Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chaos at Canberra public hospital

Emergency patients walking out after 8 hour waits to be seen  -- and that's in the national capital

As many as 773 patients are walking out of Canberra Hospital's emergency department every month without having seen a doctor after arriving looking for treatment, according to ACT Health.

Monthly figures for the department – currently embroiled in a data scandal – show in the past two years as many as 16 per cent of arrivals walked out after being triaged.

The emergency department's clinical director, Michael Hall, said the hospital's latest research showed about half the people who walked out did so through frustration because they had waited too long. "The numbers aren't what we want them to be," Dr Hall said.

"We think getting [the percentage of walkouts] to 5 or 6 per cent would be acceptable."

The hospital does not record why the vast majority of these people walk out but if its own research is used as a guide, it means at least 2700 people a year are leaving the emergency department because they are tired of waiting.

ACT Health says the number of hours these people spend in the emergency department is not counted in the emergency department's overall waiting figures.

One woman, former nurse Clare Knox, told the Sunday Canberra Times she walked out of the emergency department after waiting eight hours.

This was despite still experiencing a severe adverse reaction to medication. Mrs Knox, 68, said she asked that her reasons for leaving be recorded, but said she was told this was not the usual practice.

The Kambah woman said her long wait for treatment, which saw her walk out of the department at 3am one morning last September after arriving by ambulance, was traumatic. It was her only visit to the department in the past four years. "It was really cruel to ignore me," she said. Mrs Knox said she also complained to the hospital about what she said was incorrect record keeping. She said her records indicated her blood sugar level was taken at 9.15pm, while she maintained it happened an hour later. An ACT Health spokesperson said the directorate could not talk about her specific case for privacy reasons.

Opposition health spokesman Jeremy Hanson said her complaint could have alerted the ACT government to the data scandal earlier, if the protocol breach had been properly followed up. "You've got an extraordinary number of people simply giving up," Mr Hanson said.

ACT Health figures show the walkouts for the past year have averaged 9 per cent. In the previous year it was slightly higher with 12 per cent. The worst month was February last year, when 16 per cent (773 patients) left without being seen by a doctor.

The ACT Auditor-General's office recently found as many as 11,700 of the department's presentations were deliberately manipulated between 2009 and this year to improve overall performance information and reporting of the emergency department.

The hospital's executive director of critical care, Kate Jackson, has admitted that in 2010 she began tampering with the department's electronic files to improve waiting time results. Now nobody knows what the true waiting time results are for the city's largest emergency department. The department has just experienced its busiest fortnight ever with 2721 patients through in 14 days, or between 185 and 210 a day.

Meanwhile, department staff were being hampered by delays in other wards, according to Dr Hall. Between 30-50 per cent of patients to be transferred from the department to another ward wait up to eight hours for a bed and spend this waiting time in the department, he said.


Doctor Greg Canning quits James Cook University teaching post over feminist colleague Betty McLellan's 'sexual vilification' of men

She sounds a very hormonal lady

JAMES Cook University is embroiled in an ugly battle of the sexes which has resulted in one academic resigning in protest at the lack of discipline of his "extreme" feminist colleague.

JCU School of Medicine adjunct senior lecturer Dr Greg Canning has quit his teaching job of 10 years, claiming the university failed to caution Adjuct Associate Professor Betty McLellan, who he has accused of publicly practicing sexual vilification.

Dr McLellan, from the School of Arts and Social Sciences, is a feminist ethicist and psychotherapist, with more than 20 years experience. She has written several books, and regularly contributes opinion pieces to radical feminism websites such as the Coalition for a Feminist Agenda.

Dr Canning, who is a men's health advocate, said he took great offence to some of Dr McLellan's writings. An opinion piece, written by Dr McLellan on website Radfem Hub titled 'The Question on Nobody's Lips', states "even with all the evidence we have that something's not quite right with the male of the species, there is still impenetrable resistance to focusing on men's behaviour and asking: what is it about men?"

Dr Canning, who also works as a skin cancer specialist, said the article clearly painted all men as violent or sexual predators.

"She's at the extreme side of feminism, which started out as a movement of equality to bring equal rights to men and women," he said.

"But even though that's largely been achieved, there's still a group of people who believe men are evil.

