Have You Heard?
New DG in a state of grace Perhaps the worst-kept secret in government circles: news on St Patrick’s Day that Dr David Russell-Weisz will take over as Director General of Health in August having overseen the opening of Fiona Stanley Hospital as its commissioning CEO. The Health Minister was his usual chipper self at the media conference conﬁrming the appointment. “Dr Russell-Weisz will preside over a largely reconstructed health system. As well as Fiona Stanley, we have new hospitals in Albany, Busselton and Kalgoorlie-Boulder and will soon open hospitals at Midland and Karratha as well as the Perth Children’s Hospital,” Dr Hames omitted to mention the HDWA searched for two years but were unable to ﬁnd anyone suitable outside WA. The Serco contract at FSH may gain the new DG’s early attention. Dr David Russell-Weisz
Pharmacy audit controversy
Prostaglandin window increases
The RACGP and the Consumers Health Forum based in Canberra have called for a full inquiry into the ﬁndings from the audit of the $15b agreement between the Federal Health Department and the Pharmacy Guild. The CHF is calling for a full and public inquiry into what it says is widespread and signiﬁcant failures of administration, which is wasting taxpayer money. It cites the Australian National Audit Ofﬁce’s investigation into the administration of the 5CPA, which found “persistent shortcomings”, including the unapproved transfer of $127m, and reallocation of $5.8m for a Guild-run program, without ministerial approval. The system, it says, hasn’t been evaluated in 25 years and it’s time it was. The 5CPA has been extended for another year, but it looks like Health Minister Sussan Ley will move to close loopholes and have widespread consultation next time round.
Early prostaglandin medical termination of pregnancy has increased from 49 to 63 days gestation with MS-2 Step (mifepristone, misoprostol) release on the PBS. After prostaglandin treatment, the choice is either none or surgical termination, so the new product allows an extra 14-day window for treatment at home, which the manufacturers say is good for rural women. Doctors were required to recertify to prescribe at www.ms2step.com.au.
Getting serious over FVROs Attorney General Michael Mischin will introduce Family Violence Restraining Orders (FVRO). Victims, usually vulnerable women, will ﬁnd it easier to get a FVRO: by reporting behaviour intended to intimidate, coerce or control (rather than prove an act of abuse); downgrading a magistrate’s discretion in issuing a FVRO; and asking courts to adopt
a risk management approach by listening to reports from government agencies and perhaps ordering compulsory counselling for perpetuators. Around 45,000 incidents of family violence were reported to WA Police in 2012, with a 250% increase in the last 10 years – a whole-of-community approach is needed because policing has failed in the past.
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