Bradfield Resident

Information. Issues. Insight. Investigation.

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Wed 25 Nov 09 | From: Barry O’Farrell MP | Re: Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) AHFA Petition (reply 2)

Posted by bradfieldresident on 25 November 2009

[This letter is in response to an email sent for the Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) petition on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “25 November 2009”, refers to Barry’s 25 Setpember letter, and included the 19 November letter from Carmel Tebbutt MP.]

Barry O’Farrell MP
State Member for Ku-ring-gai

Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-11-25)

25 November 2009

Dear […]

I refer back to my letter of  25 September regarding immunisation.

I have received a response form the Minister for Health and a copy is attached.

I hope that the information is of assistance.

Yours sincerely

[signature]

Barry O’Farrell

Working for our community

Phone 9487 8588 Fax 9487 8550 Electorate office 27 Redleaf Avenue, Wahroonga NSW 2076 Email barry@barryofarrell.com Website www.barryofarrell.com

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Posted in Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Government, NSW Health, State MPs, Vaccines | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Thu 19 Nov 09 | From: Carmel Tebbutt MP to Barry O’Farrell MP | Re: Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) AHFA Petition

Posted by bradfieldresident on 19 November 2009

[This letter was forwarded by Barry O’Farrel MP with his 25 November letter in response to an email sent for the Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) petition on the Health Petitions Australia website.]

Carmel Tebbutt MP
Deputy Premier | Minister for Health

Letter from Carmel Tebbutt MP to Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-11-19)

19 NOV 2009

Mr B O’Farrell MP
Member for Ku-ring-gai
27 Redleaf Avenue
WAHROONGA NSW 2076

[Barry]

Dear Mr O’Farrell,

Thank you for your representations on behalf of […], […], concerning immunisation.

The petition submitted by […] raises concerns about NSW Health Policy Directive PD2007_006 Occupational assessment, screening and vaccination against specified infectious diseases. Health facilities have a duty of care under occupational health and safety legislation to protect their staff, patients and other users of the health system from the risk of preventable illness, injury or death. I am advised that this policy directive provides a safe environment for staff and patients within NSW Health facilities by promoting vaccination against a number of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases.

I am advised that, under the Policy Directive, health care workers who are existing staff are encouraged to provide evidence of their protection against the specified diseases and are to receive vaccination where they are not already protected against a disease. New recruits and health care students are required to provide evidence of their protection against the specified diseases before they commence work in a clinical area or before they commence their student clinical placements. This is to ensure that they are not placed at risk of acquiring or transmitting one of the infectious diseases when they commence in the workplace.

The petition then raises a number of concerns about immunisation of infants and children. These arguments have been previously raised by individuals and organisations that are concerned about immunisation. The Australian Government has published a booklet to provide balanced, evidence-based answers to these concerns. The booklet, immunisation myths and realities: responding to arguments against immunisation, 4th edition, is available to order or download from: http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/

Thank you for bringing […]’s issues to my attention. Should […] require further information, please ask him to contact Su Reid, Senior Policy Officer, Immunisation Unit, NSW Department of Health, on (02) 9391 9210.

Yours sincerely

[signature]

Carmel Tebbutt MP
Deputy Premier
Minister for Health

Level 30, Governor Macquarie Tower | 1 Farrer Place Sydney NSW 2000 | p 9228 4866 | f 9228 4855

Reference:

Posted in Health Petitions Australia, NSW Government, NSW Health, State Legislation, State MPs, Vaccines | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Fri 06 Nov 09 | To: The Department of Health and Ageing | Private health insurance – legislation

Posted by bradfieldresident on 6 November 2009

[This message was posted via the Contact the Department feedback form on the Department of Health and Ageing website]

091106 health.gov.au - Private health insurance - legislation

Department of Health and Ageing screenshot

From: Bradfield Resident
Date: Friday 6 November 2009 16:06 (+11)  (approx)
To: The Department of Health and Ageing
Via: Contact the Department feedback form

The “Private health insurance – legislation” page
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-privatehealth-consumers-legislat.htm

holds a notice, “This page is currently being updated.”

When was that notice posted, and when will the page actually be updated? The page also shows “Page last modified: 03 June, 2008”.

