Australia. Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
Freedom of Information - charges - whether agency should exercise discretion to reduce or not impose charge — (CTH) Freedom of Information Act 1982 ss 29(5)(a), 29(5)(b).
New South Wales
Cox, a general surgeon with a sub-specialty in gastrointestinal surgery, removed Fellow's gall bladder using diathermy. During diathermy, small clips are placed on a tube leading to the gall bladder, which remain in place after the procedure. Some months after the procedure, Fellows experienced a stricture near where the clips were placed, and sued for negligence. At first instance, the judge found the application of the diathermy "at or near the clip" on the cystic duct caused the structure. The application of the diathermy "at or near the clip" was a breach of duty because there was a departure from the required standard of care. Cox appealed.
The Court of Appeal had to decide:
- What was the cause of the stricture?
- Was the diathermy applied too close to the clips?
- If the diathermy being applied too close to the clips was the cause of the stricture, was this the result of Cox's negligence?
The Court rejected the appeal. The Court found Cox used diathermy too close to the clips, which was the direct cause of the stricture. The injury was avoidable and not an inherent risk. The doctor's departure from the discipline of following his usual technique did not involve a clinical judgment of how close to the clips he should exercise diathermy; rather it was a departure from the usual standard of care expected of the ordinary skilled person exercising and professing to have that special skill of a surgeon in Cox's position in the conduct of the procedure.
Victoria. Coroners Court
The deceased was born on 22 January 2007 at 34 weeks gestation via spontaneous vaginal delivery. No heart beat or respirations were recorded, and Apgars were 0 at one minute and 3 at five minutes. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was commenced and intubation was required. The baby was transferred from the district hospital to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at a tertiary hospital. It was decided, due to the poor neuronal state and severe brain damage shown on an electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), that intensive treatment would be withdrawn. The baby died on 27 January 2007.
The mother had an uneventful prenatal history, and there was no foetal distress during the spontaneous precipitant labour. Coroner Ollie relied on expert evidence given during the inquest throughout his findings. Issues identified included:
- The level of reliance on a fibronectin test;
- Monitoring of mother and baby, including CTG tracing and the decision to transfer the baby to a NICU;
- The utilisation of Newborn Emergency Transfer Service/Perinatal Emergency Referral Service, as both transportation and advice services; and
- Resuscitation of the baby.
It was concluded that much or all of the insult the baby sustained had occurred before the last hour or so of labour, in that he had established neurological abnormality at birth. It was concluded that it was unlikely that any action in the last hour or two of labour would have made any difference, and even if the mother had been transferred to a tertiary centre for the birth, the result would not have altered.
Western Australia (WA) State Administrative Tribunal
Health Practitioner Regulation - medical practitioner - disciplinary action - orders prepared by consent following mediation.
10 July 2013 - Dane County v Sheila W
This is a review of an unpublished opinion of the court of appeals dismissing this appeal because the issues presented are moot. The petitioner, Sheila W., is a minor who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. She opposed on religious grounds any life-saving blood transfusions and her parents supported her position.
Australia. Department of Health & Ageing
11 July 2013 - $500,000 upgrade of newstead medical officially opened. Residents in the Launceston area will benefit from a $500,000 federally funded upgrade to Newstead Medical.
11 July 2013 - Boosting the Health of Northern Tasmanians-The trial of an innovative exercise program, called Strength2strength will help Northern Tasmanians live healthier, more active lives.
11 July 2013 - Launceston General Hospital (LGH) acute medical unit officially opened. Official opening of the acute medical unit at Launceston General Hospital.
10 July 2013 - $13.5 million for primary health care research. The Minister for Health and Minister for Medical Research, Tanya Plibersek, has announced an extra $13.5 million for new primary care research, including Australia's first international primary health care research organisation.
10 July 2013 - New mental health help for Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Australians. A new mental health telephone counselling service will be established across the country for people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.
10 July 2013 - Training more specialist Doctors for Tasmania. Up to 51 additional training places for specialist doctors will be created in Tasmania's public hospitals to help meet demand in key areas, including general obstetrics and surgery.
09 July 2013 - Ballarat headspace to help young people through tough times. Young Ballarat residents with mental health issues will get better care and support with the launch of a new headspace service to help the region's 12 to 25 year olds.
9 July 2013 - Launch of new mobile mental health dervice for Melbourne. A partnership between Victoria Police, The Alfred Hospital and the Australian Government will create a mobile mental health service to help people with mental health crises in Melbourne's Bayside area.
8 July 2013 - Geelong cats promote the deadly choices message. The Geelong Football Club will run programs in Victoria to share anti-smoking, smoke-free and healthy lifestyle choice messages with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
5 July 2013 - Australia's first home care packages. The first Home Care packages for older Australians have been announced by Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Senator Jacinta Collins, as part of more than $500 million in new annual aged care funding.
4 July 2013 - Organ donation and transplantation benefiting more Northern Territorians. Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Shayne Neumann, has acknowledged the Northern Territory for its contribution to increasing organ donation outcomes as part of the Federal Government's national reform agenda.
3 July 2013 - Extra support for people living with Machado Joseph Disease (MJD) in the Territory. The Australian Government will provide more than $91,000 to further support people and their families living with MJD in the Northern Territory.
3 July 2013 - Paramedic science simulation centre to boost training opportunities. The number of paramedic students passing through a new paramedic science simulation centre at the University of Queensland's Ipswich campus is expected to increase significantly by 2014.
3 July 2013 - Stronger science base for food standards agency. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) will gain a stronger science base and continuity through the appointment of its new board.
1 July 2013 - Appointment to medical research portfolio. Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek comments on being sworn in Australia's first ever Federal Minister for Medical Research.
30 July 2013 - New generation medicines added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). A new medicine that can significantly extend the life of people with deadly melanoma (skin cancer) has been approved for inclusion in the PBS.
28 July 2013 - First early psychosis service opens in Melbourne. The first of nine new early psychosis services has been opened in South East Melbourne by Federal Minister for Mental Health Mark Butler.
28 July 2013 - Janette Hall Scholarship winners announced. Four health specialists in the organ and tissue donation sector will receive scholarships to further their professional development announced Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Shayne Neumann.
28 July 2013 - Severe mental illness support to flow through partnership services. Australians with severe and persistent mental illness will benefit from $472.7 million provided to organisations in 48 Medicare Local regions for coordinated and flexibly funded support.
28 July 2013 - Young people to benefit from new headspace sites. Fifteen new headspace youth mental health services will open across the country to support young people dealing with depression, substance abuse and other mental health issues.
Private Health Insurance Circulars
28 June 2013 - Schedule of resident fees and charges: from 1 July 2013
28 June 2013 - Accommodation Bond Balance Refund Interest Rates
Better Practice Guide to Complaint Handling in Aged Care Services. This booklet provides an evidence-based approach to complaint handling in a plain English, easy-to-understand format. It highlights the role of communication in effective complaint handling and the benefits of resolving complaints within a service.
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