Australia: Health Alert (Australia) - 25 March 2013

Last Updated: 31 March 2013
Article by Mark Williams


Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Newcombe & Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Medical Board of the Medical Board of Australia (Occupational Discipline) [2013] ACAT 15 (20 March 2013)

The appellant sought leave to appeal a decision of the Tribunal. A hearing had been conducted in September 2009 and a decision against the appellant handed down in June 2012. From a date in July 2012 the appellant had 28 days to appeal. The appellant's solicitors had notified the Tribunal that an appeal was under consideration. In October 2012 the Tribunal handed down its reasons and the appellant filed an application to appeal out of time. The application and any appeal was contested by the respondent Board. In November 2012 the application for leave to appeal was heard by the Tribunal which sought written submissions from the appellant and reserved its decision on the application.

The application was dismissed. The Tribunal found that the appellant had an acceptable explanation for delay in making an application to appeal and had taken action apart from the application to extend time to appeal. However, the Tribunal found that it would cause prejudice to the respondent Board by way of costs and due to the effluxion of time and fading of memory to grant the application. Further, the Tribunal found the applicant's assertion, subsequent to the Tribunal making its decision, that a particular instrument was used, did not constitute procedural unfairness due to delay. The applicant had failed to point to any matter where delay had caused injustice, that he had an arguable case on the merits of the substantive application or that it would be fair and equitable to grant the application.

New South Wales

Fletcher v Hamilton-Gibbs & Another [2013] NSWSC 77 (14 March 2013)

The plaintiff alleged that in 1982 she obtained advice and treatment from the two General Practitioner (GP) defendants, after which she consulted a third GP then came under the care of a hospital neurosurgeon. She was diagnosed with congenital hydrocephalus consequent on aqueductal stenosis and underwent surgery. The plaintiff alleged that following surgery she suffered brain damage, dense left hemiplegia resulting in paralysis in both left limbs, anxiety and depression. She claimed that had the defendants discharged their duty of care, she would have been referred to a specialist earlier and not suffered the cerebral haemorrhage which caused brain damage and hemiplegia.

Proceedings were commenced a decade after the surgery. Between 2000 and 2010 the proceedings were delayed by the plaintiff's unsuccessful attempts to join two other defendants. The delay since 2010 was solely attributable to the plaintiff.

It was determined that the passage of time between the relevant events and the likely hearing date led to an inference of presumptive prejudice. Further, there was actual prejudice to the defendants due to the unavailability of evidence or the availability of compromised evidence, which included deaths of potential witnesses and loss of medical records.

The judge concluded that the plaintiff's delay in bringing the proceedings had rendered them seriously and unfairly burdensome, prejudicial and damaging as well as productive of serious and unjustified trouble and harassment to the defendants. She determined that the continuation of the proceedings would involve an abuse of process and ordered they be dismissed.

New South Wales. Nurses & Midwives Tribunal

Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) V Shah [2013] NSWNMT 1 (12 March 2013)

Complaint against a nurse of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. Where particulars and complaint conceded by the respondent prior to commencement of hearing. Consideration of appropriate protective orders. Whether suspension of registration or cancellation of registration for 12 months appropriate order.



Health Insurance Amendment (Medicare funding for certain types of abortion) Bill 2013

Private Health Insurance (Benefit requirements) Amendment Rules 2013 (No. 1)


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

21 March 2013 - Record number of GPs in training - This year's record number of GPs in training will boost the number of doctors in country Australia and develop the next generation of qualified GPs.

20 March 2013 - More scholarships for aged care workers

19 March 2013 - Bulk billing rates at record highs

18 March 2013 - New centre to monitor the pulse of Australia's blood supply

15 March 2013 - New guide on borderline personality disorder

15 March 2013 - New Murri clinic delivers more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services

Private Health Insurance Circulars
PHI 15/13 Amendment - Private (same-day) Hospital Information PHI Circular

PHI 14/13 New - Private (same-day) Hospital Information

Aged care
20 March 2013 - CACP, EACH and EACHD community care fee (care recipient fee or contribution) effective 20 March 2013

16 March 2013 - Indexation rates for Residential Aged Care Supplements (Accommodation and Hotel related) and Schedule of Resident Fees and Charges

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC)

22 March 2013 - ACCC issues report on private health insurance

Australia. Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

18 Mar 2013 - Health Insurance Insider Issue 3 - Read the latest bulletin from the ombudsman. Read More

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

20 March 2013 - Eco Child (Complaint No. 2011-09-019) - Decision under regulation 9 of the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 in relation to an advertisement about the product "Amber Teething Necklace."

20 March 2013 - Review of the arrangements for the scheduling of medicines and poisons - The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing is facilitating a review of the arrangements for the scheduling of medicines and poisons in accordance with Section 52EC of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (the Act). Closing date: 29 April 2013.

19 March 2013 - Paiyouji natural slimming capsules - Paiyouji Natural Slimming Capsules pose a serious risk to your health and should not be taken.

18 March 2013 - Adept Modular Head - used in hip replacements - Health professionals and patients are advised that a review of post-market surveillance data has identified that the Adept 12/14 Modular Head has a higher than expected revision rate.

