Monday, October 10, 2011

When the cat's away the mice begin to play

And when the cat is the government, you've got a very absent cat indeed. In the story below the government blames private builders but as anybody in the building game will tell you, new construction requires close supervision at every stage. The government has a body to do that supervision (The Queensland Building Services Authority) but their only concern appears to have been what to have with their morning tea. I was once a Qld. public servant so I know how it goes. I mostly used to have a Chester cake

BRAND new bathrooms have had to be ripped out of dozens of newly built public housing units across Queensland after they were found to be riddled with defects.

A The Courier-Mails investigation under Right To Information requests has found dangerously flooded bathrooms, ceiling damage from a leaking apartment block roof, blocked drainage, toilet leaks, damaged eaves and other problems have plagued accommodation for the needy.

The RTI revealed that in Mitchelton, in Brisbane's north, 10 units were declared "untenantable" two months after a block of 15 newly completed dwellings were handed over to the Department of Communities.

One month after the takeover, only one tenant, who otherwise would have been homeless, had been able to move in an urgent transfer.

The documents also revealed significant defects in six units in a new 12-block complex located at Stafford.

A document titled "Bathroom Defects Spreadsheet", dated June 24 this year, lists problems in multiple new public housing units at nine addresses in suburbs including Burleigh Heads, Labrador, Coomera, Mermaid Beach, Beenleigh, Stafford, Mitchelton and Morningside.

Under the Federal Government's $41 billion Nation Building and Jobs Plan economic stimulus package, Queensland's Department of Communities received more than $1 billion to build 4025 units and houses across the state, with each costing less than $300,000 for land and construction.

The Minister for Community Services and Housing, Karen Struthers, said the extent of defects in assisted accommodation built by the private sector was a concern.

"A number of bathrooms in particular were defective and what we've learned from this is the private sector needs to get its act together and meet Australian adaptable housing standards," she said.

"Let this be a message to private industry. On the projects they do with us, we expect a high standard and we expect them to understand the Australian standards."

With more than 1000 extra new units to be built by June next year, Ms Struthers said the message to the private building sector "is getting through, but we need to keep a close eye on this".

The Queensland Building Services Authority, which policed the projects, referred questions to Ms Struthers's office.

Master Builders Association executive director Graham Cuthbert had no record of the Department of Communities alerting his organisation to the problem.


Another woeful TGA bungle

Another watchdog that doesn't watch. I wonder if they too have Chester cakes with their morning tea?

MORE than 2000 patients were fitted last year with artificial hips shown to have high failure rates, exposing them to at least double the risk of needing painful and costly repeat surgery.

The latest figures on repeat joint surgery rates have been released as a Senate committee prepares to issue a critical report after delays in withdrawing the failure-prone DePuy hip prosthesis.

But despite records showing 24 brands of hip prostheses failing at twice the normal rate, 2700 were implanted last year. More than half of these involved products that had been identified at least two years ago as problem prone, the National Joint Replacement Registry shows.

A spokeswoman for the Therapeutic Goods Administration said an expert group would ''urgently consider'' the figures.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has come under fire from surgeons and patient groups for the three years it took to act on the DePuy prosthesis produced by Johnson & Johnson.

The company withdrew the parts from the local market in late 2009 and issued a global recall of 93,000 DePuy implants in August 2010. It is dealing with 3500 claims and has paid $21 million to patients.

In Australia about 80,000 artificial hips and knees are implanted every year.

The metal-on-metal joints have also been linked to dramatically increased levels of cobalt and chrome leaching into surrounding flesh and muscle.

Robert Lugton, who had to have surgery for the revision of his DePuy hip, has condemned the lack of public warnings. He said that when his implant was done in January 2008 there was already damning evidence available.

The chief executive of the Australian Health Insurance Association, Michael Armitage, said the fresh evidence made ''a compelling case for the minister to insist the TGA take urgent action to ensure poorly performing joints are removed from use''.


Negligent Melbourne public hospital can't even read an x-ray

A THREE-YEAR-OLD girl's broken leg was left untreated for three days after she was labelled a drama queen by her GP and turned away from Casey Hospital.

