Monday, July 27, 2009

Blacks reject medical care

To get ANY medical staff to serve in the behavioural sink of a black settlement is a big challenge and only a Bangladeshi doctor could be found who was willing to work at the notorious Doomadgee. Now the Doomadgee blacks are blaming that doctor for something he didn't do and say that therefore they don't want him back. So they will now most probably have NO doctor at all. Clever! But no-one ever said they were clever.

The event complained about is the death of a young girl from unknown causes. But the doctor never saw the girl until very late in the piece. It was nurses who refused to admit her to the hospital. But they are not being blamed -- presumably because they too are black.

Post-mortems have however shown that the nurses were correct in at least one aspect of their judgments. They thought she did not have swine flu and it has now been shown that she did not.

What nobody is saying is what she DID die of. So I will mention the unmentionable. She may have died as a result of sexual assault or the complications of a sexually transmitted disease. What grounds do I have for such a scabrous suggestion? Several OFFICIAL reports have now said that sexual abuse of young black children is rife in black communities.

Andrew Bolt has more

THE grandfather of a girl, 4, who died after she was turned away from Doomadgee Hospital in northwest Queensland says her doctor should not come back. Naylor Walden died in her grandmother's arms on Thursday night before her family could get her transferred to the larger Mount Isa Hospital. She had been ill for days before being admitted to the Doomadgee Hospital on Wednesday.

Her grandparents have claimed she was turned away from Doomadgee Hospital several times in the previous week because she was Aboriginal and because of swine flu concerns. Test results on Saturday showed Naylor tested negative to swine flu and the normal flu.

Doomadgee's attending doctor has been flown out of town on police advice. Naylor's grandfather, Athol Walden, told ABC Radio the doctor was no longer welcome. "I don't think he will be welcome back here any more because of the little life that was left in the palm of his hand never came back," he said on Sunday. "With us Aboriginal people, in our traditional law, it takes a long, long time to let go of what has been taken away from us. "I wouldn't welcome him back."

The racism allegations have been rejected by state Health Minister Paul Lucas. "No one more than our doctors and nurses are committed to treating people without regard to their colour," he said. "I have not seen one skerrick of evidence in my time as health minister ... to indicate anything other than our doctors and nurses are absolutely committed to the health of people regardless whether they're indigenous, non-indigenous, refugees or where they come from in the world." A joint investigation into the girl's death by Queensland Health and the state coroner Michael Barnes is underway.


Federal takeover of hospitals?

It's hard to imagine that this could make them any worse than they already are but "surprise me" is all I can say. Note that in the '70s another Labour Party leader (Gough Whitlam) set up some Federal public hospitals but those were eventually quietly and gratefully handed over to the States. Rudd will be mounting a real gorilla on his back if he goes ahead with this but I suppose he expects to be out of office before the full horrors emerge. Prediction: The State governments won't give him much opposition. They will give him control over their hospitals with a big sigh of relief

KEVIN Rudd has flagged a referendum to take control of the nation's healthcare system. Commonwealth, state and territory leaders will meet later this year to examine the health system in the wake of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission report, unveiled by Mr Rudd today. Australians face paying a higher Medicare levy to fund a universal dental health scheme.

A preferred reform plan will be discussed at COAG in early 2010, but the Prime Minister has warned he will hold a referendum if agreement is not reached. “If there's no agreement to a comprehensive reform plan the commonwealth will proceed to seek a mandate from the Australian people for the proper reform of our health system,” he said.

Mr Rudd said today the report had “massive implications” and the Government had an obligation to get it right. “Fundamental decisions about the entire system must not be taken lightly and we don't intend to do so,” Mr Rudd said in Canberra.

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull claimed the Prime Minister had broken an election promise. “Let's be quite clear about this,” he said. “In 2007, Mr Rudd said to the Australian people he would fix the public hospital system by 30 June this year or he would take it over. “And he has done neither. He hasn't fixed it. Things have gone backwards and he hasn't taken it over. “One broken promise after another. At some point he's going to have to deliver.”

Mr Turnbull said the Opposition would not support the report's recommendation to raise the Medicare levy to 0.75 per cent to fund a universal dental scheme.

The commission has recommended the commonwealth should run and fund all primary health care, basic dental care and aged care as well as indigenous health. It also suggested the commonwealth fund all outpatient services and 40 per cent of emergency admissions. The report also leaves open the option of eventually funding 100 per cent of hospital admissions, but explicitly said that should not occur straight away.

The consultation process starts in Sydney tomorrow when Mr Rudd and Health Minister Nicola Roxon visit some of the city's public hospitals.

One recommendation, likely to be welcomed, is the suggestion that commonwealth fund a new Denticare Australia. The commission says the more than 650,000 people are presently on public dental waiting lists and the dental health of children is worsening. “To address these problems we are recommending a new universal scheme for access to basic dental services - Denticare Australia,” the report says. It will cost an estimated $3.6 billion a year. Under the scheme every Australian will have access to basic dental services “regardless of people's ability to pay”. It will be funded through an increase in the Medicare levy of 0.75 per cent of an individual's taxable income.

