Staff penalised for medical records breaches

South Australia Health Minister Jack Snelling has revealed that eight SA Health staff members have been caught inappropriately accessing medical records; two of whom have already been dismissed. Mr Snelling lent his support to SA Health for not disclosing the breaches when they occurred, stating that to do so would have breached the privacy of the patients involved.

The breaches were discovered following an audit into authorised privacy breaches across South Australian public hospitals. The South Australian Opposition is calling for an independent judicial inquiry examining the suitability and integrity of the State’s health information management system. The Opposition has further called for the sacking of all staff involved in the breaches to be considered.

To view the news report, click here.

News

Cancer Therapeutics CRC in multi-million dollar licensing deal

Melbourne-based research company, Cancer Therapeutics CRC (known as CTx), has secured one of the largest pre-clinical licencing deals in Australia for its new cancer drug designed to inhibit a protein known as PRMT5 which has been found in cancers including melanoma, lung cancer and leukaemia. The new PRMT5 drug program was licenced with MSD (known as Merck in the United States and Canada) and is the result of research by Monash University and CTx in collaboration with the CSIRO, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Research and the London-based Wellcome Trust.

The licencing deal was secured by Cancer Research Technology (“CRT”), a subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, a company that commercialises discoveries in cancer research. Under the deal, CRT will receive an upfront payment of $US 15 million. CRT will be eligible for further payments of up to $US 0.5 billion as incentives to meet development, regulatory and commercialisation milestones. All payments will be shared between CRT, CTx and the Wellcome Trust.

To view the media release, click here.

Legislation

Queensland implements new smoking ban

We previously reported on Victoria’s new smoking bans. Queensland has now followed suit and passed the Tobacco and Other Smoking Products (Smoke-free Places) Amendment Bill 2015 banning smoking at specified national parks, children’s sporting events, kindergartens and residential aged care facilities, outside of designated areas (amongst others).

The bans cover the sale of tobacco products from pop-up retail outlets, such as music festivals.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the new laws meant parents and children would now be protected from passive smoking in and around areas they congregate and elderly family and friends would also enjoy safer living spaces.

The Bill comes into effect on 1 September 2016.

To view the media statement, click here.

New Victorian donor laws (right to know)

We previously reported on the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Amendment Bill (Vic) allowing all donor-conceived Victorians access to identifying information about their donors when it was first introduced into Parliament.

The Bill has now successfully passed through the Victorian Legislative Council without amendment and will take effect from 1 March 2017.

Previously, only people born from sperm or eggs donated before 1998 had access to identifying information about their donors without donor consent.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said, “We believe all donor-conceived people should have the right to know about their genetic heritage, no matter when their donors donated”.

To view our previous report, click here.