Posted in Department of Health & Ageing, Federal Legislation, Mail Sent, Private Health | Leave a Comment »

Sun 25 Oct 09 | To: Health On the Net | Fwd: Australian Dental Association (ada.org.au) HONcode compliance

Posted by bradfieldresident on 25 October 2009

From: Bradfield Resident
Date: Sunday 25 October 2009 23:31 (+11)
To: honcodecomplaint@healthonnet.org

Health On the Net Foundation,

please refer to the forwarded message below, previously addressed to honcode-en@healthonnet.org on 11 September 2009, which was not answered.

Bradfield Resident
Sydney, Australia

Quoted text:
Fri 11 Sep 09 | To: Health On the Net Foundation | Australian Dental Association (ada.org.au) HONcode compliance
Wed 09 Sep 09 | From: Health On the Net | In response to your complaint regarding the site : http://www.ada.org

Posted in Australian Dental Association, Fluoride, Health On the Net Foundation, Mail Sent, Water Fluoridation | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Tue 29 Sep 09 | From: Jillian Skinner MP | Re: Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) AHFA Petition

Posted by bradfieldresident on 29 September 2009

[This letter is in response to an email sent for the Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) petition on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “29 SEP 2009”]

Jillian Skinner MP
Member for North Shore
Deputy NSW Opposition Leader
Shadow Minister for Health

Letter from Jillian Skinner MP (2009-09-29)

Letter from Jillian Skinner MP (2009-09-29)

29 September 2009

Dear […]

Thank you for your email outlining your concerns about the mandatory immunisation of health workers.

I have reviewed numerous scientific studies into vaccination and have consulted with many groups and individuals, so I do understand that vaccination is an issue that attracts strong views on both sides.

However, on balance, I believe that there is great value in the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing potentially deadly illnesses, and that it is imperative that health workers are vaccinated to protect both themselves and their patients.

Thank you again for contacting me about this very important issue.

Yours sincerely

[signature]

Jillian Skinner MP

Electorate office 3/40 Yeo Street, Neutral Bay 2089 Phone 9909 2594 Fax 9909 2654
Parliamentary Office Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000 Phone 9230 3080 Fax 9230 3406
Email jillian.skinner@parliament.nsw.gov.au Website www.jillianskinner.com

Posted in Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Government, NSW Health, State MPs, Vaccines | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Fri 25 Sep 09 | From: Barry O’Farrell MP | Re: Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) AHFA Petition

Posted by bradfieldresident on 25 September 2009

[This letter is in response to an email sent for the Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) petition on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “25 September 2009”]

Barry O’Farrell MP
State Member for Ku-ring-gai

Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-09-25)

Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-09-25)

25 September 2009

Dear […]

Thank you for your email of 11 September 2009 concerning immunisation.

At the outset I have to indicate my own support for immunisation. Using the “precautionary principle” you refer to, allowing some infants and children to avoid immunisation can threaten the health of the mast majority.

Nevertheless, respecting your views and wishes, I have made representations to the State Health Minister, the Hon Carmel Tebbutt. I will keep you informed of the progress.

Yours sincerely

[signature]

Barry O’Farrell

Working for our community

Phone 9487 8588 Fax 9487 8550 Electorate office 27 Redleaf Avenue, Wahroonga NSW 2076 Email barry@barryofarrell.com Website www.barryofarrell.com

Posted in Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Government, NSW Health, State MPs, Vaccines | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Fri 11 Sep 09 | To: The Australian Dental Association | HONcode compliance

Posted by bradfieldresident on 11 September 2009

[Note: it appears that the email generated by the contact form bounced, so it is quite possible that no ADA representative received and read it.]

From: Bradfield Resident <bradfieldresident@gmail.com>
Date: Friday 11 September 2009 01:31 (+10) (approx)
To: The Australian Dental Association – Complaints – National (ADA Inc.)
Via: http://www.ada.org.au/contactus/ContactUs.aspx

Australian Dental Association,

I have contacted the Health On the Net Foundation about apparent HONcode compliance violations on the ada.org.au website.

