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Part 2

July 24, 2010

Numerology (24/7/2010)
During the week I was accused on the Australian Vaccination Network's Facebook page (from which I am banned, of course) of lying for challenging a claim that children in Australia receive more than 30 vaccines by the time they get to their first birthday. (Part of the attack on me consisted of providing a link to this wonderful web page about me. Enjoy!) One wonderful comment said that it didn't matter if the number wasn't exactly 30 because it was more than that. As I cannot respond in the forum where the attack on me happened I have to respond here in public, so I thought I would dust off my numerology skills to see if I could derive the number 30 from the information provided in the Australian National Immunisation Program Schedule. (Note: The schedule has changed slightly since 2010. You can see the latest schedule (2013) here.)

The vaccines given are:

  1. Hepatitis B (hepB)
  2. Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (acellular pertussis) (DTPa)
  3. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  4. Polio (inactivated poliomyelitis IPV)
  5. Pneumococcal conjugate (7vPCV)
  6. Rotavirus
Number of occasions on which vaccines are administered:4
Number of injections in the complete schedule:19
Number of unique vaccines:6
Number of diseases vaccinated against:8
Total:37

To be generous, and knowing how anti-vaccination liars like to stretch things out to fit their prejudices, I have added these vaccines which are only administered after the child's first birthday, and I have included the extra doctor's visit.

  1. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
  2. Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  3. Meningococcal C (MenCCV)
Number of occasions on which vaccines are administered:5
Number of injections in the complete schedule:22
Number of unique vaccines:8
Number of diseases vaccinated against:12
Total:47

Do you see the number 30 there at all? Neither do I. What is interesting to note is that the PhD student who made the "30 vaccines" claim was saying only 12 vaccines back in May. I am surprised at this as it is obvious that no further research should have been needed for her thesis, based as it is on the a priori assumption that vaccines are dangerous and therefore no research at all is required.

How do you tell when an anti-vaccination campaigner is lying? When their lips are moving or their fingers are typing.


Speaking of numbers ... (24/7/2010)
On July 7, 2010, the Australian vaccination Network was asked by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission to take the following action within 14 days:

The Australian Vaccination Network should include an appropriate statement in a prominent place on its website which states:

  1. the Australian Vaccination Network's purpose is to provide information against vaccination in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere;
  2. the information should not be read as medical advice; and
  3. the decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.

This followed an investigation of the AVN by the HCCC which resulted in some pretty damning criticism of the AVN's activities.

As more than 14 days have passed I thought I would check the AVN's web site to see the prominent notice. To nobody's surprise there is is no such notice, although at the time I looked there was a link to a repetition of the lie that pharmaceutical companies are the largest purchasers of advertising. (I addressed this lie in June.) There is also an article in which someone claiming to be a real doctor states that the tetanus shot is more dangerous than the disease. (I have included a picture of a child with a mild case of tetanus to show how harmless it is.) What is definitely missing is any notice suggesting that the AVN is taking any notice of the HCCC.

Just in case the AVN executives have forgotten, I will run the following counter on the front page of this site until they comply with the HCCC recommendations.

Australian Vaccination Network
Arrogance Indicator

The AVN is now
days
overdue with the web site
changes requested by the HCCC

And do you wonder if the HCCC have noticed that the AVN hasn't done as it was asked? Here is the media release:

PUBLIC WARNING ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK (AVN)

26 July 2010

by the Health Care Complaints Commission under section 94A of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993

The Health Care Complaints Commission has investigated two complaints about the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), a non-profit organisation registered in New South Wales that provides information about vaccination. The complaints alleged that the AVN provides incorrect and misleading information about vaccination.

The Commission’s investigation of the complaints focussed on the material presented by the AVN on its website www.avn.org.au.

The Commission’s investigation established that the AVN website:

  • provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
  • contains information that is incorrect and misleading
  • quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.

On this basis, the Commission recommended to the AVN that it should include a statement in a prominent position on its website to the following effect:

  • The AVN’s purpose is to provide information against vaccination, in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere.
  • The information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice.
  • The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.

The Commission recognises that it is important for there to be debate on the issue of vaccination. However, the AVN provides information that is inaccurate and misleading.

The AVN’s failure to include a notice on its website of the nature recommended by the Commission may result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate, and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.

The HCCC removed the Public Warning in February 2012 following a court decision favouring the AVN. It is reproduced here for historical reasons.
You can see the details of the court case here.