18 March 2013 - Joint reclassification advice: Kinds of medical devices - Applications to reclassify joint replacement implants from Class IIb to Class III must be made for a single kind of medical device so that the device and any of its variants can be individually identified in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency & the boards

18 March 2013 - The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has published its February communique. | Read Article

18 March 2013 - The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia releases its latest newsletter. | Read Article

21 March 2013 - Revised guidelines for use of scheduled medicines (the Guidelines), which increase care choices and improve access for patients with, or who are at high risk of developing, chronic glaucoma, were released today by the Optometry Board of Australia (the Board). | Read Article

21 March 2013 - The Pharmacy Board of Australia releases its latest communique. | Read Article

15 March 2013 - Call for nominations or expressions of interest for a health practitioner to join the Psychology Board of Australia. | Read Article

Australia. National Mental Health Commission

21 March 2013 - "Closing The Gap" targets must be addressed

20 March 2013 - 2013 Report Card themes announced

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

National Safety and Quality Standards and Accreditation - Standard 5 Frequently Asked Questions

National Safety and Quality Standards and Accreditation - Standard 7 Frequently Asked Questions

18 March 2013 - On the Radar: Issue 119 (75KB

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

21 March 2013 - Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2010-11: state and territory findings

20 March 2013 - Rheumatic heart disease and acute rheumatic fever in Australia: 1996-2012. Media release

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Media releases

21 March 2013 - Dubbo eye clinic a first

18 March 2013 - Listen out for lung cancer and save your life

15 March 2013 - Final boost for Albury cancer patient accommodation

Queensland. Department of Health

Report does not identify adverse health impacts from Coal Seam Gas (CSG) in Tara - A report into the effects of CSG on the health of Tara residents has found no clear link between CSG activities and residents' health complaints.

Reduce patient radiation risks: CT radiation dose optimisation program now available

South Australia. (SA) Department of Health & Ageing

SA Health's response to the independent Review of Non-Hospital Based Services (PDF 165KB) led by Warren McCann from the Office of Public Employment and Review has been released.

Media releases

22 March 2013 - Response to McCann review - The South Australian Government today released its response to the recommendations of the Review of Non-Hospital Based Services report. Read more...

21 March 2013 - New future secured for Community Foodies program - The Community Foodies program will continue to help people across Adelaide make healthy food and lifestyle choices. Read more...

20 March 2013 - Evaluation of changes to mental health services - SA Health will undertake a review of mental health bed capacity and demand since the implementation of the stepping up mental health reforms began. Read more...

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

21 March 2013 - Kids Come First

Victoria. Department of Health

Update: Outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis extends to regional Victoria

19 March 2013 - Key new appointments for mental health in Victoria - Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge announced today that Dr Mark Oakley Browne is Victoria's new Chief Psychiatrist.

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

20 March 2013 - Report shows strong performance in infection prevention and control

15 March 2013 - Final outcomes regarding the misidentification of a patient at Graylands Hospital

15 March 2013 - Vaccination urged to guard against influenza

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

22 March 2013 - The Health of Maori Adults and Children

22 March 2013 - The Health of Pacific Adults and Children

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Call to action on reducing avoidable deaths - Improvements in the fight against the 5 major causes of death, including new plans to tackle cardiovascular disease, could save 30,000 lives by 2020, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced today. Read more...

Sexual health improvement framework published - "A Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England" sets out the government's ambitions for improving sexual health. Read more...

New technology to improve children's mental health services - Norman Lamb, Care and Support Minister announced Ł2million today for new handheld computers to boost children's mental health services. Read more...

World Health Organization

18 March 2013 - Urgent need for international financing to fight tuberculosis threat. Strains of tuberculosis with resistance to multiple drugs could spread widely requiring at least US$ 1.6 billion annually in international funding for treatment and prevention of the disease, according to WHO and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. Read more...

Australian Medical Association

National plan and ongoing funding needed to continue closing the gap

British Medical Association

20 March 2013 - Medical committee absolves Karabus of patient death blame. A paediatrician held in Abu Dhabi over the death of a child patient a decade ago could be freed with...

18 March 2013 - Statutory duty of candour could backfire. A statutory duty of candour on doctors to report patient safety concerns could lead to "defensive practice," doctors leaders have told peers.

18 March 2013 - Public health leader shares first-hand lessons from Hillsborough. The next Faculty of Public Health president has said being at the Hillsborough disaster was an important reminder for doctors to maintain first aid training.

18 March 2013 - GPs call for end to "bullying" of clinicians concerned about care. GPs in Scotland have called for a culture change in the National Health Scheme to make it easier for clinicians to raise concerns about patient safety.

Canadian Medical Association

18 March 2013 - Movement of physician assistants into Canadian health care still going strong

18 March 2013 - Toolbox helps MDs improve referral practices

American Medical Association (AMA)

19 March 2013 - AMA Selects 31 Bold Medical Education Proposals to Continue to the Next Phase of $10M Initiative to Transform the Way Future Physicians Are Trained. AMA Statement - The AMA has announced that 31 innovative proposals have been selected from the initial pool of 119 applicants to move forward in the AMA's $10 million Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative.

© 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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