Publication Date 01/04/2014         Volume. 6 No. 3   
Information to Pharmacists

Editorial

From the desk of the editor

Business is tight!
Cash flow has evaporated!
The PGA calls for unity while simultaneously dismembering the business of consultant pharmacists.
The federal government continues to strip massive funds from the PBS to the extent that it is gasping for air.
Oh, and I forgot, the Revive Clinic thinks that pharmacists cannot vaccinate patients in community pharmacies ( It is actually a warehouse pharmacy group trying to destabilise the market here to push fellow-pharmacists off balance by supporting the Revive group).
Even wage-earning pharmacists have discovered that they have not had a rise in their pay over the past five years

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The Heavy Hand of the Law

Staff Writer

articles by this author...

Editing and Researching news and stories about global and local Pharmacy Issues

Health privacy for indigenous women and children can no longer be guaranteed as their privacy rights have been set aside by by the Federal Court. In a community where trust is very hard to win, it will be more difficult to find victims of child abuse willing to volunteer information when their privacy concerns are set aside without protection. Just another burden that health workers will have to deal with.

Source: news.com.au

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Cops win access to teen medical records

The national crime watchdog can access the private health records of eight teenage girls after special powers granted to it as part of the federal intervention were tested for the first time in court.

But outraged health groups claim the Federal Court ruling will result in a breakdown of trust between vulnerable children and the doctors trying to help them.

In May last year, a remote Northern Territory Aboriginal health group was ordered to hand over the detailed personal and medical records of eight girls, aged between 13 and 15.

They had been fitted with Implanon contraceptive implants by the clinic.

The information was sought as part of Australian Crime Commission (ACC) investigations into the under-reporting of child abuse, prompted by the federal intervention into remote NT communities.

The watchdog had been granted coercive powers to summon documents and compel witnesses to disclose evidence only two months earlier.

But the clinic refused to relinquish the material, saying it would break the trust between doctors and patients.

Federal Court Justice John Reeves upheld this position when he ruled last October the ACC had failed to put the best interests of the children first.

The crime watchdog appealed his decision and the full bench of the Federal Court on today quashed the ruling in the first legal test of the ACC's coercive intervention powers.

"This appeal demonstrates the often difficult decisions confronting administrative decision-makers," said Chief Justice Michael Black, Justice John Mansfield and Justice Annabelle Bennett.

"It thus highlights the heavy responsibility upon such decision-makers to exercise the relevant power carefully and responsibly."

However, the Federal Court did find the ACC must take into account the concerns of the health provider and the effect on the children, the three judges said.

Paul Bauert, president of the NT Branch of the Australian Medical Association, said the ruling would result in a "breakdown of trust and confidentiality".

"The harm done by this decision will far outweigh any benefits from the decision," he told ABC radio in Darwin.

"The public health implications are that young people will not seek advice about sexual health, will not seek advice about early pregnancy, will not seek advice about contraception and will be reluctant to attend to antenatal clinics... confidentiality between patients is sacrosanct."

ACC chief executive John Lawler said the coercive powers - introduced after a culture of secrecy in remote communities had hamstrung investigations - were exercised under a strict legislative framework.

He could not reveal whether investigators would use the Federal Court ruling to access the teenagers' files.

"The ACC does not comment on operational matters," he said.

"It is an offence ... to disclose details on the use of coercive powers. This is designed to provide protection and privacy to individuals and organisations involved."

Mr Lawler said "paramount consideration" was given to the best interests of all indigenous children.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,25761612-17001,00.html?from=public_rss

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