Sunday, August 02, 2009

Metastatic growth: Health Dept hires another $1.5m worth of bureaucrats

They ALREADY have 3 "administrative" employees for each medical worker. Bureaucracy grows like a cancer

QUEENSLAND Health has created a whole new level of senior bureaucracy which will cost the state's taxpayers more than $1.5 million a year. The department is looking for nine new directors to head "people and culture" units. The newly created roles will take the place of the previous directors of human resources - with those staff absorbed into other positions within the already bureaucrat-heavy department.

Sources told The Sunday Mail that the new directors were "very senior" and would be paid between $130,000 and $160,000 a year, with extra benefits such as a vehicle, mobile phone and superannuation. "These are new positions, not upgrades of existing positions," a department insider said. "All the HR directors that were in place before are still there. "In fact, these HR directors were in place prior to district amalgamations in 2008, when districts were reduced to 'streamline' services. "It appears the amalgamation did not reduce nor streamline these numbers and now there are going to be nine more in a new layer. "More galling is the fact that these positions were created by corporate head office. The districts didn't ask for them. "For staff working in the real world, this new layer of bureaucracy is insulting and embarrassing at a time of fiscal constraint in our departments."

Job advertisements placed last week said Queensland Health was seeking nine "outstanding executives" to "drive the strategies in relation to people and culture that will best position the organisation to meet the challenges ... resulting from both an ageing and ever increasing population". Applicants had until August 3 to apply for the roles in Brisbane, Cairns, Rockhampton, Mackay, Darling Downs, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast.

Queensland Health director-general Michael Reid claimed they were not "additional" roles - but then acknowledged they were newly created. He said the $1.5 million annual salaries would not add to the department budget. Mr Reid said: "These district office positions will be funded by re-directing funds that were previously allocated to positions in corporate office. "Queensland Health is engaged in significant organisational change, following the revised reporting and accountability arrangements implemented in late 2008. "This process has included the establishment of the health service districts with their chief executives - a process that is now being supported by the creation of nine district executive directors for people and culture. "The role of these officers is to ensure public health services are efficient and focus at all times on the safety and care of patients at a district level."

The Sunday Mail revealed last month that the re-merger of the Transport and Main Roads departments had almost doubled the number of directors in the HR area from five to eight. The three extra directors were expected to add more than $500,000 to the budget each year.


And THIS is the sort of thing all those administrators achieve. See below:

QUEENSLAND Health has been accused of taking head lice more seriously than swine flu and risking the lives of pregnant teachers, school staff and students. Guidelines insist that teachers send a note home with every student advising their parents if a child has head lice - but under the swine flu "protect" phase, schools are no longer required to report cases of the virus.

Last week three pregnant teachers fled an Ipswich primary school after learning three students had contracted the H1N1 virus. Union leaders said the women had to take sick leave or use part of their holidays while they waited until it was safe to return. A worker at the school said other staff were only told of the virus after rumours had spread. She said the pregnant teachers were told to keep working until they developed flu-like symptoms - but all went on leave to protect their unborn children.

"They make teachers send nit notes home but they don't have to tell anyone about swine flu," she said. "If the Education Department do not care about their own staff and the unborn child, then why should they care about the children of parents. "It's like they put their head in the sand and say well, if you don't say anything then swine flu is not present." The staffer said some parents were upset because some had children with special needs who are in the high-risk category.

A study found pregnant women were four times more likely to be admitted to hospital after catching the virus. In the US, two teachers, plus a pregnant woman, have died of the flu.

The Queensland Teachers' Union has demanded to meet health and education bosses. QTU vice president Julia Brown said the union was urging EQ to move pregnant teachers out of harm's way. "We've had a lot of pregnant teachers ringing in very concerned," Ms Brown said. "Moving to 'protect' means that it is not out in the open for our members. That's a worry. "We are urging them to reconsider their policy. You have to think of the unborn child."

Education Queensland and Queensland Health have denied putting anyone at risk. A pandemic vaccine may be ready in September/October and pregnant women will be one of the first groups of people to receive it.


A justice system gone mad

Teen commits dozens of crimes but escapes with no conviction

A TEENAGE burglar who terrorised Melbourne for more than a year, breaking into dozens of homes, has escaped with no jail time, no fine and no conviction. "I had a good lawyer. My lawyer told me I would probably get off," the 15-year-old has boasted.

Victims of crime supporters and residents are dumbfounded after a Children's Court magistrate put the teen on a youth supervision order, the Sunday Herald Sun reports. He admitted to a staggering 65 offences in a 13-month crime spree - committed while he was on probation. During his rampage he stole about $100,000 worth of property from homes and businesses, including cars, televisions, computers, jewellery and motorbikes.