Malia De Thaierry was jumping on her trampoline at her Cranbourne home on Thursday when she fell off and injured her leg. Her mother Aroha knew instantly there was something wrong. "She was screaming like crazy and she's never like that," she said.

She took Malia to her GP, who dismissed her concerns and sent her home with orders to keep giving her daughter Nurofen. "He said, 'I can move her leg, she's fine,"' Mrs De Thaierry said.

Mrs De Thaierry was not convinced when her bubbly daughter refused to walk on her leg and took her to Casey Hospital on Thursday night. "They did X-rays after we waited for hours and said nothing is broken and you can take her home," she said.

"I took her back to the GP on Saturday and he hadn't even looked at her and he said, 'I think she's being overly dramatic, she's fine."'

At home, Malia was still crying and refusing to stand on her leg and Mrs De Thaierry took her back to Casey Hospital a second time. "We stayed there all night and they took blood tests because they thought the swelling might be due to an infection," she said.

"Finally on Sunday morning they reviewed the X-rays from Thursday and said her leg was fractured."

Mrs De Thaierry said she was furious that her determination was the only reason her daughter got the appropriate medical treatment. "They just kept saying, 'It's all right, it's all right' but I knew something was wrong," she said.

"They are the ones we are meant to trust and listen to and they're not giving us the right advice and the right diagnosis."

The incident is a latest in a series of blunders by Casey Hospital and comes after a little girl almost lost her life after twice being misdiagnosed and sent home with a burst appendix last month.


Traditional Australian families a dying breed

THE number of traditional family households is set to shrink to less than a quarter by 2026, with childless homes to become the new norm.

AustraliaSCAN projections, provided exclusively to the Herald Sun, show the number of households with nuclear families is forecast to plunge from 33 per cent in 2006 to just 22 per cent in the next 15 years.

For the first time, single households and couples with no children at home are expected to eclipse the classic households of mum, dad and children living with them.

Single-person homes are predicted to rise from 24 per cent to 31 per cent, making up the biggest demographic of households in the country, the household composition data shows.

Experts say the ageing population, people living longer, stresses on families, financial pressures, rising divorce rates and fewer marriages are shaping changes to the family structure.

The traditional notion of the family has also been reinvented in modern times to include step families, de facto couples, single parents, gay parents, international adoption and surrogacy.

Imogen Randell, managing director of Quantum Market Research which runs AustraliaSCAN, said the classic Aussie family was a shrinking group of households. "If the trend continues as it has done for the past 30 years it could be that by 2026 they are in the minority," she said. "We are living longer and, as we age, it's more likely that we will end up living alone, either divorced or widowed.

"Our population is ageing, fewer people are getting married and the fertility rate is currently below replacement levels (at about two babies per woman)." The couples with no children category includes empty nesters.

An AustraliaSCAN survey of 2000 people has found more than 80 per cent believe having a good marriage and happy children are signs of accomplishment in life.

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett recently stirred debate by saying happy heterosexual marriages are the best environment for children's mental health.

His comments came after the release of a report by a Sydney family law professor, commissioned by the Australian Christian Lobby saying two married parents tend to provide better outcomes for children than one.

Melbourne family psychologist Sally-Anne McCormack said the vital thing for a child was to be loved, no matter what the family model.

She was shocked by the AustraliaSCAN predictions, even taking into account the ageing population. "People are putting off children later," she said. "And I'm seeing a growing trend where people are less willing to work on a relationship and will just leave if it gets too hard."

Households shrank from 4.5 children in 1911 to 2.6 in 2006, Australian Institute of Family Studies figures show.

AIFS director Professor Alan Hayes pointed to contraception and better educated career women delaying childbirth as influences on family size.

"I do not see this as the demise of the family. They are coming in smaller sizes and a wider range of shapes," he said. "The question in terms of public policy is what supports do we need to help families function well."


1 comment:

Paul said...

"Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett recently stirred debate by saying happy heterosexual marriages are the best environment for children's mental health."

Kennett was good for Victoria way back in the 90s. Labor has dined out on the financial rescue he conducted (as they do). On this he is right yet again. Anything else is a poor second best.