"The fact people like this are teaching students really bothers me."

Dr Canning made an official complaint to JCU, accusing Dr McLellan through her activities and writings of breaching the university's guidelines for ethical conduct and bringing JCU into disrepute.

JCU, however, reviewed his concerns and found there was no evidence Dr McLellan had breached the university's code of conduct, nor brought it into dispute.

Dr Canning handed his letter of resignation into the School of Medicine last month. He said while university management did not overtly condone the sexual vilification of men, failing to even caution Dr McLellan was a "reprehensible moral and ethical shortcoming".

Dr McLellan said it was ridiculous to suggest she supported violence against men, or vilified them.

"I don't support violence from anybody to anybody: men, women, anybody," she said. "How am I vilifying anybody, really?"

She believed Dr Canning was going over the top by resigning from his teaching position.  "It speaks of a man, really, who is fairly desperate because he's not getting his own way," she said.  "He's not able to silence a woman who has an opinion." 

[Queensland does have anti-vilification laws even if they are expressed as an opinion.  They are however rarely activated  -- JR]


News Ltd CEO Kim Williams vows to fight media censorship in the High Court if necessary

NEWS Limited chief executive Kim Williams has upped the stakes in the media regulation debate, declaring he is willing to go to the High Court to protect free speech.

Speaking at an SA Press Club lunch in Adelaide yesterday, Mr Williams outlined a case against both "Finkelstein" and "Convergence" reviews now before Federal Government.

He said the "preposterous and foolish" Finkelstein recommendations should be treated with caution.

The Finkelstein recommendation for press standards to be overseen by a super regulator was "prima facie bad" because journalists could be fined or jailed with no right of appeal.

When asked how far he was willing to take the company in the fight against the proposed regulations should they be implemented, Mr Williams was unwavering in his response.

"We'll take the matter as far we can - I'll take it to the High Court. If people intend to have this stoush ... let's have it."

Promoting a "consumer first" model of reporting, Mr Williams said it should be the public, not the government, who set the news agenda.  "Consumers anoint the winners, not governments or regulators," Mr Williams said.

"Australians don't need dangerous new laws to give them greater media diversity; they just need a mobile device, or a television or a laptop.

"We should be celebrating this  tidal wave of change and  freedom of information rather than running to hide behind new rules to try to bring it under some tired and inevitably futile form of old-fashioned, unthinking control."

Mr Williams also endorsed the company's print products and said despite the changing media world, News Limited was well positioned to move  forward.

Mr Williams also spoke about recent announcements at News Limited, publisher of The Advertiser, to streamline the company's operations into a "one city, one newsroom" model.

"News Limited has announced a plan to put the customer front and centre of everything we do - to invest and innovate and streamline our organisational structure so that it is fit for purpose for today's world."



Four current articles   below

The relentless Warmist drone of false prophecy
January 4, 2008

This drought may never break

IT MAY be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent, one of the nation’s most senior weather experts warned yesterday.

“Perhaps we should call it our new climate,” said the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate analysis, David Jones.

Sydney’s nights were its warmest since records were first kept 149 years ago.

“There is absolutely no debate that Australia is warming,” said Dr Jones. “It is very easy to see … it is happening before our eyes.”

Four and a half years later – drought in Australia is at historic lows, and Sydney just had their coldest summer on record.
February 15, 2012

Sydney’s record cool weather to continue

WESTERN Sydney is experiencing its coldest summer on record thanks to cloud and rain associated with the La Nina weather cycle.

Tom Saunders, senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel, said Penrith had experienced average maximum temperatures of 26.2C, while Parramatta recorded an average of 24.6C.

Blacktown hit an average 25C.

Meanwhile, Sydney was only able to record an average 24.6C, putting it on track for the coldest summer since 1953.

SOURCE  (See the original for links and graphics)

Scientists agree the Barrier Reef is fast deteriorating

I have been hearing this claim every year for at least the last 50 years, long before global warming was thought of

A diving expedition to the Great Barrier Reef towards the end of this century is likely to be a weird and disappointing experience, for anyone who had seen footage of the reef thriving in our time.

It will be paler, smaller and emptier. Many of the thousands of species of fish, turtles, dolphins and sea birds will have dispersed, and everywhere the crumbling bones of dead coral will be peeking through.

