Australia: Health Alert (Australia) - 20 May 2013

2013 Federal Budget

Please find the budget papers below:

Budget speech

Budget at a glance

Health extracts from the Federal Budget

DisabilityCare Australia

  • Investment in DisabilityCare Australia of $14.9 billion over seven years - Australia'smost fundamental social policy reform since Medicare.
  • Raising the Medicare levy by half a percentage point to provide a strong and enduringfunding stream for DisabilityCare Australia.

Investing in key health services

  • $226 million to improve cancer prevention, detection, treatment and research, and providebetter patient care and support.
  • $691 million over five years in new listings under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,including for chronic nerve pain, hepatitis C and Parkinson's disease.

Budget overview

Budget paper No.1

Budget paper No.2

Budget paper No.3

Budget paper No.4

Special accounts extract

Appropriation bills

Mid-year economic and fiscal outlook

Final budget outcome

Portfolio budget statements

Portfolio additional estimates statements

Ministerial statements


Victoria. Coroners Court

10 May 2013 - Inquest into the death of Joseph Thurgood-Gates COR - 2010 - 4851 Joseph Thurgood-Gates died, aged five days, having suffered hypoxic brain injury during delivery that was incompatible with meaningful survival. Cause of death was global cerebral hypoxic injury and peri-partum asphyxia in a setting of uterine rupture.

Joseph's mother wished to avoid medical intervention in her pregnancy, labouring and birthing, so engaged a private midwife for a home delivery. She previously had two caesareans, and her obstetrician warned her of the serious risks of vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC) and that there was a 2% chance of uterine rupture. She rejected the advice to deliver by caesarean.

Joseph's mother went into labour at 42 weeks gestation and was assisted at home by three midwives. After 5.5 hours she was transferred to hospital due to persistent foetal bradycardia. Joseph was born 30 minutes later in very poor condition. His mother experienced life-threatening post-partum haemorrhage and required surgery which identified uterine rupture. Five days later, Joseph's life support was discontinued.

Coroner Parkinson found that Joseph's death was preventable had labour and delivery occurred in a hospital with appropriate monitoring and medical and midwifery management. Joseph's mother held misguided views about the risks associated with VBAC and home birth. Her midwife's failure to provide clear advice on this contributed to her disregarding obstetric advice that caesarean delivery was the safest option. Her Honour recommended the Health Minister consider regulating home birth services, and developing an information resource for prospective parents on birthing options.

New South Wales. (NSW) Medical Tribunal

19 April 2013 - Balafras v Medical Council of NSW - [2013] NSWMT 4

The applicant applied for reinstatement after he was deregistered in 2010. The Medical Council neither consented nor opposed the application, but sought stringent conditions be imposed if the applicant was successful. The applicant had been deregistered as a general medical practitioner due to his illicit use of Pethidine and Fentanyl, alcohol abuse and inappropriate use of Stilnox. He was disallowed from applying for re-registration for a minimum of two years.

In considering his application for reinstatement, the Tribunal was required to determine whether the applicant had discharged the heavy onus in demonstrating sufficient insight into his former addictions and reform of character to allow him to be reinstated as a medical practitioner. He had to demonstrate reformation of character such that patients and colleagues could confidently expect that he would resume the position of trust expected of a medical practitioner, demonstrating the characteristics of a fit and proper person entitled to membership of the medical profession.

The Tribunal found that the applicant demonstrated his abstinence from the use of illicit drugs and alcohol, a shift in his character, and that he made out his case for reinstatement. The Tribunal therefore ordered his reinstatement as a medical practitioner, but imposed onerous practice and health conditions. These required the applicant to, among other things, practise only in a group general practice accredited as a teaching practice by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and approved by the Council, and disallowed him from prescribing, possessing, supplying, administering, handling or dispensing Schedule 4D or Schedule 8 drugs.

New South Wales. Physiotherapists Tribunal

1 May 2013 - HCCC v Mr Trac Quang Ha (No 2) - [2013] NSWPYT 1

Physiotherapist - professional misconduct - false and misleading claims to insurance company - destruction of original clinical records - inadequate record keeping - appropriate protective orders - costs.

Victorian Civil & Administrative Tribunal

3 May 2013 - Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (Review and Regulation) v Dizon [2013] VCAT 646.



Therapeutic goods (listing) notice 2013 (No. 2).

Private health insurance (Data Provision) amendment rules 2013 (No. 1).

Medicare Levy Amendment (DisabilityCare Australia) Bill 2013. Second reading speech House of Representatives on 15 May 2013

DisabilityCare Australia Fund Bill 2013. Second reading speech House of Representatives on 15 May 2013

Northern Territory

Alcohol Mandatory Treatment Bill 2013. Introduced into the Legislative Assembly on 15 May 2013.


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

16 May 2013 - National palliative care week.

16 May 2013 - Private health insurance cover at record high.

14 May 2013 - Delivering for older Australians.

14 May 2013 - Gillard Government continues record ongoing investment in health.

14 May 2013 - Gillard Government funds fight against cancer.

14 May 2013 - New award to recognise achievement in gynaecological cancers.

Review to determine correct subsidy for chemotherapy infusions.

Avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak in China (H7N9).

Australia. National Mental Health Commission

15 May 2013 - Shining a light on youth.

14 May 2013 - Commission statement on Victorian mental illness awareness council report: Zero tolerance for sexual assault..

13 May 2013 - How are we going? You tell us...

Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency & the boards

17 May 2013 - Call for nominations or expressions of interest for health practitioners and community members to join the Psychology Board of Australia's list of approved persons for panel appointments. | Read Article

16 May 2013 - The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia is reminding nurses and midwives to renew registration by 31 May. | Read Article

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care

13 May 2013 - On the Radar – Issue 126 (93KB).

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW)

17 May 2013 - Osteoarthritis - media release.

14 May 2013 - AIHW access magazine no. 35, 2013.

Australia. National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC)

14 May 2013 - Chief executive officer (CEO) update: Outcomes of the 2013-14 budget for NHMRC.

Australian Capital Territory. (ACT) Health Directorate

Media release

15 May 2013 - New strategy to boost chronic condition management options - Katy Gallagher, MLA.

16 May 2013 - Salmonella outbreak update.

15 May 2013 - Food poisoning outbreak. Health is also investigating an outbreak of gastroenteritis linked to another food premises.

15 May 2013 - Salmonella outbreak: Update. See here for an update on the Salmonella outbreak.

15 May 2013 - Emergency response deactivated. Health has deactivated emergency response protocols at Canberra and Calvary Hospital following this week's outbreak.

14 May 2013 - Salmonella Activates Emergency Response. ACT health today activated emergency response protocols at Calvary and Canberra hospital.

14 May 2013 - Salmonella Outbreak in the ACT. Canberra is experiencing an outbreak of gastroenteritis, in some cases caused by salmonella bacteria.

14 May 2013 - Expect delays at ACT emergency departments. Expect delays at Calvary and Canberra hospital emergency departments due to increased presentations.

13 May 2013 - ACT Chronic Conditions Strategy 2013-18. This strategy sets a direction for the care and support of those living with chronic conditions in the ACT over the next five years.

10 May 2013 - ACT Public Health Services Performance Report. The quarterly performance report is a consolidated quarterly activity report on the performance of ACT public health services.

New South Wales. Ministry of Health

Media releases

15 May 2013 - Council of mental health champions formed.

13 May 2013 - NSW paramedics deserve respect not rage.

13 May 2013 - Time to seek a greater understanding of schizophrenia.

12 May 2013 - Minister marks international nurses day with new awards.

11 May 2013 - Neurosurgeon honoured by United States congress.

Policy directive

14 May 2013 - Engagement of therapists on a sessional basis - PD2013_008.

New South Wales. Bureau of Health Information

Reporting ambulance performance in hospital quarterly (53.5 KB PDF).

Northern Territory. Department of Health

Robyn Lambley - Palmerston hospital on track. Planning for the delivery of a Palmerston hospital has moved a step closer with the Government's $5 million commitment to a scoping study and master plan development.

Robyn Lambley - Mandatory Alcohol Treatment Bill introduced today. Alcohol Rehabilitation Minister, Robyn Lambley, today tabled the Country Liberals Government's proposed Mandatory Alcohol Treatment Bill in the Northern Territory Parliament.

Robyn Lambley - Boost for gulf health services. Residents of the Numbulwar community will get a new health centre under funding provided in Budget 2013.

Robyn Lambley - Health infrastructure boost in Arafura. Health facilities in the Arafura electorate receive a welcome cash injection in Budget 2013.

Robyn Lambley - Improving elective surgery outcomes. Medical staff at Royal Darwin and Alice Springs Hospitals are on track to meet a number of key elective surgery targets - including the Government's commitment to perform 400 additional elective procedures by July.

Robyn Lambley - Kaltukatjara clinic upgrade. The border community of Kaltukatjara has received funding in Budget 2013 to upgrade its health centre.

Robyn Lambley - Massive boost to territory health budget. A significant funding boost into the Territory's health system will fund increased services, the Government's alcohol reforms, improve access to cardiac procedures, boost patient assisted travel and deliver much-needed infrastructure to regional areas.

Robyn Lambley - New government emergency department on track. Planning for works on a new Emergency Department at Gove District Hospital is taking shape, with the scope of the new facility now finalised and the construction tender to be issued within months.

Robyn Lambley - New health clinic for canteen creek. Budget 2013 commits the Territory Government to building a new health centre at the Canteen Creek community, about 300km south-east of Tennant Creek.

Robyn Lambley - Responsible funding for frontline services. The Country Liberals Government is committed to delivering better front-line services and infrastructure across the Northern Territory – and the non-Government sector is critical to achieving that goal.

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

Fake hospital sale an insult to nurses: Springborg - Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg says nurses are being exploited by the Labor Party and union bosses in a cynical campaign to promote the privatisation of hospitals for political purposes.

