Australia: Health Alert (Australia) - 13 May 2013


Australia. High Court

8 May 2013 -Wallace v Kam - [2013] HCA 19

The appellant had a lumbar spine condition and underwent surgery performed by the respondent. The surgery had inherent risks: temporary local damage to nerves within his thighs (bilateral femoral neuraprxia), resulting from lying face down on the operating table for an extended period; and a one-intwenty chance of permanent, catastrophic paralysis resulting from damage to spinal nerves. The surgery was unsuccessful: the appellant's condition did not improve. The first risk materialised; the second did not.

The Court reiterated that the duty of a medical practitioner is a single comprehensive duty to exercise reasonable care and skill in the provision of professional advice and treatment. This includes a duty to warn patients of "material risks" of physical injury inherent in proposed treatment, which is founded on the right of the patient to choose to undergo proposed treatment, having been adequately informed in order to make that choice rationally. This duty is breached when the medical practitioner fails to exercise reasonable care and skill to warn a patient of any material risk in proposed treatment. The compensable damage is physical injury sustained as a result of the treatment that is carried out following the patient deciding to undergo the treatment.

The Court held that the respondent breached his duty by failing to warn the appellant of the material risks inherent in the surgery. However, the Court did not find the respondent liable, because it was accepted the appellant would have accepted the risk of neurapraxia, even if warned. The appeal was dismissed.

New South Wales (NSW)

6 May 2013 - Waller v James - [2013] NSWSC 497

The plaintiffs' child, conceived by In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), suffered an extensive Cerebral Sinovenous Thrombosis (CVST) shortly after birth, leaving him profoundly disabled. The plaintiffs alleged a factor contributing to the CVST was that he had Anti-Thrombotic Deficiency (ATD), inherited genetically from his father. The defendant is a gynaecologist specialising in infertility and IVF, who the plaintiffs consulted.

Judge Hislop found the defendant owed a duty to ascertain if the plaintiffs were aware that ATD was potentially inheritable, to explain to the plaintiffs the purpose of a proposed referral to a genetic counsellor, to properly refer the plaintiffs to an appropriate person, and to follow the referral up. Judge Hislop found the defendant breached his duty, and had the plaintiffs been properly informed on the hereditary aspects of ATD, they would not have had their child.

However, Hislop J found on expert evidence that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the CSVT was caused or materially contributed to by the ATD. The plaintiffs therefore did not establish that their loss was sufficiently connected to the defendant's fault. While it was foreseeable that their child might inherit ATD and it may become symptomatic at some stage, the harm for which recovery was sought was not reasonably foreseeable. The defendant's liability concerned a failure to cause information about ATD to be obtained, and that the harm suffered was caused by an event which was not reasonably foreseeable. The plaintiffs therefore failed to establish liability on the part of the defendant.

New South Wales. Health Practitioners Tribunal

1 May 2013 - HCCC v Shaffer - [2013] NSWPHT 3

Pharmacist - Unsatisfactory professional conduct - Professional misconduct - dispensing of medications prescribed by medical practitioners in the United States of America (USA) for their patients in USA - prescriptions subsequently made available electronically to Respondent pharmacist in Sydney - prescriptions authorised locally by NSW registered medical practitioner - dispensed medications dispatched by Respondent's pharmacy to patients in USA - failure to apply Pharmacy Board of NSW Guidelines for Mail Order Dispensing 1998 - failure to comply with requirements of NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2002.

South Australia. Coroner

24 April 2013 - Inquest into death of Andrew Hollonds - 3/2012 (1823/2009)

Death in custody; suicide.

Western Australia

1 May 2013 - Pangoulias v Minister for Health [No 3] [2013] WADC 60

Practice and procedure - Review of ex parte order to extend the validity of a writ for service - Application for extension made subsequent to expiration of 12 month period of validity for service and three year limitation period - New material - Claim of plaintiff in part dependent upon alleged telephone calls with deceased medical practitioner - Lack of patient notes.


New South Wales

Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill 2013 - Private Member's Bill.


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

9 May 2013 - Advance care plans to be included on E-Health records.

9 May 2013 - Living longer living better in Port Noarlunga.

8 May 2013 - Improving cancer data and cancer care in Australia.

8 May 2013 - New mental health report released.

6 May 2013 - Improved substance misuse services for Coober Pedy.

5 May 2013 - Review to determine correct subsidy for chemotherapy infusions.

Private Health Insurance Circulars

PHI 24/13 New - Private (overnight) hospital information.