You can view my correspondence with the Health On the Net Foundation at https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com

More specifically under
https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/category/health/organisations/health-on-the-net-foundation-organisations-health/

You are invited to comment by email addressed to bradfieldresident@gmail.com

Bradfield Resident
Friday 11 September 2009

Posted in Australian Dental Association, Fluoride, Health On the Net Foundation, Mail Sent, Water Fluoridation | Leave a Comment »

Fri 11 Sep 09 | To: Health On the Net Foundation | Australian Dental Association (ada.org.au) HONcode compliance

Posted by bradfieldresident on 11 September 2009

[Note: the “AMA” reference toward the end was a typo accidentally propagated from the previous email and should, of course, be “ADA”.]

From: Bradfield Resident <bradfieldresident@gmail.com>
Date: Friday 11 September 2009 00:39 (+10)
Subject: Australian Dental Association (ada.org.au) HONcode compliance
To: honcode-en@healthonnet.org

Health On the Net Foundation,

it is unclear as to whether your email is in response to my original email complaint on 25 August (https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/to-health-on-the-net-foundation-honcode-principles-and-the-australian-dental-association/), to my online form submission on 28 August, or both. I write here assuming the email complaint (with considerably more information than the online form submission) was considered.

I find some of the explanations offered with regards to the Australian Dental Association website’s compliance with the published HONcode guidelines to be quite weak, especially considering the ostensible aim of the HONcode to improve the quality of medical information published online.

Principle 1 – Authority

The “ADA Inc. Oral Health Education Committee” is not identified. It is not a person – one might also suppose its members change over time – and as such I do not understand how it can be considered to be the “author”. As the committee is not identified, it follows that its (members’) qualifications have also not been identified. Additionally, the site does not indicate what the “Consumer Information” section is, which this committee allegedly authored. The statement that “[t]he views and opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the ADA Inc., the ADA State Branches or their affiliates” on the disclaimer page (http://www.ada.org.au/disclaimer.aspx) further clouds the situation.

Principle 2 – Purpose of the website

The ADA site makes good on the requirement to declare that the site is not to replace the advice of a health professional. It goes on to disclaim any impression of reliability, accuracy, completeness or usefulness. Although not being able to stand behind one’s documentation (website) erodes the reader’s confidence, it is in keeping with the HONcode guidelines, and I haven’t complained about that aspect of the requirements.

I have noticed that the website has been updated/repaired since my complaint; the About page (http://www.ada.org.au/about/default.aspx) links to the Overview (http://www.ada.org.au/about/overview.aspx) and Functions (http://www.ada.org.au/about/functions.aspx) pages are now functional.

However, there is no “description of the website’s mission, purpose and intended audience”:

  • “All information is intended for your general knowledge only” is not a description of the website’s purpose
  • “its aim the encouragement of the health of the public and the promotion of the art and science of dentistry” is the aim (purpose/mission?) of the ADA (“also necessary”); there is no separate description for the website itself
  • You write, “[t]his site contains three portals for General public, Dental Professionals, and Members. / Therefore it is understood that this site is for the General public and health professionals.” Whatever you happen to mean by there being three “portals”, and whether or not one might infer that this site is for (effectively) everyone, there is no actual description of the intended audience.

Personally, I think these are minor issues and very easily addressed (eg “the purpose of the ADA and of this website is to…”, “the intended audience of this site is…”). However it does concern me that your evaluation drops the bar so low on “necessary” requirements to the point where they are not actually required – either your guidelines are enforced or they are pointless and the overall quality of the entire HONcode accreditation comes under question.

Principle 4 – Information must be documented: Referenced and dated

Sources information are not needed, becuase this site information was authored
by fully qualified dentists.

Did an authorised Health On the Net Foundation representative really write that, or am I reading a forged email? This statement is completely ludicrous. I quote again from the HONcode Guidelines documentation (http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/Guidelines/guidelines.html):

All sources of the medical content must be given. You have to clearly indicate the recognized, scientific or official sources of health information quoted in your articles. If you used another website, a book, an article, a database or any other support, it has to be specified. You have to provide a precise link to the source, whenever it is possible and the references should be in relation with the content referred.

