Sunday, January 18, 2009

The "caring" Leftist mania for closing down public hospitals continues

Yesterday it was Queensland. Today it is South Australia. And once again the bureaucrats think they know better than the doctors. They didn't even bother talking to the doctors! My suspicion is that some Leftist hater just didn't like the "Royal" in the name of the existing hospital. They are small-minded enough for that. Witness all their whining about politically correct words

Eminent medical specialists have launched a campaign to save the Royal Adelaide Hospital, saying the city does not need the planned $1.7 billion Marjorie Jackson-Nelson Hospital. A group of respected senior doctors who have spent the past year "brooding and alarmed" have decided to go public with their opposition and have formed a committee dedicated to saving the RAH from being bulldozed. "We want genuine discussion about whether the RAH really needs to be closed," spokesman Dr James Katsaros said yesterday. "We have a responsibility to look at whether we are making a terrible mistake in spending $1.7 billion on something that is not needed while erasing an iconic institution. ". . . as senior members of the medical community we came to the view that if we did not stand up against this lunancy, no one would. "We have been brooding on this for a long time, whispering in corridors and over coffees about the madness of the plan, which was announced without consultation with the medical community."

The "Save the RAH Medical Committee" says the state does not need a new hospital and the RAH's patient accommodation could be upgraded for far less than the Marj's ballooning $1.7bn cost - and the work completed far earlier than the Marj's 12-year time frame. The Save the RAH group includes leading and retired orthopaedic surgeons, cardiologists, plastic surgeons, oncologists and pathologists, as well as people who have held representative positions such as Australian Medical Association office holders. Members so far include Dr Peter Hetzel, Dr John Sangster, Dr Daryl Teague, Dr Francis Ghan, Dr Randall Sach, Dr Peter Malycha, Dr Philip Harding and Dr Katsaros.

The committee is holding a meeting for the medical fraternity at the RAH on March 16 to discuss the issues and see if there is genuine support for the new hospital. If the meeting shows a lack of support for the Marj, the committee will widen the debate to public meetings. The key concerns of the Save the RAH group include:

A LACK of consultation by the State Government with the medical community or the AMA before the plan was announced;

A LACK of convincing arguments in favour of building the Marj;

MISINFORMATION about the state of the RAH, which they say has been substantially upgraded in recent years;

DESTRUCTION of the close working relationship between the RAH, Adelaide University Medical School, Hanson Institute and Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, which are all on the one city campus;

ABOLITION of the brand name "Royal Adelaide Hospital" - world famous within medical circles.

Dr Katsaros, committee chairman and director of the plastic and reconstructive surgery at the RAH, said the group represented conservative people who otherwise would not want to be caught in a political row. "There was no review to see if it was actually needed, no public debate, just an announcement," he said. "We have been alarmed ever since the announcement was suddenly made and the discussions among doctors have been ones of alarm and incredulity. "Being conservative, it has taken a while to band together and go public, but we have to show leadership and generate genuine discussion about whether we need a new hospital. "While we as senior doctors feel we must stand up, we also have the support of many junior staff as well as nurses and allied health workers who believe the RAH should be retained. "I believe we do not need a new hospital at all; but if the overwhelming view of the medical community after we have discussions is that we do need one, then we will say `so be it' and move on."

Dr Katsaros noted the RAH was world respected, both in facilities and in name that also promoted the city. "The RAH has a brand new emergency (department), which is state-of-the-art, an intensive care area the envy of most hospitals, a world-class burns unit, modern dialysis unit and so on," he said. "Every hospital has to start planning upgrades virtually as soon as they are built, but the RAH right now is at a point where the most urgent thing is a new patient accommodation wing. "That could be built for around $300 million, rather than $1.7 billion, and could be completed in a couple of years rather than waiting 12 years."

The committee will meet AMA officials this week with a request it notify members of the March 16 meeting in the hope of having the largest possible number of the medical fraternity on hand to voice their opinions about whether a new hospital is needed.

Dr Katsaros said the Marj announcement came without any review into whether it was needed. "The existing institution can be refurbished and rejuvenated, as was done in the 1960s when a larger RAH was rebuilt on site without major problems," he said. Dr Katsaros emphasised the RAH name was a respected and valuable brand name for SA. "Can you imagine the folk in Minnesota bulldozing the Mayo Clinic and building the Michael Jordan Hospital 1km away?" he said. "They'd be a laughing stock."


And a corrupt hospital system in Victoria too

A SENIOR Victorian doctor will this week use a parliamentary inquiry to blow the whistle on alleged corruption, negligence and bureaucratic bungling in our public health-care system. Peter Lazzari is to release a report that says a "deepening crisis in our hospitals" is costing hundreds of Victorian lives every year. Dr Lazzari, head of an acute unit of medicine at Angliss Hospital and deputy chair of the Victorian State Committee of the Royal Australian College of Physicians, says a deteriorating standard of care and training is responsible for more than 500 deaths each year. In a submission to the Upper House Parliamentary Inquiry Into Public Hospital Performance Data, Dr Lazzari is to:

ACCUSE the Brumby Government and health executives of incompetence and intimidation of doctors, calling medical service directors "doctors of death".

CLAIM nurses are frequently violently and sometimes sexually assaulted by patients and that hospital administrators leave them without protection, "terrified" and "alone" at the bedside.