The reports also suggests every Australian have an electronic health record to improve continuity of care. New laws would protect the privacy of each individual's e-health record, which they would control. The changes to who runs what would be coordinated through a Healthy Australia Accord with the states and territories. [Another disaster waiting to happen. Has no-one noticed how often the British bureaucracy regularly "loses" huge amounts of confidential information?]


Another take on the Rudd proposals:

FOUR out of five people would be tied to a single doctor [This sounds like a re-creation of the British horror story, where doctors treat each patient very cursorily. They have no incentive to do otherwise] and all patients guaranteed a GP appointment within two days under $16 billion in health reforms. The reforms are set to be unveiled today by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Elderly people could be forced to sell their homes to secure a nursing home bed and a subsidised dental care scheme introduced, as part of the biggest shake-up to health in decades.

The Rudd Government is also being urged to build stand-alone elective surgery hospitals, as part of an ambitious push to cut waiting lists.

In a major attack on obesity, every primary school would have access to an on-site nurse to encourage kids to exercise and stop them from eating McDonald's and other fast foods.

The Courier-Mail has obtained the final 300-page report from the Health and Hospitals Reform Commission. The report, containing 123 recommendations, is expected to form the basis of the Rudd Government's second-term agenda. It outlines the sheer scale of health reforms confronting the Government.

With health costs rising sharply, the report warns that governments will not be able to afford our current health system within 25 years – unless radical change is introduced. Dr Christine Bennett, who was hand-picked by the Prime Minister to hold a 16-month inquiry, has bluntly warned there is a "pressing need for action" to tackle the fragmented health system.

In its 300-page report, the expert panel outlines a massive shift in the treatment of mental health patients. In the wake of high-profile suicides as a result of cyber bullying, it calls for early intervention by trained nurses in mental health cases. New 24-hour "rapid response outreach" teams would also be rolled out to respond to attempted suicides and other mental health emergencies.

The report outlines a $500 million plan to address disadvantages faced by rural communities. This includes $143 million in top-up payments for GPs and other practitioners. Sick people in the bush would also receive $250 million a year in travel and accommodation subsidies as part of efforts to ensure they received health access equal to that of city people.

The commission also recommends the formation of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Authority which must "hold all health services to account" in its work.

The commission has backed off recommending an immediate Commonwealth takeover of state public hospitals but it does suggest that Canberra may eventually need to fully fund public health services. The report calls on the Federal Government to take over 100 per cent funding of public hospitals in the long term. It says this funding change would shift responsibility for health care away from the states to the Federal Government.

Mr Rudd said yesterday that he could still seek a mandate through a referendum at the next election.

The report calls for an urgent injection of funding of up to $5.7 billion a year. The costs of the new Denticare scheme is estimated at more than $3 billion – although this could be offset by a rise of 0.75 per cent in the Medicare levy.

With increasing levels of obesity and diabetes, the Government has been told to set up a national preventative health agency.

The report also backs greater education for young people including "teenage girls at risk of pregnancy".

The Government has also been told to introduce a national system of electronic patient records by 2012 – giving individuals the power to keep personalised health records.

With millions of Australians suffering chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, the report says these people should be encouraged to enrol with a single doctor who will co-ordinate all their health care needs.


Mother sues public Hospital after nearly bleeding to death

A DIABETIC mother has begun legal action against Ipswich Hospital, alleging staff's negligence nearly caused her to bleed to death during childbirth. The 32-year-old has served Ipswich Hospital, west of Brisbane, with a notice of claim for negligence.

The Ipswich mother of four, who only wanted to be known by her first name Kylie, said she was traumatised after haemorrhaging 1.5 litres of blood two hours after giving birth in May. "Instead of sending me to the operating theatre, they were giving me morphine and trying to fix the clotting by reaching into my cervix not just once but four agonising times," she said. "I was screaming in agony and they had my legs pinned down telling me to be quiet.

"My daughter, who was there holding the newborn, was crying and my sister was crying because the midwives and the doctor wouldn't listen."

Her lawyer Olamide Kowalik said Kylie had begun action against the hospital over her treatment and also for the trauma her 12-year-old daughter suffered from witnessing her mother's ordeal.

Ipswich Hospital was served the notice of claim in early July and has 30 days to respond and supply medical records. The hospital's executive director, Dr Gerry Costello, declined to comment, saying it was inappropriate due to ongoing legal action.

Ms Kowalik said the hospital should have been aware there would be complications because medical records showed Kylie bled through her three previous pregnancies.