Jack the Kook is unhappy (24/7/2010)
Last week I mentioned that someone using a Bell North America email address had threatened me with legal action for mentioning the name of someone who created an insane web site about me and accused me of buggering young boys. He went beyond threatening legal action and apparently wanted me to make some sort of monetary offer to settle the dispute. Usually I would treat such idiocy with the contempt it deserves, but I decided to hold off in this case until I had heard from Bell North America that the threats really did come from them. I also made the concession of changing mentions of the trademarked name to another, not trademarked, string of characters.

This was not satisfactory to the threatener, and I have received a communication of alarming hilarity. I will post my response here during the week, because a few computer problems, a trip out of town and a small car accident have taken up the time I was going to spend on updating this site this weekend.

The wait will be worth it.



See more Matt Bors here


It's writing time again (24/7/2010)
After Yahoo! 7a brief hiatus, I'm back to writing for the Yahoo!7 News web site. The latest article is a version of something I wrote for Australasian Science earlier in the year but was due for a recycle as it forms part of a speech I gave at Western Sydney Freethinkers. The second part of the speech will appear at Australasian ScienceYahoo!7 in a week or two. You can read this week's effort here. Also, I am going to collect all the comments made about my articles at Yahoo!7 and publish them here. This can only be partially automated so it will happen over the next few weeks, but it will provide a permanent record of the type of reaction that I attract. You can see the first two efforts here and here. Just follow the links at the bottom of the pages.

And speaking of Australasian Science, my article about creationists and their honesty is on the newsstands now, and you can read it here. Of course, you should subscribe to this excellent magazine to see the other wonders that it contains. My next article will be about testing acupuncture, but I will hold off publishing it here until the paper version is on the streets.

Oh, and Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network sent a press release whining about the HCCC's actions to Australian Science's sister publication Issues (for which I have written in the past). I don't see it getting printed in that magazine, but by some mysterious process it was forwarded to me. I am still laughing.


And some amusement (24/7/2010)

July 31, 2010

Jack the Kook continued (31/7/2010)
As I mentioned last week, I was a bit short of time so I delayed answering the latest drivel from a "representative" of someone who feels free to accuse me of buggering young boys but doesn't like me mentioning his name in return and wants me to either stop talking about him or to pay him some money.

As the person doing the complaining was using an obviously false email address I published my original response to the threat here, but this was not satisfactory to the threatener and I have received the following communication. My responses are in italics, although, of course, I have no intention of responding to a Bell North America email address when the writer appears to have no connection to that company.

Dear Mr. Bowditch,
a/k/a:
Bowditch, Peter

What is this thing kooks and loons have with "also known as" and "so-called"? Peter Bowditch is my name (and it's hardly a secret) and "Mr Bowditch" is a perfectly normal form of address. There is no "a/k/a", something which should be known by anyone pretending to be producing legal documents.

  fz88553k7v4@networksolutionsprivateregistration.com

Why don't you use the email addresses freely available on this site? Do you think I will be intimidated by you using the address in the whois database?

  ATTN RATBAGS.COM
  care of Network Solutions
  PO Box 459
  Drums, PA 18222
  US
Phone: 570-708-8780

 I noted this evening that, in reply to my writing to you, a new rant appeared on your website homepage, on "The Millennium Project", stating that you'd replaced "Jack Shitman" for "Jack Shulman" throughout your website. Tsk,Tsk!

I didn't want to continue using a trademark since it caused you so much distress. Are you saying that "Jack Shitman" is a trademark too?

A) This is unacceptable, since you've already linked Google and 1000 additional search and probe engines by the keywords "Jack Shulman" to these pages.

Perhaps you should take that up with Google and the "1000 additional search and probe engines". If I make a change here and then ask Google to reindex the site (which they do at least weekly) then there is not much more I can do. Also remember that Google and those "1000 additional search and probe engines" also contain links to where Jack Shitman accused me of buggering young boys and being a "GRADE A NAZI, SCHEISS-MEISTER OF THE ART OF WEB TERRORISM".