The media cannot report who he is, where he lives, publish a picture or pixelated image of the criminal - because of increasingly severe legal restrictions designed to protect the identity of young offenders. Outlets are also barred from even naming the court where Magistrate Jane Gibson made her ruling.

The youth's rap sheet included two counts of aggravated burglary, 24 counts of burglary, 24 counts of theft and three counts of intentionally damaging property. He also pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon, causing criminal damage, going equipped to steal, and cultivating and using drugs.

The offender was so prolific that even a broken arm did not slow him. He kept stealing for several months after breaking his arm - an injury sustained when he tripped while fleeing the scene one of his crimes. In one case, he stole a laptop from the bedside of his sleeping victim. In another, he took a safe worth $3500 and tried to break it open with an axe when he arrived it home.

Police have described the brazen burglar as one of the most prolific young offenders they have seen. His lawyer even admitted in a children's court that the teen's offending was "extreme".

Magistrate Jane Gibson's decision to spare him detention and even a conviction has prompted fresh calls for an overhaul of the justice system.

Neighbours said the youth and his gang had terrorised their suburb for years. "They're running riot and getting away with murder - maybe that'll be next," one said. Another said they were too frightened to confront the young thugs. "You can't even say anything or you'll come home to a rock through your window," the resident said. "It's a joke of the law what's happened. What's the use of having a law when these kids can just do whatever they like knowing they won't go to jail?"

In sentencing the youth, Ms Gibson said his crimes must have been "terrifying" for his victims. But she praised him for not committing any further offences while out on bail. "You have been on strict bail conditions, but you have kept them," she said. She placed the him on a nine-month Youth Supervision Order, but did not record a conviction. She also lifted a curfew imposed earlier as part of his bail. "Just remember that even though I am taking away the curfew, it is really important you are not out at night committing offences and that you are at school," she said.

A crime victims' group has slammed the sentence. "He will finish up a career criminal - there is no way he is going to rehabilitate with this kind of treatment," Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara said. "It's Mickey Mouse justice being handed out by the Children's Court. A Supervision Order is virtually allowing someone to walk free. "The Children's Court comes under the DHS, it should come under the Attorney-General or the Minister for Corrections."


One of Australia's two subs breaks down

Australia has got 6 of these hi-tech wonders. The only wonder is whether all of them will ever be working. They go back to the mid-90s but nobody has yet got them all to work properly

ONE of Australia's two active submarines has broken down. The Defence Department says the submarine - one of two active in a fleet of six - is being repaired in Adelaide, the ABC has reported.

Defence will not reveal why HMAS Collins had broken down, but Neil James from the Australia Defence Association says the submarine had engine trouble during training south of the Great Australian Bight, the ABC says. "I understand it's got something to do with the propulsion. We just have to wait and see how serious it is," Mr James told ABC radio last night.

The 45 crew members were stranded in Adelaide, the broadcaster said.

Former senior Defence official Alan Behm says the shortage puts the Australian Navy at a disadvantage should Australia go to war. "If it were serious ocean warfare though, we would be in a pretty poor position," he said. "It has a terrible effect on crew morale because the crews are not doing what they're trained to do."

The department says most of the crew will return to base in Western Australia within the next month, ABC reports, with the submarine expected to be back at sea later this year. Defence Minister John Faulkner's spokesman said they would not comment on the status of Australia's submarine fleet for "operational reasons".


Running writing consigned to blackboard of history

This is one innovation I agree with. Printing is more legible. Just to be awkward, I think I will start using cursive again, however. It would be a pity if it were lost. I might even see if I can find my old fountain pen

Running writing is being progressively phased out at Perth primary schools. The death knell has tolled for running writing, with a Perth Hills primary school making printing its hand writing of choice. Chidlow Primary School principal Darrell Kent told Radio 6PR's Harvey Deegan that printing was already the default option for most children when they took notes. "We're teaching a form of printing rather than necessarily cursive hand writing," Mr Kent said. "When adults sit down and write or fill in forms it's always in printing rather than cursive hand writing."

A report penned by Chidlow Primary School reasoned that the "vast majority" of WA students from Year 6 to Year 12 print when presenting their work, taking notes and focusing on writing neatness. The report said that running writing, otherwise known as Victorian Modern Cursive, was used by most students only at school. Printing also matched the format of computer keyboards, the report noted. "The focus is on the educational side of the kids," Mr Kent said. "This is a way that encourages people in spelling and other things as well."

Department of Education spokesman Andrew Thompson said his agency no longer required running writing to be taught in West Australian schools. Mr Thompson said Chidlow Primary's decision to make printing the handwriting of choice was made in consultation with parents and teachers.


No comments: