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July 2009

No overtime

Junior doctors at Royal Perth Hospital are no longer being paid overtime beyond 38 hours/week under new pay conditions that commenced in June. The State government claims an influx of new doctors into WA means junior doctors won't have as great a burden, while AMA (WA) says junior doctors are being forced to work for free. Who do you believe?

The inside story

A contact at a major national healthcare company revealed to Medical Forum the fascinating ups and downs the economic climate has had on corporate health. Our source said, "Medical tends to be somewhat recession proof, however, some of the GP clinics specialising in travel and industrial health have been hit quite hard. Interestingly, the pharmacy side of our business is growing well. It could be argued that this relates to some people choosing to self diagnose and treat; some GP clinics asking patients to fund woundcare options; and the cost associated with GP treatment (it is cheaper and quicker to ask the pharmacist)."

US military backs Avita

Avita Medical (formerly C3) has been awarded US$1.45m from the US Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM) to...

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June 2008

Cloning battle lost

Health Minister Jim McGinty says the defeat of WA's cloning bill, which would have opened up new fields of medical research in this state, is an embarrassing "slap in the face to Western Australia's scientific community." The cloning bill would have brought WA into line with other states by allowing excess embryos created through fertilisation to be used for medical research. However, conservatives from both political parties defeated the bill by 18 votes to 15 in the upper house. With the bill defeated, the short to medium term future of embryo research in WA is bleak, although with an imminent election, the bill could potentially be resurrected within 12 months.

Gray case over... almost

We've lost count of the number of rounds the three-way battle between Dr Bruce Gray, UWA, and Sirtex has lasted, but the resilient Bruce has struck a TKO on the university that originally sponsored his commercially successful research by winning a protracted court case. The fight has centred on Dr Gray's development of microspheres to fight liver cancer, which has been commercialised into multi-million dollar medical technology. The technology was developed while he worked at UWA. The win creates a dangerous precedent in that other researchers could commercialise their university-sponsored discoveries unless they have a contract stating otherwise. UWA has confirmed it will be appealing the decision, so another costly and complicated round of legal manoeuvring is on the cards.

Advance hits trouble

Just a month after offloading Cottman Australia for a tidy $8m, Advance Healthcare Group (AHG) has asked its major creditor, Fulcrum Equity, to place AHG and its subsidiaries into administration ...

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