B) The foul language you used is sufficiently close enough to the trademark as to be cognizably, coinably, offensively and abusively an obvious reference to the Trademark, Jack Shulman, and intentionally

Have you ever heard of the Streisand Effect? If I were you I wouldn't go around suggesting that people will automatically think of the trademark "Jack Shulman" when they hear the word "shitman".

defames the mark with foul language adding geometrically to the damages you are causing by commercial reference infringement. I note that I will be taking steps to seek to prevent Google from continuing to show your website or allow you to collect from Google Adsense, as any and all commercial derivation of revenue from your continued abuse, use and dilution of the mark is inappropriate, unlawful and causes its owner and assigns severe ongoing monetary losses.

Are you now claiming that "Jack Shitman" is a trademark? If it isn't, Google will laugh at you.

C) You've continued to reference Bell North America, and Worldwide, as well as Roswell 1947 material that is copyrighted and associated with the trademark as well as making reference to us without our permission. Kindly cease and desist doing so immediately.

As I have no evidence that the email address you used has anything to do with Bell North America, and as mentioning the name of a public company is perfectly legal, I have no intention of changing anything. Did you get permission from Google to mention their name in the paragraphs above?

D) All you've accomplished in ranting at us is to provide us with proof of your intent, which is quite obvious: to abuse the person and trademark and us by internet, which will only serve to multiply the damages we'll be seeking from you in the event you do not cease this aggressive, belligerant and abusive behavior and trademark infringement immediately.

I am abusing nobody. I have simply reported in the past on idiotic and defamatory statements made about me both in emails and in web sites suggesting that I am a pedophile. When can I expect a public retraction and apology for that?

E) Clearly, you've some kind of personal problem, as it appears your entire website is little more than devoted to the abuse of others. You've never met Jack Shulman, only you have appropriated his name, the mark, for commerce.

In what way have I "appropriated his name, the mark, for commerce"? I simply reproduced what he said about me.

It appears you take others trademarks and intentionally attack them for the sole purpose to expand your popularity and to drive traffic to your website to promote our consultancy, Gebesse Consultants, and to gain revenue through various means of networking and such as Google Adsense.

A couple of points:

Accordingly, you can't seek any form of defense for your behavior behind non-commercial claims. Also, your website appears to be one sided, paranoid, and quite abusive, one of the worst examples of a 'flame-rant spam' website I'd seen in a decade.

If you have a problem with that I suggest you read the About This Site page, paying particular attention to the sections headed "Philosophy" and "This is opinion". If you don't like what I have to say you can stop reading it.

You do not, like the BBB, allow any form of reasonable response or to give others a chance to respond to your allegations, you filter all content and when contacted by attorneys, you appear to attack them, on your website.

There is an email link on every page which visitors can freely use to express their opinions about me or my work Perhaps you missed the extensive collection of responses to this site which I have published in my Hate Mail collection. You might also have noticed that I have published your complaint in full, together with my response.

In the more than eleven years that I have been running this site I have only been contacted by lawyers four times. (Several complaints have been made by people pretending to be lawyers, but they don't count.) One of the complaints was made by a person who was clearly insane and the lawyer who wrote the letter on his behalf was obviously just going through the motions. Two different lawyers acting for someone who had been found to be acting in breach of the law went away when I asked them to provide evidence that their client had been unjustly treated. The fourth case actually went to court, but as the complaining party (another example of someone who had been found to be breaking the law and wanted silence) had to pay their own not-inconsiderable costs it was a very expensive effort for them. I was also mentioned in a case in the US but it was withdrawn when a judge asked the lawyers to get off the pot and start litigating.

There is a clear notice on the About This Site page saying what will happen to complaints from lawyers, but I can't be held responsible for the actions or inactions of lawyers who can't read.

Much of what you publish appears to be a lay person's misinterpretations of fact, or falsifications, such as claiming that the letter from Daniel Grossman to you was 'a made up attorney', which is obviously false.

The only occurrence of the word "Grossman" on this site appears on the page "Shaken Baby Syndrome", and is part of the name "David C. Grossman, MD", one of the authors of a cited scientific paper. I have no idea who Daniel Grossman is or why you think he would write to me about anything.

I believe you are mistaking people's failure to conclude you represent any form of sue-able entity. Since you may not have sufficient assets to justify seeking damages against you in Court, you are confusing that people won't waste time suing you, because they don't think you have any funds to pay damages from, with their threats being empty or fearful of you.

If you are going to pretend to be a lawyer, at least write in English.

It clearly is part of your characteristic behavior to enjoy causing others extreme intellectual pain, and hope that others will flock to you from schadenfreude-ist empathy..

