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Health Bulletin (30 October 2018)

The latest insights from our Health Law team.

In this edition:

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Government says it will take “sweeping steps” to support the transvaginal mesh implant recommendations

A recent Senate Inquiry into the adverse impacts of transvaginal mesh implants raised awareness of the traumatic experiences experienced by women who have undergone mesh-related procedures.  As a result, the Inquiry was able to identify how women who have been affected by these procedures are being recognised and supported.

With the intention of making improvements to Australia’s health care system, the Inquiry has raised 13 recommendations.  In response, the Government has stated that they will support 12 of these 13 recommendations in principle, in order to restore confidence in the health care system for those persons affected.

In the meantime, the Government has advised they are already taking action to improve patient information, re-classify surgical mesh products, streamline reporting of adverse events, introduce new Medicare Benefits Schedule items for surgical repair, introduce further resources to guide clinical practice and launch the new TGA “web hub” with information on transvaginal mesh.

Read the Department’s media release here.

AMA raises concerns for human health as a result of climate change

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has made a public statement following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent report.  In the report, the IPCC has urged that global warming should be limited to 1.5°C rather than 2°C but that the necessary measures would require far-reaching changes across society.

The AMA’s states that the report reiterates the position that climate change affects human health as it results in more environments and situations, such as heatwaves, in which infectious diseases can be transmitted.  The IPCC report has concluded that the effects on health would be far more severe if global warming is limited to 2°C.

The IPCC report highlighted that some of the potential consequences of global warming at 2°C include higher rates of heat related deaths and higher risks of air-borne viruses transmitted through mosquitoes.  The AMA considers this a high priority and has urged the government to act accordingly.

Read the AMA’s media release here and position statement here.

Read the IPCC’s report here.

Hair implants refusal puts company in HIV discrimination spotlight

A hair-loss treatment clinic was forced to apologise to a HIV-positive man it refused to treat after Queensland's Anti-discrimination Commission concluded its investigations.  This is one of several cases highlighted in the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland's annual report for 2017-18 (Report).

In this case, a man sought a direct hair implantation procedure from the hair-loss treatment clinic in Queensland, and was advised that the clinic did not provide hair implantation service to HIV-positive patients, due to the risk of needle stick injury. At conciliation, the clinic explained they did not provide the service due to safety concerns.

The complaint was resolved with the patient on the basis that the clinic agreed to the following:

  1. provide a written apology;
  2. financial compensation to the patient;
  3. make donations to a legal centre and a not-for-profit support agency of an agreed amount;
  4. arrange for expert training for its employees about blood borne viruses (such as HIV), including risks of exposure and transmission; and
  5. arrange for discrimination training for its employees.

Read the full Report here.

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