Jamie's food day adding fuel to cooking revolution fire - Queenslanders are being encouraged to get back in the kitchen on May 17 as part of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day.

Queensland in fight to free Papua New Guinea from tuberculosis - Queensland will help Papua New Guinea in its fight to combat tuberculosis and other diseases, by contributing support to the construction of a new hospital at Daru in the Western Province of the country.

Federal health cuts – Springborg asks "please explain." Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has demanded a "please explain" from the Federal Government over a pre-budget press release which projects a further $400 million in Federal health funding cuts in 2013-14.

All Queensland health unions remain silent on cusp of Federal Budget - On the cusp of the Federal Government's 2013/14 budget, not a single health union boss in Queensland has issued any media statement relating to health funding in 2013/14 despite fears the Labor Government will see through its threat to slash a further $89.5 million in promised funding to Queensland.

Queensland developed bird flu test an Australian first - Pathology Queensland laboratory technicians are the first in Australia to develop a test for the new bird flu; H7N9.

International nurses day an opportunity to recognise nurses and mothers - Amidst the breakfasts in bed and the flowers marking Mothers' Day, a second worldwide celebration is under way - International Nurses Day.

Health Minister offers praise for supporters and staff at Toowoomba Hospice - Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, has visited Toowoomba Hospice and expressed his admiration for the achievements of staff and supporters who provide the best possible environment for local people in the final phase of life.

Emergency department patient experience survey.

Partner with Queensland health: register your ideas and view the contestability pipeline.

South Australia. (SA) Department for Health & Ageing

Media releases

15 May 2013 - Dental patients to be seen sooner under new deal. More dental patients will be able to be seen sooner after South Australia signed a National Partnership Agreement with the Federal Government. | Read Article

14 May 2013 - Construction starts at Port Lincoln Hospital. A better hospital offering more services for the people of Lower Eyre Peninsula is one step closer with construction starting today on the $39.2 million redevelopment of the Port Lincoln Hospital. | Read Article

13 May 2013 - Nurses and midwives honoured at awards night. Outstanding nurses and midwives across South Australia have been recognised at the 13th Annual SA Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards. | Read Article

15 May 13 - New CEO for Country Health SA.

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

16 May 2013 - Revised booklet to help Tasmanians who have a family member with a disability.

13 May 2013 - Next steps for DisabilityCare Australia in Tasmania.

13 May 2013 - Child protection improves after Ombudsman's report.

Victoria. Department of Health

Media releases

16 May 2013 - Recognition and support for palliative care volunteers. Minister for Health David Davis today launched the Victorian palliative care volunteering strategy, which was developed following detailed research and broad consultation with volunteers and the sector.

15 May 2013 - Federal Budget papers confirm Canberra short-changed Victorian hospitals and patients. The Commonwealth Budget papers confirm that the Federal Government is stripping $368 million in promised health funding from Victorian health services over the next three years, Minister for Health David Davis said today.

14 May 2013 - Plibersek – biggest funding cutter in the history of Australian Health Ministers. The Federal Government continues to bend the truth when comparing its own health funding with Victoria's commitments, Minister for Health David Davis said today.

14 May 2013 - Report gives a first ever clear picture on outpatient waits. For the first time, Victoria has a clear stocktake on Labor's performance in outpatients, which showed a chaotic system where no one knew what was going on, with a disparate and detached collection system, Minister for Health David Davis said today.

14 May 2013 - Federal funding fiasco hurts Victorian hospitals. The impact of Federal health funding cuts continues to hurt Victorian hospitals and patients, Minister for Health David Davis said today.

13 May 2013 - Ballarat hospital expansion ready to start. Work is gearing up in preparation for the major Ballarat Hospital expansion and new helipad, with the construction due to commence within the next year, Minister for Health David Davis said today.

14 May 2013 - Novel Coronavirus (NCoV) – alert for Health professionals.

Western Australia. (WA) Department of Health

Media release

13 May 2013 - Grey nomads urged to plan ahead before heading north.

WA health performance report – January to March 2013 quarter (PDF 742KB).

New Zealand. Ministry of Health

17 May 2013 - Consultation on paying family carers to provide disability support: Summary report..

16 May 2013 - Statement of intent 2013 to 2016: Ministry of Health.

14 May 2013 - Prescribing controlled drugs in addiction treatment.

United Kingdom. Department of Health

£10 million funding for hospital aftercare for the homeless - Homeless people are to receive better help once they leave hospital thanks to £10 million funding, Public Health Minister Anna Soubry announced today.

Australian Medical Association

Government targets sick people to reduce Budget deficit.

British Medical Association

Growing up in the UK - Updated from 1999, this major new report brings together latest research and calls for urgent action to improve child health - Download the report and find out more.

Canadian Medical Association (CMA)

16 May 2013 - CMA's accreditation program still growing after 75 years.

13 May 2013 - Socio-economic factors responsible for 20% of health care spending.

10 May 2013 - CMA town-hall meeting: "Tell me your postal code and I will tell you your life expectancy"

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