F) However, since Trademark dilution, abuse, infringement and misuse is statutory, we are not going to give up on you. We want all references and accompanying story line, emails, and any other even vague or symbolic or substituted content that can be connected with the mark, as indicated, terminated permanently. If not, then we will seek the damages to which we are clearly entitled, through the Court process.

As I have stated previously, I have removed all references to the trademark except where it was used by the person whose name is trademarked to identify himself in correspondence with me or where I have been explicitly responding to your claims of trademark violation.

G) This will be your one last chance to simply DELETE any and all Trademark referencing pages copletely (a two page list accompanies this email, delete all the pages on them), near references, substitute references, and citations to 'Jack Shulman' or any devious variation you might choose to substitute, as well as to Bell North America, Worldwide Entertainment Group, Jersey Coast Films, Fox, Sony, and the Roswell 1947 Story

You are not Bell North America, you are not Worldwide Entertainment Group, you are not Fox, you are not Sony and I never heard of nor mentioned Jersey Coast Films or Roswell 1947 Story until you brought them up.

(which is the subject of your original rants in which you falsely accuse Jack Shulman of telling people that the AT&T transistor was brought to earth 'by little green men' and other such misrepresentations, abuses of the trademark and copyrighted material you continue to publish, and offensive and personally abusive, misleading and defamatory and libelous material you publish on your website(s) about the mark. That has been the only context, the story appearing on ACC's Imagination Internet's websites from 1996 to 2003 poking fun at those who say that the transistor was brought to earth 'by lttle green men', or rather 'grey men', which you quite clearly are unable to differentiate as in your rants you merely abuse the head of the company that owned Imagination at the time and accuse him of doing exactly the opposite.) After that, take no steps to repeat your abuse of Jack Shulman, et al.

Can you please clear this up - are they green men or grey men? Apart from that I have no idea what the words above mean.

H) If by this time, on Tuesday, you have not deleted same, along with your lead in page on "The Millennium Project" in the part which you announce your intentional abuse of Mr. Shulman and Jack Shulman, which effort was originally unsolicited by Mr. Shulman, who has no idea who you are,

If Mr Shulman has no idea who I am, what was he doing when he accused me of buggering young boys? Does he have a habit of picking names at random and then creating abusive and defamatory web pages about people who have those names? Is that the action of a sane person or of someone who is, for example, inclined to believe that the technology underlying the transistor was obtained from crashed alien spaceships?

and which clearly antedated any legal response to you accusing you of commiting wrongdoing from the legal people here, then you are in for a very long journey through the experience of Courtroom litigation and ultimately being required to make singular reparations for the monetary and punitive damages you've caused.

I can't cause "punitive damages". For goodness sake, if you are going to pretend to be a lawyer at least get someone who might know something about the law to check what you write. Using a spell checker is a good idea as well.

I) I would note that the original 'first usage' date of the Mark, predates your website by a very long time, so your false allegation of a 'date defense' is entirely incorrect, unless your website was first published before June 30, 1975. Nonetheless your continued use and abuse of the mark is quite clearly ongoing, I have provided you a list of the pages on your website that link purportedly to "Jack Shulman" and a copy of your lead-in page.

The trademark was applied for on March 29, 2007, published for opposition on October 9, 2007, and granted on December 25, 2007. I don't really care that Jack Shulman was using the name "Jack Shulman" before any of those dates. The name was not trademarked when he started publishing defamatory web sites about me.

J) Remove/Delete all of the indicated pages immediately, do not post any more pages bearing such notices or rants or infringements, motivated by your apparent characteristic abuse of anyone who contacts you asking you to do such removals, and as I stated below:

a) Leave us alone

You first.

b) Stay away from us

You first.

c) Do not attempt to contact us further

I have never contacted you in the past and I have no useful email address to do so now, so there is no "further" to be had.

d) Keep your distance

I am quite happy to be half the circumference of the Earth away from you and I would like it to stay that way.

K) I will check back from time to time to see what you are up to, if you comply and remain in compliance, then we can dispense with litigation so long as you remove any further links to your website that uses keywords similar in any manner to the Trademark and that you do not attempt to mirror your site elsewhere.

I don't use keywords on this site, but even if I did your trademark wouldn't be one of them.

L) One more thing. The law requires I place you on adequate notice before filing suit. The attachments should suffice as proof that you received and were placed on adequate notice as to your Trademark Infringements and Copyright Violations as well as your libelous and defamatory intent and other misbehavior.

