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Health Bulletin (12 November 2018)

The latest insights from our Health Law team.

In this edition:

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New clinical standard designed to prevent deaths related to blood clots

The first national Venous Thromboembolism Prevention Clinical Care Standard (Standard) has been developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (Commission) to support clinicians and health services to implement the delivery of high-quality care to prevent venous thromboembolism (VTE) acquired in hospital and following hospital discharge.

The Standard has been launched at the Alfred Hospital, and aims to address the threats posed by VTE, which kill four times as many people than road accidents.

The development of the Standard was proposed by states and territory health departments as a way of improving the uptake of appropriate VTE prophylaxis strategies.

The Standard has been endorsed by 12 key professional organisations and colleges including the Thrombosis & Haemostasis Society of Australia and New Zealand, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, the Australian Orthopaedic Association, and the Australian College for Emergency Medicine.

Read the Standard here.


Palliative Care Funding Model Review report published

In November 2017, the Victorian government engaged an expert panel to review palliative care offerings and services across Victoria to identify areas for improvement. The Panel, made up of Patricia Faulkner AO, Jennifer Williams and Carmel Smith published their Palliative Care Funding Model Review Report (Report) in October 2018.

The Panel undertook a review and consultation process before making seven recommendations which are set out in the Report. The recommendations include additional funding for community-based palliative care services and seeking increased activity in the use of community-based services for certain patient cohorts.

The Report also recommends better integration of palliative care with other services (such as hospitals) and supports the inclusion of more flexible palliative care arrangements which allow people to die at home. The Report acknowledges and recommends that further investment in technology and support systems is required to implement a more patient-centred approach to palliative care.

In the last 12 months, the government has provided an additional $23.4 million in funding which is intended to address some of the recommendations by increasing palliative care beds and access to home-based palliative care.

Read the Report here.


Immediate action against a practitioner in response to serious forced labour offences

Three concurrent Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Tribunal) matters have found that the immediate action taken to supervise the practices of Dr Farshchi, a registered acupuncturist, chiropractor and medical practitioner, was appropriate.

Dr Farshchi had been arrested and charged with serious “forced labour” offences for:

  • causing a person to enter into or remain in forced labour; and
  • conducting a business involving forced labour.

The offences related to Dr Farshchi’s employment of an Iranian refugee (referred to as “X”), who was often required to work in excess of 14 hour days without breaks, with insufficient or no pay. When X raised the issue of his payments or wanted to resign, Dr Farshchi allegedly made threats against his life and security. When the stress of his job caused X to vomit or to suffer pain in his legs and back, he recalled Dr Farshchi giving him Suboxone and Tramadol to ensure he could keep working. After taking the Suboxone on one occasion, X suffered a seizure and collapsed at work.

The Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic and Medical Boards of Australia responded to these charges by taking immediate action under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009. The immediate action imposed by each Board largely mirrored one another, requiring Dr Farshchi to be supervised by another registered practitioner when practising in each of his respective areas. The purpose of this action was to ensure the necessary level of oversight would be undertaken pending the outcome of his criminal proceedings.

The Tribunal found that the immediate action was warranted “in order to protect, uphold and give effect to the very principles which lie behind registration in each of the health professions in which Dr Farshchi practises”. It was held that, until the criminal matters had been resolved, it “would be counter to the public interest for Dr Farshchi to continue unrestricted practice”.

To read more click here.

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