Australia: Health Alert (Australia) - 15 April 2013


Victoria. Coroners Court

502507 Rolden Ablis (PDF 417KB)

The deceased, a five year old boy, died from brainstem encephalitis most likely viral in origin, diagnosed during post mortem.

In the days prior to his admission, he had a temperature of 38 - 39 degree, two episodes of vomiting, but no diarrhoea. The deceased was admitted to hospital with a triage assessment of vomiting, no diarrhoea, fever of 38.6 degrees, decreased oral intake and heart rate of 160. A provisional diagnosis of dehydration secondary to gastroenteritis with fever was made, with a differential diagnosis of diabetic ketoacidosis. When the deceased failed to improve, the paediatric transport service to Royal Children's Hospital was called. The deceased's state required intubation, upon which he became bradycarcidc, lost cardiac output and was unable to be resuscitated.

Coroner West noted that expert paediatric neurological opinion held that on admission, the deceased had no signs or symptoms suggestive of meningitis or encephalitis, in that he did not complain of headache, had no rash, photophobia or neck stiffness. The deceased had a very rare, sever neurological condition that presented in an atypical and extremely fulminant fashion. The Coroner accepted that the clinicians should not be criticised for failing to diagnose the disease, but felt that too much emphasis was placed on the presumptive diagnosis of dehydration.

Coroner West recommended that the health service give consideration to providing dedicated paediatric care (medical and nursing staff), to all infants, children and adolescents presenting to their emergency department.

429307 Justin John Fraser (PDF 4.91MB)

The cause of death of the deceased, a voluntary patient in a psychiatric ward, was described as "sudden death during restraint in an agitated obese man with coronary artery atherosclerosis." An issue raised was the relevant qualifications and training of persons employed in various capacities within the hospital.

The deceased suffered from depression. Immediately prior to his death, he attempted to hang himself. After being found by a nurse he behaved threateningly to nursing staff. A code grey was called and six security staff members physically restrained the deceased with some force. A sedative was administered and the deceased was carried to the seclusion room. It was noticed that he was unconscious and barely breathing. The deceased died soon after.

Coroner White considered the hospital's restraint and staff training policies, notably the Risk Identification Safety Containment Environment framework. The policy was intended to facilitate a safe environment for staff, clients and visitors, and promoted a policy of least restraint.

Coroner White recommended that review of the Mental Health Act consider inclusion of regulation, which endorses principles for safe physical restraint, with a view to reducing the possibility that death or serious injury may result from psychiatric patient restraint. These principles address a general approach to psychiatric physical restraint, training and management. Coroner White also recommended a guideline be issued by the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, which should broadly direct the adoption of a single manner of physical restrain guidelines, for the consideration of hospitals and their managers.

New South Wales. Nursing & Midwifery Tribunal

Susan Margaret McMahon v The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia [2013] NSWNMT 4 (2 April 2013)

Appeal against decision to refuse registration. Whether the appeal under s175 of the National Law is an appeal de novo. Where appellant asserts respondent has wrongly interpreted the Recency of Practice Standard "the Standard" approved under national law. Where appellant asserts unfair and prejudicial to her to take into account in interpreting the Standard the Re-entry to Practice policy "the Policy" published by the respondent after appellant's application for registration lodged. Held – the appeal is an appeal de novo.

Where found no prejudice to the appellant if reference made to policy in interpreting the Standard. Where appellant's evidence insufficient to meet requirements of Standard. Decision of the respondent confirmed.



National Health (Pharmaceutical Benefits) Amendment Regulation 2013 (No. 1)

Health Insurance Act 1973 - Declaration of quality assurance activity under section 124X (QAA 1/2013)

Therapeutic Goods Information (Joint Recalls Portal) Specification 2013


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

11 April 2013 - Boost in support for people with mental illness and their carers. Australians with severe mental illness, their families and carers will have greater access to support services and other practical assistance locally in their communities thanks to a $121 million boost from the Australian Government.