So it's copyright too now, is it? You really should use a real lawyer instead of pretending to be one yourself.

Thank you!  Sincerely,
Michael I. Levy
Intellectual Property Consultant
WORLDWIDE
908-272-9430
http://www.worldwide-entertainment-group.com



See more Jesus and Mo here


An immortal scam (31/7/2010)
I subscribe to the media alert mailing list of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and each week I receive notice of several ACCC actions against crooks and charlatans. My main interest is in actions against cancer "curers" and pyramid scheme operators, but every now and again a race betting scam pops up. Like pyramid schemes, these all seem to be built on the same template, with some small changes each time to try to get around the black letters of the law.

Another scheme was shut down this week, and you can see the media release here. (Pedants might say that it hasn't been shut down, but if they can't advertise they can't get more victims.)

Horse betting software promoter stops advertising

Sports betting software company, Intervest Global Live Pty Ltd has stopped an advertising campaign on SeekCommercial after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission raised concerns about claims made for a horse betting software program called "Trilogics".

Intervest Global has acknowledged in a court enforceable undertaking that a number of claims in its advertisements about Trilogics software and how much people had earned from using the software were likely to be misleading or deceptive.

Intervest Global had represented in advertisements:

that it guaranteed that customers would earn $50,000 - $70,000 from home by using the software, when Intervest Global did not offer a guarantee of this nature that customers had earned a certain amount of average income from using the software in 2008, when Intervest Global had no basis for making that representation that it had many customers who had been with Intervest Gobal for 10 years, when Intervest had no basis for making that representation, and that the software was a franchised business, when it is not a franchise.

"It is fundamental that businesses must be able to substantiate every claim that they make about a product, particularly where claims about earnings and guarantees are designed to lure in potential buyers," ACCC deputy chair Peter Kell said.

"Consumers should be wary of businesses promising big returns from sport or horse betting products," Mr Kell said. "Remember that sports betting is gambling, not an investment, and the ACCC has been contacted by many consumers who have lost money through sports betting products."

The ACCC has been working with the Queensland Office of Fair Trading, Queensland Police, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Taxation Office to develop coordinated enforcement and consumer education strategies to tackle these types of sports betting products.

The ACCC can now issue notices that require businesses to substantiate claims that they make. If they breach the Trade Practices Act 1974, businesses also risk being issued with infringement notices of $6,600 for corporations and $1,320 for individuals, under the ACCC’s new powers.

Intervest Global and its director Mrs Terri-Lee Whyatt have provided court enforceable undertakings to the ACCC acknowledging that that the conduct was likely to have breached the Act. Intervest Global is required to publish corrective notices on its website and at its premises for three months and to implement a trade practices law compliance program for three years.

For more information about sports betting products and investment schemes visit: http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/878568 or call the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502.

Media inquiries

Mr Peter Kell,
Deputy Chair, (02)92309152
Ms Lin Enright,
Media, (02) 6243 1108 or 0414 613 520

General inquiries

Infocentre 1300 302 502

Release # NR 153/10
Issued: 29th July 2010

A few days before the media release went out I checked my PO box, and you will never guess what I found. Oh, you did guess - a very glossy brochure promoting a betting scam from an outfit called FLI Systems Pty Ltd. (When I saw that they are renting a serviced office address by the month I was tempted to make a weak joke about FLI-by-night Systems, but I resisted.)

I just love the way it has been designed to look like some sort of business magazine, with the word "Investor" right there at the top to grab your eye and attention. Inside are all the usual signs of scams like these - fantastic predictions for the future based on uncheckable or post hoc claims about the past, an address at a serviced office complex (at $110 per month for mail collection and answering the phone), talk about dreams and financial security, pictures of people spending lots of money, all the stuff you see in all of the tiresome promotional materials for get-rich-quick schemes. If all the mentions of horse racing were replaced with stories Complaint to the ACCC about FLI Systems Pty Ltdabout soap powders or magic healthy berries or cheap telephone calls the brochure could be recycled by any number of multi-level pyramid scheme operators and nobody would notice the difference.

I've had dealings with some of these betting scamsters before (see Premium and Foxtab) and in both cases I received subtle threats over the telephone, not the sort of behaviour you would expect from people running legitimate businesses. As I didn't for a moment think for a moment that these business were legitimate (I particularly liked the fake accountancy firm used by Premium Strategies) getting threats was no surprise. I have of course reported this new scam to the ACCC and you can see the completed complaint form here. Maybe nothing will be done, but nothing will be a certainty if nobody ever complains.