To say now that sources of information are not needed is a complete farce. I would also reiterate that the authors of the information are not identified, but that is hardly the point here. Is it truly the Health On the Net Foundation’s intention for principle 4 to be something like “All sources of the medical content must be given unless the author is a dentist”? If so, please amend the HONcode guidelines documentation accordingly.

You write:

The complaint regarding the principle 4 – Date is justified.
Therfore we are taking care of your complaint. A member of the HONcode team has
contacted this site about this matter.

So, we agree on one point at least. Perhaps an investigation of your procedures is in order to determine how the lack of dates was missed in previous reviews.

Principle 5 – Justification of claims

You write:

we were not able to find any treatment information on the following link:
http://www.ada.org.au/oralhealth/FLN/flfaqs.aspx

This page contains some information about Fluoride, but not the treatments.

Again I have to ask, did an authorised Health On the Net Foundation representative write that, or am I reading a forged email? The entire page is about fluoride treatments in all shapes and sizes. The first occurrence of the word “treatment” on the page is in the statement: “Drinking fluoridated water several times a day is the ideal way to give your teeth a quick fluoride treatment.”

Some unjustified claims from that page:

  • Large numbers of studies over the last fifty years have shown conclusively that fluoride strengthens teeth against decay without causing harmful effects.
  • Fluoride acts in a number of ways to strengthen teeth and make them more resistant to tooth decay.
  • Topical fluoride can not only stop the development of tooth decay, but also make the enamel more resistant to future acid attacks. It also helps by reducing the amount of acid produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
  • While most of the fluoride effect is topical, a systemic effect still occurs, and enamel with built-in fluoride is still more decay resistant.
  • Very high levels can even cause brown staining or pitted enamel. This is very uncommon, and usually results from children swallowing too much fluoride from toothpaste or fluoride tablets rather than from drinking fluoridated water.
  • While these [other fluoride treatment methods] are still beneficial, the safest and most cost effective method, with the greatest reduction in tooth decay is seen when teeth are exposed to frequent, low concentrations of fluoride as in water fluoridation.
  • Because of the mainly topical effect of fluoride, people of all ages and backgrounds will benefit [from water fluoridation].
  • When fluoride is in the mouth, the teeth become much more resistant to decay.
  • Fluoridated water is the safest, most effective, and least expensive way to reduce tooth decay in children and adults.
  • In speaking about Sydney’s water fluoridation, the New South Wales Chief Health Officer in 2002 reported “a significant dental health benefit, by reducing dental caries, along with the associated savings in the cost of treatment.”
  • All Australian capital cities (except Brisbane) have been fluoridated for decades and have not seen an increase in bone fractures or other ill effects.

Your brief comment here refers to just this page, which I suppose is the one I listed in the online complaint form. I repeat below further comments from my initial email complaint which have not been addressed by your email.

The AMA site makes numerous claims about products and treatments that, aside from on occasion appearing to be patently false or contradictory, are completely unjustified.

The site also repeatedly directs readers to, if not a specific brands of products, specific types of product, such as fluoride toothpaste, fluoride tablets, fluoride gels, fluoridated food products and additives, and even fluoridated water, without any “alternative therapy” offered for cleaning teeth and maintaining dental health.

As a simplification, the product/treatment here is fluoride and its application/consumption. There are a number of documents provided on the website, for example, on the Fluoride Resources page (http://www.ada.org.au/oralhealth/fln/flresources.aspx) that might be intended as justification, however there is little or no association made between the majority of claims made in the rest of the site and these documents.

General safety claims are also made about mercury-containing dental amalgam as a type of product.

The medical information is certainly far from balanced. Concerns about harmful effects are, if mentioned a all, mentioned only briefly and in a significantly dismissive way, giving the impression that concerns have been raised only by an uneducated public, when in fact thousands of qualified dental and medical professionals around the world have very strong concerns about the potential harmful effects, and indeed questions about the efficacy of the use of fluoride in the first place. Documents on the website make claims for efficacy of “about half” and even “60%”, which are significant exaggerations at best. Statements such as “There is universal agreement between all the major public health bodies throughout the world regarding the benefits of water fluoridation” (“Fluoride – Nature thought f it first”, prefaced by a letter from the president of the ADA, at http://www.ada.org.au/app_cmslib/media/lib/0609/m16777_v1_fluoride%20-%20nature%20thought%20of%20it%20first.pdf) are grossly misleading (it is an undeniable fact that many countries do not support nor implement water fluoridation).

