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Welcome to the first edition of HCNSW’s eCircular
This regular circular aims to keep our members up to date with what is
happening across the health sector of relevance to consumers. We have
collated this information from across our networks.
If you have any information or items of interest you would like to see added to
the next eBulletin, please contact us at email@example.com
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Update
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) gives all Australian residents and
eligible overseas visitors access to prescription medicine in a way that is affordable, reliable and timely. Through the PBS, the Australian Government
subsidises the cost of listed prescription medicine. The Schedule of
Pharmaceutical Benefits lists all medicines available under the PBS.
The Schedule was updated on 1 July 2013 and the Summary of Changes can be
found on the PBS New, Amended and Deleted Items page. The following updates have also been made to the PBS Website: •
Post-Market Review of Medicines Used to Treat Asthma in Children
Cost Recovery - Annual Indexation of Fees
Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) audits GP Super Clinics
GP Super Clinics are large primary health care facilities that have been
established across Australia as part of National health reform. They aim to
provide well integrated patient centred care that is responsive to local
community needs and priorities. The Super Clinics are multidisciplinary,
meaning a range of different health professionals work with consumers in their
treatment planning and ongoing care.
The Report from the Australian National Audit Officer on the Administration of
the GP Super Clinics Program is now available. The audit found that overall the
Department of Health and Ageing’s administration of the Program has been
‘generally effective and consistent with government policy.’ The ANAO made
four recommendations, including that the ‘department document a better
practice approach for the assessment of value for money for health
infrastructure projects, and that ‘the GP Super Clinics performance and
reporting framework include measurable KPIs on the extent to which the
program is achieving its key intended outcomes.’
New website with information about Medicare Locals
A new website providing consumer information on Medicare Locals is now
available at: www.medicarelocals.gov.au Clinical Excellence Commission – Partnering with Patients Program
The Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) was established in 2004 to promote
and support improved clinical care, safety and quality across NSW.
The CEC has established the Partnering with Patients program to foster the
inclusion of patients and family as care team members to promote safety and
The Program recognises the importance of improving quality of care by
responding to the needs and preferences of patients while equally engaging
staff in creating supportive environments for all. Initiatives include the Patient-
Based Care Challenge that sees NSW Local Health Districts (LHDs) sign up to and
publish strategies to improve patient-centred care. As part of this, LHDs work
to implement REACH, an approach that enables patients and families to
escalate concerns about their or their loved one’s condition in hospital.
To find out if your LHD has signed up to the Patient-Based Care Challenge, and
what they are doing to improve patient-based care, check out the Program
website at http://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/programs/partnering-with-
To subscribe to the Partnering with Patients Update e-newsletter, email
firstname.lastname@example.org International Alliance of Patients’ Organisations (IAPO) endorses AllTrials
IAPO is a global alliance representing consumers of all nationalities across all
disease areas and promoting patient-centred healthcare around the world.
IAPO has endorsed the international AllTrials campaign, which is calling for all clinical trials (past and present) to be registered and their results reported. IAPO believes this campaign is relevant to consumers for a number of reasons, including issues around: protection of the rights and welfare of patients, ensuring that patients have access to quality information regarding clinical trials, and meaningful informed consent to health care. For more information, visit the IAPO website here.
Therapeutic Goods Administration
‘Therapeutic goods’ are products used in health care, including prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, complementary healthcare products, and other medical products. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the part of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing responsible for ensuring that therapeutic goods available in Australia are of an acceptable standard
Trans-Tasman early warning system
The TGA and the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe) have established early warning systems in Australia and New Zealand. These will better identify and provide alerts on potential safety concerns associated with medicines or medical devices. Details are available on the TGA website.
TGA improves transparency on compliance
The TGA actively monitors the quality, safety and performance of therapeutic goods when they become available to consumers, to ensure that products continue to comply with its requirements. The TGA has recently made this process more visible to the public by publishing information on compliance actions on its website, including on matters relating to advertising and unlawful products. The TGA Regulatory Compliance Framework is available here.