One of the strongest arguments against the worth of any betting scheme is that unless you are prepared to travel to racecourses around the country all betting is done by totalisator, meaning that you share the winning pool with all other successful punters. If I had a good system to pick race winners I would keep it to myself to maximise my income. I would not be wanting to share it with anyone. This argument is analogous to one of the objections to multi-level marketing, which is that it makes no business sense to create competitors for yourself, so the whole thing has to be based on getting people to buy into the scheme, not sell product

The ACCC has an excellent brochure about betting scams. It's a pity that more people don't read it.


The real moon "landing" (31/7/2010)


Keeping the bastards honest (31/7/2010)
That was the slogan of an Australian political party, the Democrats, which was founded on the principle of making sure that the government kept its electoral promises. (The party foundered when the parliamentary leader did a deal to introduce a new tax that the government leader had promised would "never, ever" be passed into law. The Democrats are now what is usually referred to as "a footnote in history".)

Codes of Conduct are supposed to keep people honest, and in many companies and organisations they are taken very seriously. I am a TAFE teacher and the part of my employer's Code of Conduct relating to sexual relations with students is not something that I can optionally accept or reject. Other Codes have much less compulsion placed upon them, and here I am particularly referring to the one applying to unregistered health "practitioners" in my home state of New South Wales. You can see the poster containing the Code here. One of the requirements of the regulations establishing the Code is that a copy has to be prominently displayed wherever anyone is offering health advice or treatment, unless the practitioner is a registered medical doctor acting within their scope of registration. A very public sample of alternative medicine sellers can be found at any Mind Body Spirit Festival, but I have yet to see a single quack displaying the notice there, although there always seems to be enough drawing pins and space on the walls to put up the advertising material.

Here is the current Code as specified in Public Health (General) Amendment Regulation 2008

1   Definitions

In this code of conduct:

health practitioner and health service have the same meaning as in the Health Care Complaints Act 1993.

Note. 

The Health Care Complaints Act 1993 defines those terms as follows:

health practitioner means a natural person who provides a health service (whether or not the person is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law).

health service includes the following services, whether provided as public or private services:

(a)  medical, hospital and nursing services,
(b)  dental services,
(c)  mental health services,
(d)  pharmaceutical services,
(e)  ambulance services,
(f)  community health services,
(g)  health education services,
(h)  welfare services necessary to implement any services referred to in paragraphs (a)–(g),
(i)  services provided by podiatrists, chiropractors, osteopaths, optometrists, physiotherapists, and psychologists,
(j)  services provided by optical dispensers, dietitians, masseurs, naturopaths, acupuncturists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, audiologists, audiometrists and radiographers,
(k)  services provided in other alternative health care fields,
(l)  forensic pathology services,
(m)  a service prescribed by the regulations as a health service for the purposes of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993.

2   Application of code of conduct

This code of conduct applies to the provision of health services by:
(a)  health practitioners who are not required to be registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (including de-registered health practitioners), and
(b)  health practitioners who are registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law who provide health services that are unrelated to their registration.
Note. Health practitioners may be subject to other requirements relating to the provision of health services to which this Code applies, including, for example, requirements imposed by Part 2A of the Act and the regulations under the Act relating to skin penetration procedures.

3   Health practitioners to provide services in safe and ethical manner

(1) A health practitioner must provide health services in a safe and ethical manner.
(2) Without limiting subclause (1), health practitioners must comply with the following principles:
(a)  a health practitioner must maintain the necessary competence in his or her field of practice,
(b)  a health practitioner must not provide health care of a type that is outside his or her experience or training,
(b1)  a health practitioner must not provide services that he or she is not qualified to provide,
(b2)  a health practitioner must not use his or her possession of particular qualifications to mislead or deceive his or her clients as to his or her competence in his or her field of practice or ability to provide treatment,
(c)  a health practitioner must prescribe only treatments or appliances that serve the needs of the client,
(d)  a health practitioner must recognise the limitations of the treatment he or she can provide and refer clients to other competent health practitioners in appropriate circumstances,
(e)  a health practitioner must recommend to his or her clients that additional opinions and services be sought, where appropriate,
(f)  a health practitioner must assist his or her clients to find other appropriate health care professionals, if required and practicable,
(g)  a health practitioner must encourage his or her clients to inform their treating medical practitioner (if any) of the treatments they are receiving,
(h)  a health practitioner must have a sound understanding of any adverse interactions between the therapies and treatments he or she provides or prescribes and any other medications or treatments, whether prescribed or not, that the health practitioner is aware the client is taking or receiving,
(i)  a health practitioner must ensure that appropriate first aid is available to deal with any misadventure during a client consultation,
(j)  a health practitioner must obtain appropriate emergency assistance (for example, from the Ambulance Service) in the event of any serious misadventure during a client consultation.

