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Health Bulletin (17 August 2018)

The latest insights from our Health Law team.

In this edition:

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Australia’s largest cosmetic surgery clinic subject to parliamentary inquiry

A Parliamentary inquiry commenced regarding the NSW Cosmetic Institute’s failure to employ experienced and qualified surgeons to perform breast augmentation surgery.

Approximately 220 former patients have commenced a class action against the Institute, Australia’s largest cosmetic surgery clinic, for the life-threatening complications they received as a result of the poorly performed procedures. The whistleblower described that these surgeries were advertised as costing “a cup of coffee a day” and were marketed towards women of lower socio-economic status.

The findings into the Cosmetic Institute are part of the larger parliamentary inquiry into the cosmetic industry undertaken by the NSW Government.

Read more about the inquiry here


Government’s plans to strengthen privacy protections for my health record

In a media release on 31 July 2018, the Federal Minister for Health, Mr Greg Hunt announced that the Government will strengthen privacy provisions under the My Health Records Act 2012 (Cth) (Act), to match the existing Australian Digital Health Agency’s Privacy Policy (ADHA Policy).  This announcement was made after discussions between the Government and the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

The ADHA Policy requires a court order to release any My Health Record information without consent.

The Government’s plan to amend the Act will ensure no record can be released to police or government agencies, for any purpose, without a court order.

Mr Greg Hunt has also announced that the Government will also amend the Act to ensure that anyone wishes to cancel their records will be able to do so permanently, and their records will be deleted from the My Health Record system.

Read the media release here.


Australia’s tobacco plain packaging laws upheld by World Trade Organisation

A panel of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)has rejected complaints from Indonesia, Cuba, Honduras and the Dominican Republic that Australia’s plain packaging laws infringed tobacco trade marks and were inconsistent with Australia’s obligation under international agreements.

Australia’s plain packaging laws were introduced in December 2012, mandating that all tobacco products sold in Australia must be in plain packaging and carry health warnings.

You can read a summary of the WTO decision here.


Refreshed Food Allergen Portal released

Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) has launched its new Food Allergen Portal (Portal), which is designed to make it easier for people to navigate and access links to food allergy related resources and information.

The Portal was created through collaboration between the food industry, consumers and government and contains best practice food allergen resources.  FSANZ CEO, Mark Booth, introduced the new Portal stating that as food allergies can be a matter of life and death “all sectors of the community need to be aware of their responsibilities and how they can help people who have a food allergy”.

The Portal has tailored sections for manufacturers, retailers, hospitality, childcare and schools, health professionals, government and consumers. 

Access the refreshed Portal here.


Russell Kennedy Principal elected to international health body

Russell Kennedy Principal, Michael Gorton AM, was recently elected by the International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) as a founding member of its new Academy of Quality and Safety in Health Care (IAQS).

ISQua, is an international organisation supporting health systems in over 100 countries and 5 continents in relation to quality and safety for patients. The ISQua Board wished to recognise leaders in their field, either patients or professionals by establishing the Academy, and will this year appoint 35 founding members of the Academy from leading experts worldwide.

Micheal is one of those selected to be a founding member of the Academy.

Membership of the Academy is a mark of excellence of leadership within research, academia or service delivery in quality and safety and is considered one of the highest honours that an individual working in the area can receive. Membership of the Academy is for life.

Russell Kennedy is delighted that one of its principals has achieved such high recognition, recognising Micheal’s significant contribution to the Victorian and Australian health care sector. In Australia he is the Chair of AHPRA, the Chair of Alfred Health and a member of the Board of Ambulance Victoria.

Find out more about Michael Gorton AM here.

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