Listed Medicines – consumer information from the TGA
Listed medicines are medicines with well-known low-risk ingredients, usually with a long history of use, such as vitamin and mineral products or sunscreens. The TGA website has been updated with information for consumers on listed medicines including:
• Their supply • The things the TGA does and does not look at • How listed medicines are regulated once they are in the market place • What consumers should be aware of • What to tell a health professional if taking a listed medicine
Click here to view the Listed Medicines page for consumers on the TGA website.
The TGA has a weekly email update that summarises alerts and recalls, general news and current consultations. View the latest update and subscribe here. Recent news include:
• The Database of Adverse Events Notification now includes medicines
• TGA goes mobile with a new mobile friendly version of the TGA
• Current consultations including on regulatory guidelines for
complementary medicines and a consultation regulation impact statement on regulation of the promotion of therapeutic goods to the general public (Consumers Health Forum is providing a submission)
Alerts and recalls over the last month include:
• Medtronic Paradigm insulin infusion sets • GNY slimming pills - labelled as MSV, ESV and GRL • Glenosphere Orientation Guides
• MMC Maxman V capsules • Cyproterone: Products containing cyproterone with ethinyloestradiol,
TGA warns of the risks of buying medicines and medical devices online
The TGA has created a section on the TGA website to warn consumers of the risks in obtaining medicines and medical devices online and via international websites. It covers information on:
• Buying medicines and medical devices over the Internet • Counterfeit medicines and devices • Personal Importation Scheme- bringing unapproved medicines or
medical devices into Australia by mail, courier or in person.
Have your say! Consultations, representation and
requests for feedback Consumers, the health system and health literacy: Taking action to improve
safety and quality
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has completed
the consultation version of Consumers, the health system and health literacy:
Taking action to improve safety and quality and has started a national
The Commission welcomes any submissions on the paper and/or the issue of
health literacy in general. Instructions on how to provide a submission are
included in the paper and on the Commission's web site:
care/health-literacy/ Consumers Health Forum and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation
Agency: Working in Partnership to Engage with the Community
Consumers Health Forum (CHF) began working with the Australian Health
Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) in 2012 to build and sustain effective
community engagement with health practitioner regulation and the National
Scheme. The project aims to:
• Increase community understanding of how health practitioner
• Facilitate community input into the development of standards, codes,
guidelines and policies, and advice on consultation opportunities.
As part of the project, CHF is continuing its consumer survey on AHPRA. The survey will gather community views on the regulation of health professionals and measure community awareness of AHPRA’s work. You can complete the survey here. CHF also encourages you to distribute the survey to your networks. For more information about the project, please contact CHF Policy Manager
Maiy Azize at email@example.com or on (02) 6273 5444. Community Quality Use of Medicines and Medical Tests Project
The National Prescribing Service – NPS Medicinewise – is an independent
organisation that provides tools and information for consumers and health
professionals about medicines, health conditions and medical tests. Their
website, which has a broad range of useful resources, can be found at
Consumers Health Forum (CHF) works in collaboration with NPS MedicineWise
to provide a consumer perspective on issues relating to the quality use of
medicines (QUM) through the Community Quality Use of Medicines and
Medical Tests project.
The 2012-13 cycle of the project focused on exploring the QUM issues faced by
carers, consumers in acute care, and people with disabilities. CHF and NPS
Medicinewise also produced three resources with the aim of supporting
consumer representatives, and to act as sources of information for consumers
more broadly, about issues relating to medicines. Two are information
documents titled, ‘Understanding Quality Use of Medicines’, and ‘The Cost of
Prescription Medicines’, with the third being a glossary of key terms and
definitions relating to medicines.
The first of these resources, a Factsheet on 'Understanding Quality Use of
' is now available on CHF’s website, here. If you have any questions,
please contact CHF Project and Communications Officer Carlo Malaca at
firstname.lastname@example.org or on (02) 6273 5444.