4   Health practitioners diagnosed with infectious medical condition

(1) A health practitioner who has been diagnosed with a medical condition that can be passed on to clients must ensure that he or she practises in a manner that does not put clients at risk.
(2) Without limiting subclause (1), a health practitioner who has been diagnosed with a medical condition that can be passed on to clients should take and follow advice from an appropriate medical practitioner on the steps to be taken to modify his or her practice to avoid the possibility of transmitting that condition to clients.

5   Health practitioners not to make claims to cure certain serious illnesses

(1) A health practitioner must not hold himself or herself out as qualified, able or willing to cure cancer and other terminal illnesses.
(2) A health practitioner may make a claim as to his or her ability or willingness to treat or alleviate the symptoms of those illnesses if that claim can be substantiated.

6   Health practitioners to adopt standard precautions for infection control

(1) A health practitioner must adopt standard precautions for the control of infection in his or her practice.
(2) Without limiting subclause (1), a health practitioner who carries out a skin penetration procedure within the meaning of section 51 (3) of the Act must comply with the relevant regulations under the Act in relation to the carrying out of the procedure.

7   Appropriate conduct in relation to treatment advice

(1) A health practitioner must not attempt to dissuade clients from seeking or continuing with treatment by a registered medical practitioner.
(2) A health practitioner must accept the right of his or her clients to make informed choices in relation to their health care.
(3) A health practitioner should communicate and co-operate with colleagues and other health care practitioners and agencies in the best interests of their clients.
(4) A health practitioner who has serious concerns about the treatment provided to any of his or her clients by another health practitioner must refer the matter to the Health Care Complaints Commission.

8   Health practitioners not to practise under influence or alcohol or drugs

(1) A health practitioner must not practise under the influence of alcohol or unlawful drugs.
(2) A health practitioner who is taking prescribed medication must obtain advice from the prescribing health practitioner on the impact of the medication on his or her ability to practice and must refrain from treating clients in circumstances where his or her ability is or may be impaired.

9   Health practitioners not to practise with certain physical or mental conditions

A health practitioner must not practise while suffering from a physical or mental impairment, disability, condition or disorder (including an addiction to alcohol or a drug, whether or not prescribed) that detrimentally affects, or is likely to detrimentally affect, his or her ability to practise or that places clients at risk of harm.

10   Health practitioners not to financially exploit clients

(1) A health practitioner must not accept financial inducements or gifts for referring clients to other health practitioners or to the suppliers of medications or therapeutic goods or devices.
(2) A health practitioner must not offer financial inducements or gifts in return for client referrals from other health practitioners.
(3) A health practitioner must not provide services and treatments to clients unless they are designed to maintain or improve the clients’ health or wellbeing.

11   Health practitioners required to have clinical basis for treatments

A health practitioner must not diagnose or treat an illness or condition without an adequate clinical basis.

12   Health practitioners not to misinform their clients

(1) A health practitioner must not engage in any form of misinformation or misrepresentation in relation to the products or services he or she provides or as to his or her qualifications, training or professional affiliations.
(2) A health practitioner must provide truthful information as to his or her qualifications, training or professional affiliations if asked by a client.
(3) A health practitioner must not make claims, either directly or in advertising or promotional material, about the efficacy of treatment or services provided if those claims cannot be substantiated.

13   Health practitioners not to engage in sexual or improper personal relationship with client

(1) A health practitioner must not engage in a sexual or other close personal relationship with a client.
(2) Before engaging in a sexual or other close personal relationship with a former client, a health practitioner must ensure that a suitable period of time has elapsed since the conclusion of their therapeutic relationship.

14   Health practitioners to comply with relevant privacy laws

A health practitioner must comply with the relevant legislation of the State or the Commonwealth relating to his or her clients’ personal information.

15   Health practitioners to keep appropriate records

A health practitioner must maintain accurate, legible and contemporaneous clinical records for each client consultation.