ACCUSE hospital boards and bosses of deliberate and "widespread cruelty to patients, doctors and nurses".

REVEAL several hospital buildings are putting patients' lives at risk because they are riddled with asbestos, have "crumbling internal walls" and have operating theatres that shake when trucks pass.

In a separate submission, Dr Lazzari will tackle "fraudulent waiting list reporting", claiming many hospitals "fudge" waiting list figures, to avoid penalties and claim government bonuses. He says hospitals tweak elected surgery waiting lists for up to a year, then claim it was the patients' choices. Others keep a second set of waiting lists and only enter them into the system when beds are available. He says it is "sentencing patients to pain, suffering and death". Both reports, expected to be released within days, call for major reforms.


Big surrogacy backdown

Politicians see babies as future taxpayers so want more of them

MOTHERS could be paid up to $10,000 to give birth to another woman's child under radical changes to controversial surrogacy laws. Commercial surrogacy is illegal but state governments will consider allowing women to be reimbursed by parents for the medical costs, and up to two months' loss of earnings.

The man behind the proposal, NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos, said existing laws made it difficult for parents to get a passport for surrogate children, or to enrol them in school, The Sunday Mail reports. "If the national model is adopted, courts could grant a parentage order to a couple if it was in the best interests of the child, and the surrogate mother had given her informed consent," he said.

A discussion paper, prepared by the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, will be released today in a bid to introduce a uniform law. It questions whether a same-sex couple could become the legal parents of a child, and whether surrogate mothers must be over 25 years of age and have previously given birth. It also will consider whether intending parents must have a criminal background check.

Other potential changes include having the names of the intended parents on a second birth certificate. The original birth certificate would still exist, and the child would be entitled to both records at a certain age.

Courts would be given the final say on whether a couple should be granted the legal right to be a child's parents.

In Queensland, altruistic surrogacy - where a woman bears a child for a couple without receiving payment - could be decriminalised this year. A parliamentary committee in October recommended that surrogacy not involving payments or gifts be made legal. If the State Government adopts its recommendations, an independent surrogacy review panel, including medical and legal experts, will be appointed to approve applications.

Committee chairwoman Linda Lavarch said couples were being driven overseas and families were being turned into criminals under the existing law.


More idiotic bureaucracy: Identical twins 'not related'

Is this the "compassionate" Rudd government at work?

A WA woman has been told by Australian authorities that she's not related to her identical twin sister. Rosabelle Glasby says she is ``shocked and saddened'' she cannot bring her sister into the country to live because the Department of Immigration and Citizenship does not consider the pair to be related. Adopted by different families shortly after their birth in Malaysia, Mrs Glasby and Dorothy Loader were separated for almost 50 years before finally meeting last September. But now Mrs Glasby, from Margaret River, is facing an uphill battle to be permanently reunited with her twin, who lives in Malaysia.

In a letter to Mrs Glasby last month, DIAC state director Paul Farrell explained that despite the circumstances, the present laws meant Ms Loader would not be eligible for family migration. ``Under Migration Law where the legal relationship between a child and his/her birth parents has been severed by adoption, the legal relationship between the child and his/her birth siblings is also severed,'' he said. ``It therefore does not appear that your twin sister would be eligible for a permanent visa under the Family Stream of the Migration Program.''

Mrs Glasby said she was heartbroken that her long-lost twin did not qualify as family. ``We're identical twin sisters _ we're the same egg,'' she said. ``Just because we got adopted into different families they say they don't consider us related. ``It's hard to get anyone more related to me.''

Following an arduous search for her twin that stretched two decades, Mrs Glasby located her sister late last year and the pair finally met in Perth for an emotional reunion. Having spent time in Australia and then Malaysia getting to know each another, Ms Loader said the sisters, who turn 50 next month, were desperate to be together. ``We have a bond that perhaps only other identical twins can understand,'' she said. ``We don't just want to be together, we need to be together; it is as strong as that. ``I hope the people who know about our story will have the compassion and mercy to grant this last wish of mine to be with my sister and turn my dream into reality.''

Mrs Glasby, a former WA Health Department worker who now acts as a carer for her disabled husband, echoed the sentiments of her twin sister. ``She calls me the yin and I call her the yang _ as a whole, we work together as one,'' she said. ``We've totally bonded and we want to be together. Without her, I now feel incomplete.''

Mrs Glasby's husband, Marc, said he found it difficult to understand the department's policy. ``It doesn't make sense _ I think the typical phrase is `bureaucracy gone mad','' he said. ``Now (that) the department has decreed that the identical twins are not related, this effectively closes off our last avenue to apply.'' He said because Ms Loader was over the age limit of 45 that applied for most skilled migration streams, the sole remaining hope for her to obtain a permanent visa was a plea on compassionate grounds. ``What more compassionate grounds could there be when these two have got nobody else in the world as blood relatives and they want to be together?'' he said.

A DIAC spokeswoman said the family would have to lodge a valid visa application and have it denied before ministerial intervention on compassionate grounds could take place. ``As much as we sympathise with Mrs Glasby's situation, the department is bound by Australian law and any application for a permanent visa for her sister and her sister's family would have to be considered against the relevant laws and the regulations which apply to every case,'' she said.


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