Residential Aged Care Coronial Communique 2

I have written about the Residential Aged Care Communiqué before. It is a great resource that highlights selected cases that have been reported to the State Coroner’s Office that may interest the Aged Care Community.


You can subscribe by email at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine with the communiqué becoming available online much later. The December edition arrived in my mailbox, well, in December, but I have only just noticed it. The download is below as it is not yet available on the website.

Being summer the December edition focuses on the health effects of hot weather and heat-waves on deaths in the elderly.

Download (PDF, 149KB)

Care and Protection of Children Act Amendments– Northern Territory

The ‘Care and Protection of Children Act’ in the Northern Territory in its short life has undergone several amendments. The ramifications of the legislation were far reaching and impacted on the way healthprofessionals, particularly doctor could interact with younger patients. As I wrote at the time:

This meant that doctors had to compulsorily report any child under the age of 16 who they suspected of having sexual intercourse. This would have ruined any patient confidentiality with these kids, probably more with the girls dealing with teenage pregnancy.

Even sillier, it was interpreted that the sale of condoms to anyone under sixteen years also had to be reported to the authorities.

I guess it’s no surprise, but the legislation has been amended yet again. The correspondence explaining the changes states:

The amendments followed extensive consultation with a range of professional groups, including lawyers and medical practitioners, who were concerned that the then-law may have the unintended consequence of discouraging sexually active young people from seeking confidential advice and care on medical, psychological and other issues relating to sexual health matters.

You can read that as health professionals kicked up a stink and pollies were forced to review it yet again.

The correspondence explaining the changes is below. It seems the major change has to do with the type of sexual activity and the age of the child.

Download (PDF, 81KB)

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Pharmacists and General Practitioners Sign Historic Agreement

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia and the Royal Australasian Society of General Practitioners last week signed an historic agreement for the two bodies and professions to work more closely together.

I see this as eventually a win for patients as pharmacists begin to work more closely with general practitioners and hopefully expand the work often done by individual pharmacists profession wide with the support of the RACGP.

All we need now is the Pharmacy Guild (pharmacy owner representatives) to stop wanting pharmacists to only work within pharmacies.

The press release is below. If it does not show correctly in your browser there is a link at the bottom to download the small PDF.

Download (PDF, 36KB)

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Pharmaceutical Waste

The Return of Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project removes about 400 tonnes of pharmaceuticals from the Australian waste system each year ensuring protection for the public and environment. There are no figures that I can find but I guess a substantial amount is also discarded in the rubbish.

Some time ago I wrote about the major differences between the USA and Australian in the way they handle pharmaceutical waste.

The main difference is that in Australia consumers can return medicines TO ANY PHARMACY – ANYTIME

wasteAt the time of writing this post the Australian population clocked in at 22,018,292 people and the USA had 307,708,421 people.

Now bear with me as I fly by the seat of my pants on the back of an envelope and make some huge assumptions. Assumptions like both countries are prescribed the same number and collect the same number of prescriptions per head.

If we accept this it means the USA has roughly 5590 tonnes of pharmaceuticals being disposed each year, following the FDA recommendations. Using local collection services if they exist otherwise flushing controlled drugs down the toilet and the rest in the rubbish mixed with used kitty litter!

For my American readers that is about 6161 tons (US). This is the equivalent of 199 full semi trailers (semi-tractors) of pharmaceutical waste each year.

No wonder there are worries about water contamination by pharmaceuticals in the United States.

Truck calculation
In the USA a loaded semi trailer (semi tractor weight)can weigh up to 80 000 pounds. Lets say each semi trailer weighs 18000 pounds. With each truck carrying 62000 lbs it requires the equivalent of 199 semi trailers (semi tractors) to remove the 6161 tons of waste. If they were still in their packaging it would be at least twice that number of trucks.

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