Friday, July 11, 2008


Three articles below: Just one day's worth

Nasty Leftist politician jealous of private PET scanner

Builders in the middle of installing a life-saving PET scanner were ordered to leave the Hobart Private Hospital or risk breaking the law. Health Minister Lara Giddings said the scanner did not have her approval. MIA Tasmania says it spent five years and several million dollars obtaining approvals and training specialists to use the Positron Emission Tomography scanner -- the only one in Tasmania. It has approval letters from the Department of Health's health physics unit and the Royal Hobart Hospital. The scanner is due to be ready for patients next month.

"On Monday we were told we had to get ministerial approval. The previous approval was retracted," said Mark Simpson, general manager of Regional Imaging which owns MIA Tasmania. He said Healthscope, which leases the building from the State Government, was forced to tell them to leave. "We intended this scanner for use for public and private patients statewide," Mr Simpson said.

Tasmania is the only state without a PET scanner -- which measures how far cancers have spread and helps determine whether to operate or not. Hundreds of Tasmanians each year travel to scanners interstate. PET can help diagnose Alzheimer's, epilepsy and heart disease. But the Federal Government promised late last year to buy a scanner for Tasmania -- right next door in the RHH. The public plan is expected to take three years or more.

However, Ms Giddings said the State Government had not approved the MIA scanner. "The Hospitals Act is designed to ensure the safety of patients is protected when additions or alterations are made in private medical establishments," she said. She told estimates hearings last month she had not issued the licence to MIA.

Mr Simpson said if such approval was required, it had not been so for all the other equipment they had brought in. PET is a sub-branch of nuclear medicine. MIA provides all the RHH's nuclear medicine reporting services.

"This move could deprive seriously ill Tasmanians of an important diagnostic tool and beggars belief," said Liberal health spokesman Brett Whiteley. Greens leader Nick McKim said Tasmanians needed access to PET scans sooner rather than later, something Ms Giddings should be facilitating.


W.A.: Blind war vet, 80, 'waited 20 hours' for hospital bed

No capacity in the system for coping properly with upsurges in demand -- WHICH HAPPENS EVERY WINTER!

An 80-year-old war veteran was forced to wait nearly 20 hours overnight for a bed at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital emergency department, his wife claimed today. Edward Webster from Bedford was brought to SCGH emergency department by ambulance yesterday afternoon about 3pm for a bone marrow test. It was at the urging of his GP.

His wife, 76-year-old Helen, said she left him at the hospital at 9pm. At the time he was still waiting in a wheelchair. When Mrs Webster returned early this morning she found out he had still not been admitted to hospital for a bed. He was yet to be given a bed at 10.30am today, but is believed to have been admitted into a ward just before 11am.

Mr Webster suffers from a leukaemia-like blood disorder known as myelofibrosis. He is also blind. "He is still in emergency right now," Mrs Webster told Perthnow just after 10am. "He has not been admitted to hospital."

SCGH executive director Dr Amanda Ling refused to comment on Mr Webster'r ordeal, but conceded there were a "significant number of patients" in the hospital's emergency department yesterday afternoon. She said a high demand for inpatient beds had caused delays for some patients. "We do not comment on individual patients -- all patients have a right to medical confidentiality," Dr Ling said. "On Wednesday evening, there was a significant number of patients in the emergency department including three patients with life-threatening conditions which meant patients with less serious conditions waited to be seen by a doctor. "Every patient who presents to the emergency department is triaged by a senior nurse when they arrive. Patients with serious conditions are treated ahead of those with less serious conditions.

"If a patient needs to be admitted to hospital, they will be transferred to a ward as soon as a bed becomes available. Every patient in the emergency department is monitored closely throughout their stay. "We are currently experiencing high demand for inpatient beds which has caused delays for some patients. "Our staff work very hard to ensure every patient receives the very best care throughout their stay. We are more than happy to fully investigate any concerns patients or their families have about their care if they alert us."

A frustrated Mrs Webster rang 6PR talkback radio station this morning to report the situation concerning her husband. She said she had now been told by hospital staff that her husband would most likely be transferred to Hollywood Private Hospital. "I'm angry and very upset," Mrs Webster said. "I'm not angry with the hospital. I am angry with the Government. He's a war veteran. For him to be treated like this is just not right." Mr Webster served in the peace keeping corps in Japan following World War II.


