Insurance (Benefit Requirements) Amendment Rules 2012 (No. 8) - F2012L02151 " as made

National Health (Weighted Average Disclosed Price - Interim Supplementary Disclosure Cycle) Amendment Determination 2012 (No. 2) (No. PB 98 of 2012) - F2012L02147 " PB 98 of 2012 as made


Australia. Department of Health and Ageing

17 October 2012 - Independent review of the National Health Performance Authority: Call for public submissions - The National Health Reform Act 2011 (Cth) requires an independent review of the National Health Performance Authority (the Performance Authority) to commence by 21 October 2012. The review will focus on the Performance Authority's operation and effectiveness in its early operation and establishment phase. In support of this aspect of the review, the Department of Health and Ageing is seeking written submissions from members of the public and healthcare professionals.

Media releases

8 November 2012 - Official Opening of GP Plus Super Clinic Modbury

6 November 2012 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Men's Sheds Share in New Funding

6 November 2012 - Suicide Support Line Now Available Around The Clock

4 November 2012 - Government Steps up Anti-Smoking Momentum

2 November 2012 - Australia and Gates Foundation Fund Fight Against Drug Resistance

1 November 2012 - Baseball League to Tackle Binge Drinking

Private Health Insurance Circulars

PHI 68/12 Nursing-Home Type Patient Contribution Rates and Minimum Benefits as at 20 September 2012

PHI 67/12 Private Health Insurance (Benefit Requirements) Amendment Rules 2012 (No. 7)

Australia. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

7 November 2012 - Growth Hormone News Update - Saizen ® Solution - In July 2012 the Department ceased ordering Saizen ® solution for injection (somatropin) through the Australian Government's PBS Growth Hormone Program as the supplier had initiated a recall of short-dated Saizen ® . The supplier has worked with the Department and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to manage this situation and from 2 October 2012 the restriction was lifted. The Department continues to monitor the situation and patients using Saizen ® should ensure that their supply does not expire before the end of their treatment period. If it does, patients should contact their pharmacy and doctor as soon as possible to arrange replacement medicine. Any questions regarding the current and future availability of Saizen ® solution for injection can be addressed to the Growth Hormone Program. Additional information including frequently asked questions is available on the Department of Health and Ageing website.

2 November 2012 - Report to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) - Review of PBS anti-dementia drugs to treat Alzheimers Disease - The draft report prepared for PBAC on the review of anti-dementia medicines for Alzheimers disease has been updated to include sub-committee and sponsor input. A plain language executive summary has been written, based on the full report for PBAC, and is available for comment ahead of PBAC consideration. Further information can be found on the Review of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme anti-dementia drugs to treat Alzheimers Disease page.

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

8 November 2012 - Update on TGA decision to cancel prescription pain-killers - The TGA is providing updated information to the public and to health professionals about the regulatory status of dextropropoxyphene-containing painkillers.

7 November 2012 - Orphan drugs - Added to the list of designated orphan drugs: Asfotase alfa, Decitabine (DACOGEN), Pomalidomide and Riociguat.

7 November 2012 - TGA presentation given at the NSW Stem Cell Network, 31 October 2012 - Overview of the regulatory framework for biological.

7 November 2012 - Consultation: draft compositional guidelines - Added proposed revision of draft compositional guideline for tocotrienols complex - palm.

7 November 2012 - TGA business plan 2012-2013 - The TGA Business Plan 2012-2013 provides an overview of the organisation's strategic considerations.

5 November 2012 - Documents released under Section 11C of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) - Added FOI 075-1213 documents.

5 November 2012 - Initial analysis of submissions and proposed next steps in the review process - Outline of the major issues identified from the medicines labelling and packaging review and details of the next steps in the process.

5 November 2012 - Regulation of human and non-human tissues - Products that comprise, contain or are derived from human tissues are regulated as biological.

5 November 2012 - Medicines labelling and packaging review: public submissions - Submissions received from the TGA consultation.

Australia. National E-health Transition Authority (NEHTA)

NEHTA Annual Report 2011-2012

Australia. National Health and Medical Research Council

Research Tracker - 2 November 2012

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Media releases

8 November 2012 - Life expectancy in Australia continues to climb higher and higher

7 November 2012 - ABS conducting largest survey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Australia. National Blood Authority

Patient blood management guideline development

Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency and the Boards

5 November 2012 - The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia invites enrolled nurses, registered nurses and midwives to participate in a survey on national competency standards for enrolled nurses.

5 November 2012 - The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia releases its latest communiqué.

Australia. Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC)

5 November 2012 - Circular 12/31 - Annual Report 2011-12 - PHIAC Annual Report 2010-12 is now available.

31 October 2012 - 2013 Premium Round Consultation - 2013 Premium Round Consultation Sessions

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

On the Radar – 5 November 2012 – Issue 104 (94KB)

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

8 November 2012 - AIHW Access magazine no. 34, November 2012 | online

Australian National Council on Drugs

Invitation to attend an address by the US Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy on 14 November 2012

Australian Capital Territory. Health Directorate

Media release

8 November 2012 - Ministerial portfolios finalised for incoming ACT Government - Katy Gallagher, MLA.

5 November 2012 - Corporate Plan 2012-2017 - The Health Directorate's Corporate Plan 2012-2017.

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Policy directives

8 November 2012 - Staff Specialist Rights of Private Practice Arrangements - Medical Indemnity - PD2012_058

7 November 2012 - Uniforms Policy - PD2012_057

Northern Territory. Department of Health

Annual Report 2011 - 2012

Queensland Department of Health

Save your sight with sunnies! - Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg has reminded all Queenslanders about the importance of protecting your eyes from sun damage as part of National Sunnies Day.