Ministerial Announcements NSW Health Minister, Jillian Skinner (26 July 2013)
Ambulance turnaround times improving in NSW hospitals
Health Minister Jillian Skinner has welcomed the release of a report by Auditor-
General Peter Achterstraat into ambulance turnaround times in NSW hospitals.
The Reducing Ambulance Turnaround Time At Hospital report shows 83 per
cent of ambulance patients are transferred into a hospital’s care within the
target 30 minutes, with 33 per cent transferred within 10 minutes.
To view the full media release, go to: http://bit.ly/13BPtxX
Federal Minister for Health, Tanya Plibersek (01 August 2013)
Government Delivers $20 Million Medicine Price Drop for Patients
Patients will save around $20 million per year on the price of 492 brands of
medicine, thanks to the Federal Government's pharmaceutical pricing policy,
designed to get better value for consumers and taxpayers. The Minister for
Health, Tanya Plibersek, said the price drops for the 492 brands of medicines
start today, saving consumers up to $120 per year for some medicines, and up
to $14.68 per script.
To view the full media release, go to: http://bit.ly/13BRzxQ
NSW Acting Health Minister, Kevin Humphries (02 August 2013)
44 More Paramedics For Regional NSW
Acting Health Minister Kevin Humphries has announced 44 new positions for
paramedics across regional NSW.
To view the full media release, go to: http://bit.ly/13BPjqq
NSW Minister for Mental Health, Kevin Humphries (02 August 2013)
Innovative New Service Set To Reform Mental Health Delivery In NSW
NSW Minister for Mental Health, Kevin Humphries, has announced that
expressions of interest are being called for a pilot that will reform the way
mental health services are delivered for adults in NSW.
To view the full media release, go to: http://bit.ly/13BP9PS
Health Calendar August 2013
Event: Australian Disease Management Association Conference
Event: Catholic Health Australia National Conference
Dates: 26/08/2013 – 28/08/2013
Link: http://www.cha.org.au/events/national-conference-2013.html September 2013
Event: 12th Australian Palliative Care Conference
Dates: 03/09/2013 – 06/09/2013
Event: 17th Annual Chronic Diseases Network Conference 2013
Dates: 09/09/2013 – 10/09/2013
Link: http://www.cdnconference.com.au/index.htm October 2013
Event: 2013 Australasian HIV & AIDS Conference
Dates: 21/10/2013 – 23/10/2013
Event: 2013 Australasian Sexual Health Conference
Dates: 23/10/2013 – 25/10/2013
Event: Translational Cancer Research Conference: Building cancer
research capacity to improve patient outcomes
Dates: 23/10/2013 – 25/10/2013
Link: http://www.translationalcancerresearchconference.info November 2013
Event: FECCA Conference 2013: Breaking down the barriers: A
strength-based approach for a just society
Location: Gold Coast
Dates: 07/11/2013 – 08/11/2013
Event: National Primary Health Care Conference 2013
Location: Gold Coast
Dates: 13/11/2013 – 15/11/2013
Event: National Youth Health Conference 2013: Investing in Young
Dates: 13/11/2013 – 15/11/2013
Event: Health Workforce Australia's 2013 National Conference
Location: Adelaide Convention Centre, North Terrace, South Australia
Dates: 18/11/2013 – 20/11/2013
Details: Over 700 health workforce leaders and educators from around
Australia and overseas will be coming together to learn from
expert opinion and explore the latest ideas on leadership,
innovation and workplace reform.
Event: National Indigenous Health Conference
Dates: 25/11/2013 – 27/11/2013
Link: http://www.indigenoushealth.net December 2013
Event: World Diabetes Congress
Dates: 02/12/2013 – 06/12/2013
Please note that this eCircular is collated from a range of sources. As such,
HCNSW is unable to guarantee the accuracy of information included.
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