Thursday, December 22, 2011

More oppressive Green insanity coming

THE cost of cooling your home and cooking dinner could double under a new Gillard government power proposal. Charging consumers more for electricity during the evening peak, and less at other times, is among a raft of "policy options" contained in a discussion paper made public yesterday.

The plan would involve a statewide rollout of so-called "smart meters", which have caused anger among some consumers whose bills have risen sharply. Other proposals put forward in the paper include minimum energy standards for appliances, rebates and green building regulations.

There is also a bizarre plan allowing energy companies to remotely control home airconditioners in high-demand periods in return for a discount at other times - a move experts say would hit western Sydney hard.

After the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency released the consultation paper for a proposed national energy savings initiative, acting Greens leader Christine Milne claimed it was "another great Greens idea coming to fruition".

The push for a new green scheme would, according to the paper, "complement" the carbon tax, which will add $171 to power bills and would come on top of the existing renewable energy target scheme which added $100 to power bills this year. Smart meters monitor electricity usage in 30-minute intervals and feed information back to the energy company.

Some families in new homes with so-called smart meters are already on time-of-use tariffs where, between 2pm and 8pm, they pay 44c a kilowatt hour - twice the flat rate.

Energy Australia was forced to allow 200,000 households in NSW to revert to a flat rate if they wanted to after time-of-use charging hurt those who were at home during the peak period - new parents, pensioners and the disabled.

Energy Australia claimed 70 per cent of households were better off with smart meters. But research by St Vincent De Paul has shown time-of-use charging imposes double-digit increases on young families and the welfare-dependent.

Senator Milne said: "For too long, governments, businesses and householders haven't tackled our hugely wasteful use of energy because there has been no clear and urgent driver to do so." She said a target for energy use reduction should be set at 3 per cent a year.

Energy Users Association executive director Roman Domanski said similar schemes in Australia and overseas had produced limited benefits. He said time-of-use pricing would be more pronounced in hotter areas of Sydney - the west. "If the government introduces a scheme like that, it is going to increase bills," he said.

"We're now going to have a carbon price that is going to encourage people, supposedly, to lower emissions and also reduce the amount of energy people use so we wonder why you need one of these sorts of schemes to push electricity prices up even more."

A spokeswoman for parliamentary secretary for climate change Mark Dreyfus said a national energy savings initiative was aimed at "helping households and business save money on energy costs".


Dangerous "Marie Stopes" abortion facility in Melbourne

A 42-YEAR-OLD woman died days after attending a controversial abortion clinic in Croydon last week. Authorities have confirmed that the woman was taken to the Box Hill Hospital where she died on Sunday, after earlier having "a procedure at a private Croydon clinic".

A spokeswoman for the Coroners Court of Victoria said yesterday that the "unexpected" death of the woman, from Sunshine, would be investigated.

It is the fourth investigation involving the clinic in six years.

Anaesthetist James Latham Peters allegedly infected more than 50 women with hepatitis C at the same clinic in 2008 and 2009. Peters, who was bailed on a $200,000 surety, will return to court in May for the remainder of the committal hearing.

The surgery's owner, Dr Mark Schulberg, was in 2009 found guilty of unprofessional conduct for failing to gain legal consent to perform a late-term abortion on an intellectually disabled woman.

And earlier this year it was revealed that a 40-year-old woman was left fighting for her life in the Box Hill Hospital after Dr Schulberg performed a late-term abortion surgery on her.

Health Department officers yesterday visited the abortion clinic, which also gives advice on sterilisation and contraception devices, after being made aware of the death. "There was no indication from the visit that it was operating outside its requirements," a department spokesman said.

The department also notified the medical practitioners' watchdog, the Medical Board of Australia, of the death.

Last year police began investigating the surgery, formally known as Croydon Day Surgery and now the Maroondah surgery of Marie Stopes International Australia, after claims patients had been infected with hepatitis C.

Peters, 62, was suspended by the practitioners' board and was this year charged by police with conduct endangering life, recklessly causing injury and negligently causing serious injury. He is facing 162 charges of infecting women patients he treated for pregnancy terminations at the surgery between 2008 and 2009.

Dr Schulberg, who was on holiday, was not available for comment yesterday. He is still being investigated by the practitioners' board after 40-year-old mother Pheap Sem was rushed to hospital in August in a critical condition after a late-term abortion.

In 2008 he was found guilty of professional misconduct by the board for failing to gain legal consent for the 25-week abortion of an intellectually disabled woman raped by her father. A year later he was found guilty of inappropriately prescribing painkillers.

Marie Stopes International chief executive Maria Deveson Crabbe said yesterday the organisation was helping in the probe into the Sunshine woman's death.

"It is with great sadness that we confirm the death of a female patient, who attended our associate registered day procedure centre in Maroondah on Wednesday, December 14, passed away at Box Hill Hospital on Sunday, December 18," Ms Deveson Crabbe said. "Due to patient confidentiality it is not possible to go into any details about the patient or the service they received."

A spokeswoman for the Medical Board of Australia confirmed it had received notification about the death.


A good school culture can have powerful effects

Religious schools generally have an advantage in that respect. And, being private, they don't have to put up with disruptive students

A SCHOOL in Melbourne's east founded on the principles of Christian Science has outperformed selective-entry government school Melbourne High in this year's VCE results.