Media releases

8 November 2012 - Sunshine Coast leads the way in parenting skills (PDF, 73KB)

8 November 2012 - Country Women's Association delivers bundles of joy (PDF, 72KB)

2 November 2012 - Queensland Health new email system (PDF, 211KB)

1 November 2012 - End of an era as paediatrician retires (PDF, 546KB)

South Australia. Department of Health

Media release

5 November 2012 - New structure for Country Health SA

Tasmania. Department of Health and Human Services

8 November 2012 - Public health alert extended on East Coast shellfish

8 November 2012 - New tool to combat problem gambling

7 November 2012 - Avoca water alert

7 November 2012 - Pioneer water alert

6 November 2012 - Cost of arson being tackled

5 November 2012 - Spring Bay mussels update

2 November 2012 - Public health alert issued on Spring Bay mussels

Victoria. Department of Health

Victorian Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Support Service Workforce Census 2012 - Throughout November 2012, the Victorian Department of Health will conduct a Workforce Census in Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support Service (PDRSS)-funded agencies. The purpose of the Census is to develop a profile of the workforce employed to provide PDRS services in Victoria. With your support, the 2012 census data will provide a benchmark to monitor changes in the PDRSS-funded workforce over time and will inform and complement the proposed reforms in the PDRSS-funded sector.

Mental Health Review Board member vacancies - Call for applications for legal practitioners, psychiatrists and community members to be appointed as sessional members to the Mental Health Review Board. Applications close 30 November 2012. For more information visit

Media releases

8 November 2012 - $480,000 boost to Mildura Hospital cancer services - Victorian Government funding will enable the Mildura Base Hospital to double the size of its oncology unit to treat more cancer patients, Health Minister, David Davis announced today.

8 November 2012 - $1 million upgrade to support mothers and babies - The Victorian Government is providing more than $1 million for the significant refurbishment of the specialist six-bed mother-baby unit at Monash Medical Centre, Mental Health Minister, Mary Wooldridge announced today.

8 November 2012 - Women-only area at Box Hill health service officially opens - Women accessing services at Upton House Adult Inpatient Unit at Eastern Health's Box Hill campus will feel safer and better supported in a new area catering exclusively to the needs of women.

7 November 2012 - Community organisations share in gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) grants - Eight community organisations across Victoria will be funded to support suicide prevention and mental health activities for GLBTI young people.

7 November 2012 - New move to promote healthy lifestyles in Grampians Goldfields - The Victorian Government, local councils and community health services are joining forces to spearhead the biggestever push for healthier lifestyles in the Central Goldfields, Pyrenees and Ararat communities.

4 November 2012 - A bigger and better hospital for Box Hill - The Victorian Government's $447.5 million redevelopment of Box Hill Hospital will deliver the highest quality acute services for Melbourne's east with an extra floor to be built.

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

6 November 2012 - Mosquito-borne virus disease risk in south-west

6 November 2012 - New study shows need for more GPs

WA Health Performance Report – July to September 2012 Quarter (PDF, 667KB)

Annual Reports 2011-12

1 November 2012 - IC 0127/12 - HealthPoint Guidelines: Staff Profiles - This Information Circular outlines guidelines for staff in relation to their profiles in HealthPoint, in particular the appropriate use of photographs in profiles.

United Kingdom. Department of Health

One million "Dementia Friends" will help make life better for people with dementia - The Dementia Friends scheme, launched today by Prime Minister, David Cameron, is the country's biggest ever project to change the way people think about dementia.

Government announces next steps on Dementia Challenge - Alongside the publication of the Dementia Challenge progress report, and the launch of the Dementia Friends programme, the government has announced a number of measures as part of the next phase of the Dementia Challenge.

Dementia challenge progress report published - A progress report published today gives an update on the first seven months of the Prime Minister's Dementia Challenge.

Healthy Living and Social Care theme launched as part of Red Tape Challenge - The Healthy Living and Social Care theme of the Red Tape Challenge launches today.

Views sought on strengthening National Health Service (NHS) Constitution - Proposals to strengthen the NHS Constitution are set out for public consultation today, with the NHS, patients and public are all being asked to respond.

Plans set out to prepare NHS for winter - Plans have been set out to help people keep well this winter and help the NHS prepare for winter and meet the increase in winter-related health problems.

Canada. Health Canada

8 November 2012 - Harper Government Takes Action to Improve Food Safety

Australian Medical Association

Young people urged to play it safe during Schoolies Week

Medibank fails to crack Darwin line in Defence contract battle

International Day of Radiology

How long are you kept waiting when calling the PBS authority prescription line?

Issue 97 - Intern crisis this year, resident medical officer crisis next year?

British Medical Association

6 November 2012 - Doctors back stronger rights for patients

Canadian Medical Association (CMA)

8 November 2012 - Automatic transfer of continuing medical education credits extended to DynaMed usage

5 November 2012 - Montréal meeting on MD health sets records

1 November 2012 - CMA past president among six named to Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

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