Health levy plan to `hurt poorest'

The Catholic Church -- the nation's biggest operator of hospitals after state governments -- has warned Kevin Rudd that his move to lift Medicare surcharge levy thresholds will hammer the battlers he wants to help by choking already stressed public wards and lengthening surgical waiting lists. In a devastating critique of one of the Prime Minister's main 2008-09 budget initiatives, Catholic Health Australia has used government data to warn the change will lump public hospitals with a $400 million burden of providing an extra 200,000 procedures in the next 12 months, The Australian reports.

CHA also predicts elderly people seeking hip and knee replacements will be among the hardest hit and that the changes will trigger an unavoidable 10 per cent increase in private health insurance premiums next year. "The CHA review has found specific impact on low- and middle-income earners -- the group the proposed threshold changes were in fact designed to assist,'' says a submission the organisation lodged yesterday with the office of Wayne Swan. "Patients in both public and private sectors will be adversely impacted by the likely fall in private health insurance membership, but it is low- and middle-income earners who will bear the brunt of the new pressure that will be placed on the public health system.''

But the Treasurer last night defended the changes, saying the increase in thresholds was designed to provide relief for families facing the tax, originally introduced by the Howard government to target high-income earners but never indexed. In the budget handed down in May, Mr Swan announced an increase in the income thresholds at which people without health insurance face an extra surcharge worth 1 per cent of their income.

The income threshold at which single people would be liable to pay the surcharge will rise from $50,000 a year to $100,000. Couples will face the surcharge if their combined income exceeds $150,000 -- up from $100,000. Treasury modelling suggests the change will encourage 485,000 people to abandon their health insurance because they will no longer face the penalty of the surcharge. Legislation enshrining the changes was sent to a Senate committee by the Coalition-controlled Senate last month and will be reconsidered next month.


Australian Dire Climate Change Predictions Just a Fantasy?

Post below recycled from Agmates, an Australian rural publication

Last weekend Senior weather forecasters Predicted the best soaking rains for 2008.

"We've been watching several computer simulations for the past few days and they are indicating that some of the best rain for 2008 is likely next week, and this is forecast to fall over some of our worst drought affected areas," Mr Whitaker said in a statement.

"Widespread rainfall totals of 25 to 50mm are likely over large areas of western Queensland, western NSW, northern Victoria and South Australia from Monday to Friday.

Well this is where the rain fell.

Rainfall to 10th July

The map above is from the Bureau of Meteorology from the 1st to 10th of July. Areas that received over 25mls (1 inch) are green. You can see for yourself how accurate these prediction were just a few days out. They were wrong - what a surprise.

Apparently the scientists can’t be accurate 3 days out, but 30 years from now they can. What a ridiculous assumption / conclusion that is.

Each day we hear of the dire predictions for our rainfall and temperature in 20-30 and 50 years time. We are expected to take this computer modeling seriously (and unbelievably State and Federal governments are) when they aren’t even remotely accurate just days ahead.

Climatologist Stewart Franks an expert in hydro-climatic variability at the University of Newcastle in NSW said scenarios set out by Ross Garnaut in his Emission Trading Scheme recommendations were simply wrong. He said

“The whole idea that you can say that by 2030 or 2040 rainfall will be a certain percentage less is a complete nonsense because it ignores the natural variability,”

Read all that Stewart had to say in an article in this weeks Australian Newspaper. Garnaut scenario ’simply wrong’

New South Wales Treasurer Michael Costa caused a stir this week when he called parts of Professor Garnaut’s report “Chicken Little arguments” (You know -The Sky is falling”) In his column in the Australian he says:

“For example, claims from some quarters that the Great Barrier Reef would be destroyed if Australia, which emits less than 2 per cent of global greenhouse gases, does not adopt an ETS are patent nonsense.

Chicken Little arguments are no substitute for getting right the important details on issues of far-reaching consequence.”

Photo 2: Below is a BOM map showing the % of rainfall received across Australia for the last 2 years compared to the mean.

Photo of BOM rain percentages

Federal agriculture minister Tony Burke (pictured below) earlier this month released a joint assessment by the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO. In particular, the study found exceptionally high temperatures would occur almost yearly, while low rainfall would almost double in frequency from current figures. He said:

Photo of Tony Burke“While this is a scientific report, parts of these high level projections read more like a disaster novel than a scientific report.”

“What’s clear is that the cycle of drought is going to be more regular and deeper than ever.”

Minister Burke even though he was being serious is quiet correct. It is just science fiction.

Finally, lets keep it all in a bit of perspective. Heres the BOM map showing the area of Australia that is in drought for the last 2 years. To paraphrase Stewart Franks - we have seen it all before and we’ll see it all again. The good seasons and the bad.

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