Finally

It is my expectation that the HONcode seal displayed on the Australian Dental Association website (http://ada.org.au) should indicate that the site is undergoing a reexamination. This is not presently the case.

Bradfield Resident
Sydney, Australia

Friday 11 September 2009

Quoted text:
Wed 09 Sep 09 | From: Health On the Net | In response to your complaint regarding the site : http://www.ada.org


Bradfield Resident
bradfieldresident@gmail.com
https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com

Posted in Australian Dental Association, Fluoride, Health On the Net Foundation, Mail Sent, Water Fluoridation | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Thu 10 Sep 09 | From: Barry O’Farrell MP, NSW Member for Ku-ring-gai | Re: AHFA Fluoride Petition

Posted by bradfieldresident on 10 September 2009

[This letter is in response to an email sent for the AHFA Fluoride Petition for New South Wales residents on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “10 September 2009”, received some days later]

Barry O’Farrell MP
State Member for Ku-ring-gai

Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-09-10)

Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-09-10)

10 September 2009

Dear […]

Thank you for your email of 4 September regarding you request for the removal of fluoride from our drinking water.

I read your email with interest and note your comments and concerns.

There is currently no legislation before the Parliament on the matter of fluoridation of our drinking water but please be assured that I will consider your views at the appropriate time.

Yours sincerely

[signature]

Barry O’Farrell

Working for our community

Phone 9487 8588 Fax 9487 8550 Electorate office 27 Redleaf Avenue, Wahroonga NSW 2076 Email barry@barryofarrell.com Website www.barryofarrell.com

Posted in Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Government, State MPs, Water Fluoridation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Thu 10 Sep 09 | From: Dr Peter Hill, Acting Chief Dental Officer, NSW Health | Re: AHFA Fluoride Petition

Posted by bradfieldresident on 10 September 2009

[This letter is in response to an email sent for the AHFA Fluoride Petition for New South Wales residents on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “10.9.09”, postmarked “15SEP09”]

Centre for Oral Health Strategy
New South Wales

Scan of postal mail

Letter from Dr Peter Hill, NSW Health (2009-09-10)

Dear […]

Thank you for your correspondence to the Minister for Health, dated 4th September 2009 seeking the removal of fluoride from your drinking water. The minister has asked me to respond to you on his behalf.

Various Councils have approached NSW Health on the matter of fluoridation of the public water supplies under their control. Following consideration of the individual Council’s issues by the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Advisory Committee (FPWSAC), as is required under the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957, the Director-General of NSW Health gives separate approval under that Act to allow the fluoridation of each of those Council’s water supplies. That approval is then published in the NSW Government Gazette, as required under the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957.

Councils are in various stages of compliance with those approvals to incorporate a fluoridation dosing system into their water treatment plants which comply generally with the statutory regime provided under the Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies Act 1957.

Research into the toxicity of compounds used in fluoridating water has been carried out for the past 60 years. The overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence does not link water fluoridation at optimal levels (one part per million) to side effects such as bone fracture, cancer, and other health related problems.

NSW Health’s policy on fluoridation is that it is a safe, effective and equitable means of reducing dental decay at a population level. In 2007 the NHMRC completed a Systematic Review, which confirmed that position. Indeed it is a position held by all Australian governments at state and federal level and most local governments in NSW.

I trust this information is of assistance to you. If you require any further information please contact Shanti Sivaneswaran, Principal Advisor, Centre for Oral Health Strategy NSW on (02) 8821 4300.

Yours faithfully

[signature]

Dr Peter Hill
Acting Chief Dental Officer
10.9.09

NSW HEALTH

PO Box 533, Wentworthville NSW 2145
Telephone +61 2 8821 4300
Facsimile +61 2 8821 4302
Website: www.health.nsw.gov.au

Posted in Centre for Oral Health Strategy, Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Health, Water Fluoridation | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »