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Hunter man exposes medical negligence cover ups

Out-of-court settlements for medical negligence have been likened to bribery. “It’s not compensation, it’s hush-up money,” a Hunter man alleged. I know a Hunter man whose wife died of melanoma. The man alleged that her doctor repeatedly failed to diagnose the skin cancer. Eventually the doctor recognised it, but it was too late.
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The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, believes the law is slanted to protect negligent doctors from being exposed in public.

“This means other patients of these doctors aren’t warned.And there’s no publicly-available record of their incompetence,” he said.

He alleged doctors use the legal system as a means of avoiding proper scrutiny of negligent practices. He said the system enabled negligent doctors to continue practicing and avoid remedial training to rectify their shortcomings.

The system, he said, allowed doctors and the organisations that represent them to close ranks and protect their financial interests and reputation. He further alleged that this amounted to an “abuse of power”.

If a victim manages to take civil action, the matter can be settled out of court and kept confidential. Victims are often made to sign non-disclosure agreements and threatened with losing their compensation if they speak publicly about the case.

The man likened these out-of-court settlements to bribery, saying they were used to hide negligence.

“It’s not compensation, it’s hush-up money,” he said.

He compared this to child-abuse scandals in the church.

“The medical profession has acted reprehensibly. They have gone to great lengths, just like the churches before them, to protect reputations at the expense of those they are supposedly there to protect.”

Legal and cultural reform was needed for doctors to accept that medical negligence must be dealt with and “not swept under the carpet”, he said.

He added that the system must become more open and transparent.

A senior lawyer who handles medical negligence cases in NSW said cases rarely went to trial. Trials were very expensive.

She said it was “100 per cent accurate”that cases were settled out of court and kept confidential, with no publicly available record of the negligence that occurred.

In NSW, medical negligence is governed by the Civil Liability Act, she said.

This means victims need to demonstrate that there was a breach of duty of care, or the care was unreasonable.

“The only way you can do that is by getting an expert report from another doctor to say the care was unreasonable,” the senior lawyer said.

She said it can be difficult to get doctors to criticise other doctors.

“It’s not an easy area of law. It is quite hard to get one doctor to say another doctor breached their duty of care.”

This is exactly what happened to the Hunter man in question.

He said the system allowed doctors to protect each other from criticism and punishment.

“They don’t want to throw their colleagues and friends under a bus,” he said.

Doctors who do agree to write a report confirming a colleague’s negligence were then vulnerable to being ostracised, bullied and victimised.

Furthermore, he alleged that doctors use the Health Care Complaints Commission system to attack each other.

Matters like this are presently being discussed in a Senate inquiry into medical complaints in Australia.

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Neighbours reportedly clinches series-saving new deal

The AgeNews19/08/2010picture by Justin McManus.Neighbours is 25yrs old this year.Cast on the set are L-R, Kym Valentine (Libby Kennedy), Margot Robbie (Donna Freedman), Stefan Dennis (Paul Robinson), Alan Flectcher (Karl Kennedy) and Jackie Woodburne (Susan Kennedy). Photo: Justin McManusAussie soap Neighbours has reportedly clinched a new United Kingdom broadcasting deal, temporarily securing its shaky future.
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The rumoured deal, forged between production company Fremantle Media and the show’s British network Channel 5, will see the long-running series air in the UK for another four years.

While Fremantle Media declined to confirm or comment on the reported deal, the news will be welcome relief to the show’s bosses, who recently noted the importance of “overseas interest” to its future security.

“Every Australian drama needs substantial overseas interest to be financially viable, either through pre-sale or distribution… [Neighbours] still has a substantial and dedicated viewership,” a producer told Ten News last month.

Reports of the show’s potential axing in the UK – where it’s aired for 31 years – had fuelled passionate defences from fans over recent weeks.

A petition begging Channel 5 not to axe the series raked in almost 23,000 signatures, while singer Adele – who visited the show’s Ramsay Street set during her recent Australian tour – ranted about her love for the soap during a gig in New Zealand, calling the situation “very bad”.

Star Alan Fletcher (Dr Karl Kennedy) also downplayed discussion of the series’ demise, citing the recent popular storyline between Toadie and resurrected Dee Bliss as one of the show’s “most successful”.

According to reports, Channel 5’s new owners Viacom were behind the floundering renegotiations, with one source saying the American company did not understand the “cultural importance of the show”, despite the fact it’s launched international careers for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Guy Pearce and Margot Robbie.

The soap, currently in its 33rd season, was locally shunted to Ten’s multi-channel Eleven in 2011.

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TPG savaged in $1b sell-off after mobile network plans revealed

TPG shareholders have delivered a brutal verdict on its almost $1.3 billion splurge buying up 4G mobile spectrum to build a new mobile network wiping one-fifth from the company’s share price in a single day.
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The broadband internet and mobile provider last week agreed to pay $1.26 billion for a chunk of the nation’s 4G mobile spectrum and revealed it would spend another $600 million building a mobile network to rival those operated by Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.

TPG entered a trading halt last Wednesday, prior to the announcement, and detailed a $400 million share entitlement offer to fund construction of the new network.

Upon returning to trade on Tuesday morning, TPG shares plunged immediately. From a close of $6.54 per share before it entered the trading halt, TPG shares had dived to $5.42 by midday Tuesday – a drop of 17.8 per cent – before closing at $5.50. Over one billion dollars was wiped from TPG’s market value, falling from $5.54 billion to $4.42 billion.

TPG shares hit an all-time high of $12.60 in July last year.

The company said on Tuesday it had completed the institutional offer, raising $81.5 million in addition to $238 million tipped in by chief executive David Teoh and other major shareholder investment house Washington H. Soul Pattinson.

“We are very pleased with the strong support that our institutional shareholders and new investors have shown for the offer and for our mobile strategy, which we are tremendously excited about,” Mr Teoh said in a statement.

TPG launched the retail component of its entitlement offer on Tuesday at $5.25 per new share. iFrameResize({enablePublicMethods : true, heightCalculationMethod : “lowestElement”,resizedCallback : function(messageData){}, checkOrigin: false},”#pez_iframeA”);

Telstra also fell another 3.8 per cent to $4 on Tuesday, after dropping to their lowest level in five years last week on fears TPG revealed it would bring new competition to the market. The nation’s largest telco’s shares have fallen over 12 per cent since last Tuesday.

Deutsche Bank said the $1.2 billion price tag TPG paid for the spectrum it will use for its network was “well ahead of our expectations” and that it would be difficult for TPG to maintain a net present value from the investment.

Other obstacles to TPG being successful in its own network included “the potential risks of greater difficulty in bundling mobile and broadband services, lack of physical store fronts and operational execution given the company is undertaking many initiatives concurrently,” Deutsche Bank analyst Craig Wong-Pan said in a note to clients.

UBS said it thought TPG could succeed as a fourth player in the market but might have to launch a price war, which would crunching industry earnings, in order to grow market share.

The net impact of raising equity and building the network would hit earnings per share by about 40 per cent in 2019, and would break even by 2020, UBS told clients.

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Netball in political turmoil, after board chair dumped

Netball Australia is in political turmoil, with board chair Anne-Marie Corboy standing down after less than a year in the post and then ousted as a director at a special general meeting called by the member organisations last week.
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The annual general meeting will be held in Canberra on Friday, at which three board vacancies – including, now, Corboy’s – will be filled from among five candidates. Netball Queensland in particular, under president Jane Seawright, and Netball New South Wales are believed to be leading the push for more power to be returned to the state associations.

But others hold grave concerns about the potential loss of board independence and business acumen, fearing the decision-making process will be hijacked by more parochial interests. “Basically, the sport will go back 30 years,” said one senior figure.

It is believed the Australian Sports Commission is closely monitoring the situation from a governance standpoint, while the Australian Netball Players’ Association strongly condemned the decision to remove Corboy, who succeeded the long-serving Noeleen Dix last year.

“The players are really frustrated and annoyed that our sport can’t keep moving forward,” said ANPA director Bianca Chatfield after a teleconference on Tuesday involving representatives from the eight clubs. “The past players have fought for where we are and the current players just can’t believe that there’s a threat that we could go backwards.

“We need those independent directors to be able to move our sport forward and we all know that there’s a real threat from other sports at the moment. Netball has always led the way, and the players are just really frustrated that we have to get involved in this political drama all the time, from those that seem to be bitter and twisted about what’s happened.”

Unrest has festered since last year’s decision to launch a new eight-team Super Netball league in 2017 to replace the trans-Tasman ANZ Championship. The process was delayed while commercial agreements were finalised with the likes of major sponsor Suncorp and broadcast partners Channel Nine and Telstra.

Highly contentious, too, was the decision to grant the three new licences to football-aligned clubs Collingwood, Sunshine Coast Lightning (Melbourne Storm) and the Giants, owned by NNSW but aligned with GWS. Having raided the talent of the five existing teams, run by the member associations, all three new franchises are in the top four with six rounds remaining in the inaugural Super Netball season.

Former Australian captain Kathryn Harby-Williams, who has the strong backing of the players, and Cheryl McCormack, are the two current directors up for re-election, with Marcia Ella, Susan Comerford and Jan Magaccis the challengers.

Corboy, a highly-respected financial services executive, was unavailable for comment, but it is believed the member associations were critical of her communication skills and leadership style. Several attempts at mediation by Netball Australia were apparently rebuffed by the member organisations.

Netball Victoria said in a statement to Fairfax Media that it was “the strong desire” of the state bodies to work in the sport’s best interests, and that a collective view had been formed that it would be beneficial to change in the make-up of the Netball Australia board.

“Creating change such this is challenging when there are divergent views – naturally this has been difficult for all parties,” it said. “As a result of this view, Anne-Marie Corboy is no longer a member of the NA board.

“NA board members are voted on and off the board dependant on the skills needed to deliver on the strategic agenda for whole of sport. There are a number of high calibre candidates standing for election or re-election at the NA AGM, including current directors. We are committed to working collectively with Netball Australia to achieve our strategic agendas and look forward to working constructively together into the future.

“The whole of sport focus for the future, now that Suncorp Super Netball is established, is to ensure that we continue to grow, and the development within community netball.”

Netball Australia chief executive Marne Fechner praised Corboy’s contribution while defending the member associations’ right under the sport’s constitution to force last week’s special general meeting and remove the former chair from the board.

“From a governance point of view, from the members’ perspective, there was a need for change,” Fechner said. “These things can happen in sport; netball’s not the only sport it’s happened to. It’s unfortunate, but we’ve got to get on with the business at hand. My sense is that everyone’s committed to moving on from this.”

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