Melbourne High has dropped off the list of top three schools for the first time since figures were made publicly available in 2003, outflanked by Mac.Robertson Girls High, Huntingtower School and Loreto Mandeville Hall.

Huntingtower School in Mount Waverley, an independent school based on the teachings of Christian Science, has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the rankings. In 2003, 15 per cent of its subject scores were 40 or above, and it was outperformed by 63 schools. This year Huntingtower School placed second, with 36.6 per cent of subject scores 40 or above. VCE subjects are marked out of 50, with a study score of 30 the average, and more than 40 considered an excellent result.

Huntingtower principal Sholto Bowen said the school encouraged its students to support one another rather than compete against each other.

"We are creating a sense they are all part of a team and not trying to beat [one another]. We are not trying to actually beat other schools," Mr Bowen said. "Every student knows it's their responsibility to help every other student when they are feeling stressed or under pressure. I don't think we do anything that couldn't be done by anyone - we are just creating that culture of kindness and understanding and support."

Mr Bowen said the school believed that every child expressed the infinite intelligence of God. "We want them to get the idea they have no limits," he said.

Christian Science is derived from the writings of its founder, Mary Baker Eddy, and the Bible. No doctrinal instruction in religion is given at Huntingtower and all faiths are welcomed.

The school's website says that while Christian Science is perhaps best known for its emphasis on healing by spiritual means, the wishes of parents of Huntingtower students for medical attention for their children is respected at all times.

Kahli Joyce, one of 57 VCE students at Huntingtower, attributes the school's success to a strong network between students and teachers.

"It was not only about the academic side of things, we also took time out to bond as a year level," said Kahli, who hopes to study biomedicine at Melbourne University.

Year 12 students attended a weekend retreat early in the year, where they discussed team and individual goals, and wrote positive affirmations about every student.

"Throughout the year we were always together as a year level, and in the common room we would take time out to find out how everyone was going. That really helped give us a positive learning environment."

Meanwhile, Jewish schools also performed extremely well, with Bialik College, Yeshivah College and Mount Scopus Memorial College all in the top 10. The top Jewish schools were Bialik College in Hawthorn and Yeshivah College in St Kilda East, which both had 33.3 per cent of study scores 40 or above.


Idiot bureaucrat endangering patients at Victorian hospital

BAIRNSDALE Hospital could be left without a senior staff doctor due to a crisis prompted by the sacking of one of its senior doctors. Dr Scott Deller left the hospital immediately after having his contract terminated by chief executive Wayne Sullivan this month, prompting the resignation of the hospital's only other senior doctor, Mark Pritchard. The emergency department's nurse manager, Julie Lawrence, also resigned last week.

The departure of the hospital's two senior doctors puts enormous pressures on the town's GPs, who say the situation needs to be urgently resolved. Sources say the latest development follows an exodus of staff under Mr Sullivan, and more than 140 employees have signed a petition calling for his resignation.

Senior Bairnsdale GP John Urie said the hospital doctors were needed to run the emergency department and supervise junior doctors including interns. While the town's 17 GPs have always been relied on to attend the hospital to deal with emergencies and deliver babies after hours, Dr Urie said that they were now being stretched too thin with calls out to the hospital in the day as well.

Dr Pritchard is still working Monday to Friday, but staff and local GPs are highly concerned about his imminent departure, particularly during the busy holiday period.

Dr Urie said the town's GPs "can only stretch so far. We're under a lot of pressure to keep the service up. GPs can't continue to cover these people who aren't there. "We've been working closely with the board of management to try and resolve the situation. We've told them how serious we think this is and we are relying on them to sort this out very quickly."

One staff member, who did not want to be named, said hospital management was putting lives at risk. The employee said the situation would only get worse as tourists flocked to holiday spots in East Gippsland.

"We've got 20,000 people coming to the area over Christmas and no doctor cover," he said. "[Mr Sullivan] has no idea what it's like in the clinical field and it's people's lives we're talking about. "We've got incredibly dedicated staff here, but we really don't know what else to do."

The staff member said that as recently as Monday - the hospital's busiest day - there was no doctor on duty. Dr Pritchard was on a rostered day off and had not been replaced.

"When there's no doctor here, the residents are just under phone call guidance from the on-call GP, but they can't call about everything," he said. "So a lot of the time it becomes the role of the nurse to make major decisions."

Dr Pritchard, who is still working at the hospital until his resignation takes effect, declined to comment. Dr Deller signed a confidentiality agreement upon leaving the hospital so was unable to speak to The Age. It is believed he was dismissed after clashing with Mr Sullivan about the conditions of his new contract.

In a statement released last night, the Bairnsdale Regional Health Service board said it had appointed a consultant to review the hospital's operations early next year. A report would be made available to the board within four to six weeks.

"In the meantime we wish to assure our staff, patients and the community that we are well placed to cope with these issues in the short-term and we are very confident in the long-term future for our health service."



Paul said...

It would be very interesting to know the background and loyalties of the Bairnsdale CEO. That is where the truth is always uncovered in Healthcare.

Col Hayward said...

Well were are told were so lucky that our hospital runs in the black, and wins all the major prizes. But were now being told, we have no doctors or seniors staff. Money or prizes Will not save lives. Hello, only DOCTORS& NURSES can. One wonders why we have a health minister.