16   Health practitioners to keep appropriate insurance

A health practitioner should ensure that appropriate indemnity insurance arrangements are in place in relation to his or her practice.

17   Certain health practitioners to display code and other information

(1) A health practitioner must display a copy of each of the following documents at all premises where the health practitioner carries on his or her practice:
(a)  this code of conduct,
(b)  a document that gives information about the way in which clients may make a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission, being a document in a form approved by the Director-General of the Department of Health.
(2) Copies of those documents must be displayed in a position and manner that makes them easily visible to clients entering the relevant premises.
(3) This clause does not apply to any of the following premises:
(a)  the premises of any body within the public health system (as defined in section 6 of the Health Services Act 1997),
(b)  private hospitals or day procedure centres (as defined in the Private Hospitals and Day Procedure Centres Act 1988),
(c)  premises of the Ambulance Service of NSW (as defined in the Health Services Act 1997),
(d)  premises of approved providers (within the meaning of the Aged Care Act 1997 of the Commonwealth).

18   Sale and supply of optical appliances

(1) A health practitioner must not sell or supply an optical appliance (other than cosmetic contact lenses) to a person unless he or she does so in accordance with a prescription from a person authorised to prescribe the optical appliance under section 122 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.
(2) A health practitioner must not sell or supply contact lenses to a person unless he or she:
(a)  was licensed under the Optical Dispensers Act 1963 immediately before its repeal, or
(b)  has a Certificate IV in optical dispensing or an equivalent qualification.
(3) A health practitioner who sells or supplies contact lenses to a person must provide the person with written information about the care, handling and wearing of contact lenses, including advice about possible adverse reactions to wearing contact lenses.
(4) This clause does not apply to the sale or supply of the following:
(a)  hand-held magnifiers,
(b)  corrective lenses designed for use only in diving masks or swimming goggles,
(c)  ready made spectacles that:
(i)  are designed to alleviate the effects of presbyopia only, and
(ii)  comprise 2 lenses of equal power, being a power of plus one dioptre or more but not exceeding plus 3.5 dioptres.
(5) In this clause:

cosmetic contact lenses means contact lenses that are not designed to correct, remedy or relieve any refractive abnormality or defect of sight.

optical appliance has the same meaning as it has in section 122 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

If the quacks don't bother to display the Code in a very public place like the MBS Festival then I have no reason to believe that they display the notice in any of the other places where they hang their shingles and encourage people to come for doses of snake oil and magic. The corollary to that is that if they don't bother to display the Code there is little reason to expect that they comply with it. Why should they, anyway? They know better than real doctors or health departments about how to treat and prevent disease, so why should they have to comply with orthodox medicine's restrictive and suppressive rules?

There are methods of complaining about medical "practitioners", although as we found with the recent HCCC investigation into the Australian Vaccination Network, rulings resulting from such investigations might not be able to be enforced. Still, that shouldn't stop us complaining, and you can see the procedure for complaining here. I should also point out that this notice has to be displayed "at the premises where the practitioner carries out his or her practice" just like the Code of Conduct and is displayed with the same level of invisibility.


Administration stuff (31/7/2010)
Some of my time this week has been spent on replacing the DHTML menu system that has been used on this site for a few years. I had been meaning to do this for some time, but when I decided to make the front page menu clearer by explicitly pointing to archives I decided it was the time to bite the bullet, get under the hood, get my hands dirty and refresh a few clichés. There wasn't a lot wrong with the old system but it made maintenance a bit harder than it should be because if I moved or renamed a page I had to remember to change it in the menu system as well if there was a link there. Also, the previous system used six JavaScript files which all had to be loaded with every page. By getting rid of these the load on the server will be relieved and pages might even load a little faster. (Did you notice that the word 'load" is used with several different meanings? That's an example of semantic overloading. Just sayin' ...)

In another great technology update I now have a new keyboard and mouse. That means I have to adjust to slightly different responses from both and this slows down productivity for a while. And Logitech - I love your equipment and my office is littered with your keyboards, mouses, web cameras and speakers, but could you please, please, put a CAPS LOCK LIGHT ON YOUR WIRELESS KEYBOARDS? Thank you. Non-rant mode resumed.

And there's another thing that's been wasting my time this week. You can find a clue in this picture of the right-hand front corner of my car. Note the glamorous duct tape holding the headlight in.



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