PHI 23/13 2013 Lifetime health cover direct mail out.

3 May 2013 - Draft aged care workforce supplement guidelines.

1 May 2013 - The dementia and veterans' supplements in aged care - Consultation paper.

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

3 May 2013 - NHMRC research tracker.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

9 Ma 2013 - The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia marks special days for nurses and midwives. | Read Article

8 May 2013 - The Dental Board of Australia releases a public consultation paper: Scope of practice registration standard and guidelines. | Read Article

9 May 2013 - The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has published its April communiqué. | Read Article

9 May 2013 - The Optometry Board of Australia releases its latest communiqué. | Read Article

9 May 2013 - The Psychology Board of Australia releases its latest communiqué. | Read Article

6 May 2013 - The National Psychology Board has released the March 2013 figures on Board approved supervisors. | Read Article

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

6 May 2013 - On the radar – Issue 125 (150KB).

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

8 May 2013 - Obesity and injury in the national hospital morbidity database.

Australia. Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

09 May 2013 - Quarterly bulletin 66 - The latest bulletin is now online. | Read Article

Australia. Health Workforce Australia (HWA)

Three new reports focus on clinical placements - HWA has published three reports focusing on clinical placements and all are available on this website from the links below: Clinical Training 2011.

Australia. CSIRO

Media releases

Bringing health services into our homes.

Australian Capital Territory. Health Directorate

6 May 2013 - My healthy food and drink choices.

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

8 May 2013 - Bathurst mental health facility to provide more help for local youth.

3 May 2013 - Minister announces extra $570,000 for Fairfield hospital beds and x-ray machine.

3 May 2013 - $100,000 boost for Camden hospital rehabilitation program.

3 May 2013 - Minister visits Wollondilly community health centre.

NSW health - Women's health framework 2013.

Northern Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

Robyn Lambley - Budget boost for patient assistance travel scheme.

Robyn Lambley - Territory midwives deliver the goods.

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

Radiation therapy for all Gold Coast cancer patients.

Mock Labour Day Revelation: Shadow Health Minister asked just four health questions in a year.

International day of the midwife: Queensland celebrates with six percent midwife pay rise.

6 May 2013 - New community education and prevention officers to assist HIV reduction (PDF 53KB).

7 May 2013 - New free HIV test gives faster results (PDF 53KB).

8 May 2013 - Statewide measles alert for Queensland (PDF 43KB).

Emergency Department Patient Experience Survey

South Australia. (SA) Department for Health & Ageing

Media releases

8 May 2013 - Less time in hospital with expansion of criteria led discharge program. A discharge process which helps reduce how long patients stay in hospital will soon be rolled out across SA's metropolitan public hospitals, following a successful three-month pilot at Flinders Medical Centre. | Read Article

3 May 2013 - New Community Mental Health Centre opens in northern suburbs. Northern residents will have easier access to mental health services thanks to Adelaide's third Community Mental Health Centre officially opening its doors in Salisbury. | Read Article

Summary of recommendations - Evaluation of the SA aged care assessment program and aged care assessment teams (PDF 156KB).

Final report - Evaluation of the SA aged care assessment program and aged care assessment teams (PDF 1MB).

6 May 2013 - Nursing and midwifery enterprise bargaining 2013 - Update 7 (PDF 143KB).

Victoria. Department of Health

Media release

7 May 2013 - Senior Victorians to win in state budget. The 2013-14 Victorian State Budget delivers on the Victorian Coalition Government's strong commitment to supporting older citizens, Minister for Ageing David Davis said today.

7 May 2013 - Victoria boosts its investment in the future workforce. The Victorian Coalition Government will invest a significant $238.3 million over four years to increase the number of doctors, nurses and other health professionals working in our health system to provide better services for Victorians, Minister for Health David Davis announced today.

7 May 2013 - Government launches $22 million investment for heart disease and stroke. The Victorian Coalition Government will invest $21.9 million over four years to improve Victoria's response to heart attacks and strokes, Health Minister David Davis announced today.

7 May 2013 - Coalition Government invests a record $14 billion in Victoria's health system. The Victorian Coalition Government will invest a record $14.3 billion in health in 2013/14 to treat more patients and manage the increasing pressure on the system, Minister for Health David Davis said today.

7 May 2013 - Budget boost for mental health beds, services and workers. The Victorian Coalition Government will spend an additional $70 million next year to better support Victorians with a mental illness or drug and alcohol addiction, Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said today.

7 May 2013 - Kiwi health alliance paves way for new innovations.

7 May 2013 - 2013-14 Victorian state budget released. Victoria's public health system receives a record $14.3 billion through the 2013-14 state budget.

Rural Workforce Innovation Grant Program - The Department of Health has funding available in 2013 for innovative workforce redesign and reform activities that focus on workforce utilisation and sustainability. For more information, please visit their web page.

6 May 2013 - Hospital Circular - Publication Number 07/ 2013. Subject: Further funding relating to the 2012 nurses and midwives enterprise agreement.

Composting organic waste from healthcare facilities (doc).

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

8 May 2013 - Minister for Health: Next step for Kalgoorlie health campus redevelopment.

7 May 2013 - Minister for Health: New initiative to address ambulance demand.

7 May 2013 - Minister for Mental Health: It's time to nominate: Good outcomes awards.

3 May 2013 - Premier, Minister for Health and Minister for Regional Development: New $170m Albany health campus opened.

2 May 2013 - Minister for Health: Surge in doctor numbers in the Great Southern.

2 May 2013 - IC 0145/13 - Australian civilian corps - Advice of the effect of leave without pay on employment entitlements for approved Australian Civilian Corps training and/or deployment.

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

Environmental Radioactivity in New Zealand and Rarotonga: Annual report 2011.

United Kingdom. Department of Health

4 May 2013 - New measures unveiled to protect people if care providers fail. New measures were announced today to protect people who rely on care services in the event their care home or service provider goes into administration.

8 May 2013 - Department of Health's response to the Avazz campaign about National Health Scheme (NHS) reform - Government response.

3 May 2013 - Healthy lives, healthy people: Towards a workforce strategy for the public health system - Consultation outcome.

9 May 2013 - Pharmaceutical needs assessments: Information pack - Guidance.

7 May 2013 - Special advisers gifts, hospitality and media meetings: October - December 2012 - Transparency data.

Canada. Health Canada

8 May 2013 - Harper Government strengthens drug safety with new standards - Good manufacturing practices now apply to all active pharmaceutical ingredients.

6 May 2013 - Minister of Health congratulates the winners of the 2013 National Award of Excellence in Nursing - Three dedicated nurses are recognized during national nursing week.

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

8 May 2013 - Administration offers consumers an unprecedented look at hospital charges. Today, as part of the Obama administration's work to make our health care system more affordable and accountable, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a three-part initiative that for the first time gives consumers information on what hospitals charge.

Australian Medical Association (AuMA)

Tax changes will downskill Australia's medical workforce

Medicare must be spared from budget cuts.

AuMA national conference 24 - 26 May 2013.

AuMA fee list update – 1 April 2013.

Chiropractors out of joint at Macquarie.

Spreading the message about the importance of immunisation.

Medical Journal of Australia appoints new Editor in Chief.

High bar set to dob in a doctor.

Dr Steve Hambleton to serve third term as AuMA President.

British Medical Association (BMA)

9 May 2013 - Grassroots juniors' pressure regains rest rooms. Rest rooms have been brought back into use at an NHS trust following concerns raised by junior doctors at a BMA conference.

8 May 2013 - Survey finds communication with NHS staff is lacking - Doctors leaders have urged health boards to engage with staff better after just one in five NHS workers said communication was effective.

3 May 2013 - BMA Q and A: the importance of sustainable healthcare. BMA medical fair and ethical trade group chair Peter Tiplady answers your questions. What is the NHS' sustainable development strategy?

Canadian Medical Association

9 May 2013 - NB doctors get countrywide support.

6 May 2013 - With packed agenda, heavy debate expected at annual meeting.

American Medical Association

22 April 2013 - AMA unveils first phase of improving health outcomes initiative: Cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The AMA announced the first phase of its new multi-year, multi-million dollar improving health outcomes (IHO) initiative: preventing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and improving health outcomes for those with these conditions.

7 May 2013 - AMA to hold webinar on risk benefit assessment for opioid prescribing. The AMA will host a free webinar to help physicians better understand the importance of risk-benefit assessments when prescribing opioids to patients with chronic pain.

6 May 2013 - AMA commends Georgia as the first state to adopt legal safeguards for physicians engaged in quality improvement. The AMA commends Georgia lawmakers for enacting legal protections for physicians engaged in quality and delivery improvement initiatives included in the federal health care reform law.

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