QANTAS: An airline that doesn't give a sh*t about its passengers -- or anything else much

Qantas seems not to do any real maintenance on its planes and when the inevitable malfunctions occur too bad about the passengers. The story below is about Jetstar, the low-cost tentacle of QANTAS. Qantas is the same airline that recently had a near-riot on its hands in Perth after a very long and unexplained delay. They should enable passengers to phone someone in the airline who can actually be helpful -- including offers of a no-cost transfer to another airline. The EU has strict rules about compensation that airlines must pay to delayed passengers. For once, I think Australia could learn from the EU

A FRUSTRATED Jetstar passenger is urging travellers to prepare for the worst when flying with the low-cost airline. Glenn Cullen took a swipe at Jetstar after revealing his bad experience when flying with the airline for the first time:

THERE had just never been the need to use Qantas' cheaper, younger brother Jetstar. Until recently. The occasion was a 50th birthday weekend on the Gold Coast, and I was initially travelling from Sydney to Brisbane. Despite literally dozens of flights between the two state capitals each day across a number of airlines, this proved something of a task.

When I arrived for flight JQ818 to depart at 2.35pm I was told it would now be leaving at 6.45pm. No explanation or apology, just that it was delayed until that time. I discovered I could get a refund but this did not extend to the price of a ticket with another carrier; it would cost me three times as much to fly with someone else at short notice.

I could however attempt to claim a refund on the difference for a new ticket through Jetstar head office. And that's where the fun began.

Me: "Before I purchase my ticket can I speak to someone about the likelihood of actually getting a refund for this?"

Customer Service: "No sir, you have to post it in and try your luck."

Me: "But how do I know if I will get a refund in the circumstances?"

Customer Service: "I'm sorry sir, all I can do is give you an address."

As I have a function to attend that night I ponder my options. Pay up and hope for the best, wait for the flight or ring Jetstar. I ring Jetstar Australia.

After a 20 minute wait I get put through to someone in South East Asia who eventually also tells me to send in a letter.

Me: "Do you not have someone who I can speak to now?"

Customer Service: "No".

Me: "Can I speak to a supervisor?"

Customer Service: "No, I'm the most senior person."

Me: "Well, as the most senior person, can you tell me whether I would be likely to get a refund?"

Customer service: "No I can't."

Me: "Can I speak to someone else?"

Customer Service: "No you can't, I'm the most senior person."

Me: "Can you transfer me to someone at your head office in Australia?

Customer Service: "No I can't."

And so it went.

Eventually I'm told I can hang up and dial the Jetstar number again and if I press the first option I will get onto someone in Australia. I ring, wait another 20 minutes to get through and seem to be connected to someone in Asia. Again.

Me: "Can you transfer me to someone locally?"

Customer Service: "No."

Much the same conversation transpires before I eventually hang up. Sigh.

I sit it out for three more hours in the domestic terminal before re-checking in. Then I am handed a $10 voucher by a stonefaced Jetstar check-in clerk. I think to myself this may be some compensation – back as a nine-year-old when I charged out my time at $2.50 an hour. Be that as it may I take the voucher with me onto the flight.

Once I have boarded the flight is delayed a further 45 minutes due to two missing passengers. The pilot points out our collective frustrations should not be taken out on his crew as the flight staff were on standby and it's not their fault. He does not however offer a suggestion as to where said frustrations can be taken out.

To this point I have not raised a temper. Upon ordering some cheese and crackers from the food cart this changes. The exchange goes like this.

Steward: "That will be three dollars."

Me: "I'll pay for this with the voucher, thank you."

Steward: "You can't use the voucher for this."

Me: "I'm sorry?"

Steward: "This is valid in the terminal only."

Me: "Are you kidding?

Steward: "No – and it says that on the voucher. You would have had plenty of time to use it at the terminal."

I shake my head and double check classy, photocopied stub only available for use on day and not for the purchase of alcohol.

Me: "Can you tell me exactly where on the ticket it says it's only for use in the terminal?"

Steward: Looks at ticket, pauses and responds: "Well, you would have been told that when you were given it."

Me: "No, I wasn't. Are you making this up as you go along?"

Heather "Well sir, I wasn't there so I don't know whether you were told or not."

Me: "This is (expletive). I have to wait five hours for a one hour flight and you are squabbling with me over three dollars for some cheese and crackers?"

She looks at me disdainfully and offers a punchline that could have come straight from the movie Clerks.

Steward: "Well what do you want me to do, it's my day off!"

Me: "I think I'll take it up with head office."

Steward: "You do that".

Touche – if only there was a number I could call.

Later, a spokeswoman for Jetstar said the flight was "unfortunately delayed due to a technical issue" and refreshment vouchers were only for use at the airport. "We arranged for an alternative aircraft to operate this service, however, unfortunately there was a five-hour delay," she said. "As per our normal policy, we provided all passengers with vouchers for refreshments for use at the airport."

She said Jetstar sincerely apologises to Mr Cullen (the writer) for any inconvenience this delay may have caused him. "Passengers were also able to request a free move to another Jetstar service, or a full refund of their Jetstar fare, which we would have processed immediately upon his request," she said.


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