11 April 2013 - Immunisation rates high but more work to do. Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said a new report has confirmed Australia had high rates of child immunisation but also highlighted the need to continue increasing immunisation rates, particularly in regions where coverage was below the national average.

11 April 2013 - Knox headspace to help young people in outer-East Melbourne through hard times. Young people in outer-east Melbourne with mental health issues will get better support with the launch of a new Knox headspace service.

10 April 2013 - $7.9 million for partnership projects to improve the health of Australians. Minister for Health Tanya Plibersek has announced $7.9 million for eleven partnerships for better health – partnership projects including research into medication regimes for kidney transplants, chlamydia testing, work-related asthma and cancer, suicide prevention, and mental health disorders in rural children.

10 April 2013 - Australia and Singapore research to tackle emerging infectious diseases. A new medical research partnership with the Singapore Government to fight three of the most infectious diseases in the Asia Pacific region has been announced.

09 April 2013 - Australian first: $25 million National Centre for Cognitive Decline opened. Australia's first national centre for cognitive decline has been opened.

09 April 2013 - Midland headspace to help young people through tough times. Young people with mental health issues in Midland (WA) and surrounding areas will get better support with the launch of a new headspace service.

09 April 2013 - National compact on female genital mutilation (FGM). Commitment to coordinated action was affirmed at the national Summit on FGM, hosted by the Australian Government on 9 April 2013.

09 April 2013 - National Summit on FGM. Minister Plibersek's speech at the national Summit on FGM.

08 April 2013 - Record quarter for organ donation. Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Shayne Neumann announced that Australia's official organ donor rates have increased to record levels for the first quarter of 2013.

Trachoma surveillance report 2006 to 2009.

Private Health Insurance Circular - PHI 20/13 Name change - private (overnight) hospital information.

Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) - PDF printable version of ACAT Chat - March 2013 (PDF 2398 KB).

9 April 2013 - Aged Care. Public consultation on accommodation pricing guidelines.

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

11 April 2013 - Advisory committee on complementary medicines (ACCM) meeting statements.

11 April 2013 - Advisory committee on non-prescription medicines (ACNM) meeting statement, 7 March 2013. Committee advice sought in relation to three new registration applications for over the counter medicines.

11 April 2013 - Reclassification of hip, knee and shoulder implants: letter to sponsors and regulatory consultants. Letter emailed in March 2013 to sponsors and regulatory consultants - end of the first year transition period approaching.

11 April 2013 - TGA presentations given at the Complementary Healthcare Council (CHC) regulatory obligations seminar, 18 March 2013.

10 April 2013 - Medtronic paradigm insulin pump. Health professionals and consumers are advised that Medtronic, in consultation with the TGA, has issued information regarding three potential but rare issues with its Medtronic paradigm insulin pump.

10 April 2013 - AcrySof cachet phakic lens. Health professionals and consumers are advised that Alcon Laboratories Australia, in consultation with the TGA, has issued a hazard alert regarding AcrySof cachet phakic lenses.

10 April 2013 - Australian Public Assessment Reports for prescription medicines (AusPARs). Added Ezetimibe/Simvastatin (Vytorin).

10 April 2013 - Cancellations from the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) following compliance review. Added two products cancelled from the ARTG following compliance review.

8 April 2013 - Business process review: minor variations to prescription medicines for sponsors. Added implementation of the outcomes of the review.

8 April 2013 - Prescribing medicines in pregnancy database. Updated database.

Australia. Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC)

PHIAC Annual Regulatory Plan 2013-14 - PHIAC updates Annual Regulatory Plan for 2013-14.

Clarification of Exclusionary Policy reporting in PHIAC 1 return. This circular is to clarify which policies should be reported as exclusionary and which should not on the PHIAC 1 return.

Capital Adequacy Standard – Interest Rate March 2013. PHIAC has determined that the interest rate applicable for the calculation of the renewal option amount to be applied by all private health insurers for the quarter ended 31 March 2013 is 2.834% per annum.

Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency & the boards (AHPRA)

10 April 2013 - AHPRA and the national Boards have published their submissions to the Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the performance of AHPRA. | Read article

9 April 2013 - National Boards are consulting on a draft social media policy and revised guidelines on advertising and mandatory reporting. | Read article

11 April 2013 - The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia releases its latest communiqué. | Read article

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council

CEO Research Newsletter - April 2013 (PDF, 823KB)

10 April 2013 - Australia and Singapore join forces to tackle emerging infectious diseases. Five research teams in Australia and Singapore awarded A*STAR-NHMRC joint grants to design ways to combat disease-causing bugs. The fight against a number of significant infectious diseases in the Asia Pacific region has been given a boost through a new research collaboration between the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia (NHMRC) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore. Read article

10 April 2013 - $7.9 million for partnership projects to improve the health of Australians. The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP Minister for Health announced today $7.9 million for eleven partnerships for better health – partnership projects including research into medication regimes for kidney transplants, chlamydia testing, work related asthma and cancer, suicide prevention, and mental health disorders in rural children. Read article

9 April 2013 - Australian first: $25 million national centre for cognitive decline opened. Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler will today launch Australia's first Partnership Centre that will address the complex problems faced by older people with cognitive decline, including dementia. Mr Butler said by 2050 it was estimated that 3.5 million Australians will need aged care services and the majority will be living with cognitive decline, almost a quarter of whom will have dementia. Read article

Australian Capital Territory. (ACT) Health Directorate

Media release

11 April 2013 - University of Canberra Public Hospital moves into design phase.

11 April 2013 - No room for complacency with immunisation - a community responsibility.

8 April 2013 - Find a health service now on your mobile.

12 April 2013 - Police and health warning following overdose. ACT Health and police have issued a warning to the community following an accidental drug overdose.

11 April 2013 - Temporary road closure at Canberra Hospital. Hospital Road at Canberra Hospital will be closed from 3.00am Saturday 13 April to 5.00pm Sunday 14 April.

4 April 2013 - Get tested for chlamydia. 5 - 12 April is chlamydia week in the ACT. Regular testing is a good way to make sure you're OK.

2 April 2013 - Independent living display. A bariatric equipment display will be held at the Independent Living Centre in Weston from 16 - 26 April.

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Media releases

11 April 2013 - Minister announces new equipment for Cooma Hospital.

11 April 2013 - Aboriginal communities and NSW Rugby League join forces on innovative weight loss challenge.

9 April 2013 - More milestones for south east regional hospital.

Northern Territory. Department of Health

Robyn Lambley - Katherine problem drinkers face mandatory alcohol treatment. Repeat problem drinkers in Katherine will be required to undertake mandatory alcohol rehabilitation under a new plan to reduce alcohol related harm and anti-social behaviour in the town.

Robyn Lambley - Mandatory alcohol treatment for problem drunks in Alice Springs. Repeat problem drinkers in Alice Springs will be required to undertake mandatory alcohol treatment under new measures announced today by the Northern Territory Government.

Robyn Lambley - Medi hotel interim site for alcohol mandatory treatment. The Northern Territory Government will use the short term patient accommodation centre at Royal Darwin Hospital as an interim facility for delivery of alcohol mandatory treatment services.

Robyn Lambley - Emergency department on the drawing board. Health Minister Robyn Lambley has been briefed on plans to build a new emergency department at Gove District Hospital.

Queensland. Department of Health

Month of silence on Queensland health funding cuts

Queensland. Health Quality and Complaints Commission

Media release

Spotlight on cosmetic procedures

Program of Experience in the Palliative Approach (PEPA) - Placements now available for QHealth and non-government organisation clinicians

South Australia. Department for Health & Ageing

12 April 2013 - Foundations for an innovative Approach to aged care. A ceremony will be held at repatriation general hospital today to mark the laying of the first foundations for a $46 million state of the art 120 place health, teaching and research facility called ViTA. Read article

10 April 2013 - New Advance Care Directives Bill passed. It will now be easier for people to express their wishes about their future health care, residential, accommodation and personal affairs after a new Bill has passed State Parliament. Read article

9 April 2013 - More protection for people in retirement villages. A select committee will be established to review the Retirement Villages Act. Read article

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

12 April 2013 - Medical imaging upgrade.

10 April 2013 - New mental health protections.

8 April 2013 - Gardening service growing jobs.

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

11 April 203 - Coalition announces record funding to close the gap. From the Premier - The Victorian Coalition Government will invest a record $61.7 million boost to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Victorians in the forthcoming 2013 State Budget.

9 April 2013 - Mental health boost for Casey and Cardinia schools. An innovative new initiative to tackle youth suicide in Melbourne's south east growth corridor was announced today by the Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge.

9 April 2013 - Bill Healy appointed Chair of Forensicare. Respected mental health expert Bill Healy has been appointed as the new Chair of Forensicare – Victoria's specialist service for offenders with mental health conditions, Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge announced today.

9 April 2013 - New youth mental health service opens in Dandenong. An innovative service with ten new mental health beds specifically for young people from Dandenong and surrounding suburbs was officially opened today by the Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge.

9 April 2013 - Extra alcohol and drug support for Dandenong Hospital. The Dandenong Hospital emergency department will receive an extra $500,000 from the Victorian Coalition Government to help it better respond to drug and alcohol affected patients.

H7N9 influenza - circular to clinicians and laboratories

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

11 April 2013 - Hames Health. GP after hours success aided by iPhone app.

Read Healthview Autumn 2013 (PDF 3.3MB)

10 April 2013 - IC 0137/13. Government Services (miscellaneous) General Agreement 2013 - AG 3 of 2013 Advice of new Industrial Agreement – Government Services (miscellaneous) General Agreement 2013.

10 April 2013 - IC 0136/13. Guidelines for working in heat - Provide information for employers and employees on heat illness, related health and safety problems and actions and measures that can be taken to prevent or mitigate heat illness.

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

10 April 2013 - Companion statement on Vitamin D and sun exposure in pregnancy and infancy in New Zealand.

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Guidance: Hospices funding breakdown

News story: 176 hospices receive £60 million funding boost to improve end of life care

Guidance: Attributing the costs of health and social care research

Transparency data: DH Workforce Information, January 2013

Australian Medical Association (AMA)

Clinician input key to hospital quality and safety - The AMA today released its revised position statement on quality and safety in hospital practices. The position statement applies to quality and safety in hospital practice in both public and private hospitals.

Medical care integral to community aged care services

Prisoners and detainees have a right to humane treatment - AMA position statement on medical ethics in custodial settings.

Protecting the health care rights of pregnant women - AMA position statement on maternal decisionmaking.

AMA calls for national health policy for young people

Canada. Health Canada

11 April 2013 - Government of Canada Highlights Successes of New Process for Natural Health Products.

11 April 2013 - Health Canada Host Round Table Discussion on Plasma Donations.

10 April 2013 - Harper Government Continues to Engage with Traditional Chinese Medicine Community in Canada.

British Medical Association (BMA)

11 April 2013 - BMA warns against healthcare consumerism. Viewing patients as consumers of health services is not always helpful, the BMA has warned.

11 April 2013 - Doctors seek flour folic acid supplements. The BMA is urging the government to introduce mandatory folic acid fortification of flor to prevent neural tube defects.

11 April 2013 - Rise in donors can be built on, says BMA. Doctors leaders say even more lives could be saved if an opt-out system of organ donation with safeguards is introduced.

10 April 2013 - EU clinicians seek tougher tobacco laws. Population health must remain at the heart of plans to change the sale of tobacco in Europe, the BMA maintains.

10 April 2013 - Further delays to Karabus freedom. A South African doctor cleared of the manslaughter of a child patient faces a fresh challenge to his freedom as prosecutors appeal against his acquittal.

Canadian Medical Association (CMA)

9 April 2013 - New CMA data: medicine growing fast, changing fast.

8 April 2013 - Afghanistan vet appointed Canada's first chair in military care research.

© DLA Piper

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