"It's going to be very boring out there," a James Cook University scientist, Janice Lough, told reporters in Queensland this week, at the world's largest gathering of coral researchers.

The bleak vision isn't an exaggeration designed to shock, but the logical consequence of processes that are unfolding now, scientists explained in their daily briefings.

This edition of the four-yearly conference was remarkable for the unified message presented by the 2500 researchers. A statement, said to represent the participants, called for action on pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, which are making the world's oceans more acidic as they absorb extra carbon dioxide from the air.

"This combined change in temperature and ocean chemistry has not occurred since the last reef crisis 55 million years ago," it said. "A concerted effort to preserve reefs for the future demands action at global levels, but also will benefit hugely from continued local protection."

Reefs are caught in a pincer between local pollution and overfishing on the one hand, and rising temperatures and ocean acidification on the other. Dealing with the local threats would put corals in a stronger position to stave off the global problems of heat and acidifcation, which are expected to intensity later this century, said Jeremy Jackson, a senior scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

"Of course, how long this will work, we don't really know," Professor Jackson said. "Climate change is inexorable and we're seeing progressive effects. So, how long local protection will serve to increase resilience is anybody's guess."

Reef decline is worldwide, though some reefs are adapting better than others and those remote from human activity are holding up the best, he said. "If you think about this, the Great Barrier Reef is the best-protected reef system in the world, and still we're seeing these aggressive declines."

Dr Lough, who studies the massive coral skeletons beneath reefs, said warming of the water was contributing to a huge stunting of coral growth in many reefs.

Although corals thrive in tropical waters, their level of tolerance for temperature change can be very small. As global air temperatures have crept up about 0.7 degrees over the past 100 years, water temperatures near the surface have also risen by half a degree, on average. This has driven a global epidemic of coral bleaching and coral diseases, while the higher carbonic acid content of the water means coral structures are often weaker.

"Tropical coral reef waters are already significantly warmer than they were and the rate of warming is accelerating," Dr Lough said. "With or without drastic curtailment of greenhouse gas emissions we are facing, for the foreseeable future, changes in the physical environment of present-day coral reefs."

The change in reef habitat is likely to have a corresponding effect on fish. A coral expert from James Cook University, Philip Munday, described a recent experiment where fish in tanks were exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide. Of the exposed fish, some adjusted to the changes over time, but others showed neurological changes that made them less effective at escaping predators.

"Like coral, there will be winners and losers and the communities of fish we see on reefs in the future are likely to be different to those of today," he said.

The research director of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, Peter Doherty, said Australia appeared to be "losing the war" to save the Great Barrier Reef.

It remains to be seen whether the statement endorsed by the reef research community has any lasting effect, but at least policy makers cannot be accused of having unambiguous advice before them, researchers said.

"The reef consensus statement is just the beginning," said Steve Palumbi, a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University.

"With only the consensus statement there will be no change - it's political leaders that change the world, it's people that change the world. The turning of the corner from science to policy is really difficult to do. That's where we are right now, and that's why we're reaching out to the political leaders of the world."


Another new idiot Greenie tax

A NEW tax on glass and plastic drink containers could push up an average family's grocery bills by more than $300.

The Greens are heavily lobbying for the container deposit scheme to be introduced nationwide and the federal government supports it.

The scheme could cost some families up to $470 a year more as the new charge pushes up prices on drinks containers by 20c - with industry experts saying it could mean paying $4 more for a case of beer.

Analysis of the proposal by consultants ACIL Tasman suggests middle-income families could expect to pay an extra $312 a year for their groceries and low-income families could be slugged $137, while the wealthiest 20 per cent could expect a $473 rise.

The overall average is a $306 per annum price hike.

The analysis was based on a scheme introduced this year in the Northern Territory, which lifted prices by 20c a bottle - double the 10c refund price paid on the empty containers.

The analysis by the economics and policy consultancy firm was commissioned by the Australian Food and Grocery Council, which is strongly opposed to the move.

The Greens have introduced legislation in federal parliament in an effort to force the states into a national scheme.

The proposed increase is a 10c levy or deposit per container, which would be refunded if the consumer returned the empty bottle, but the industry claims transport and set-up costs would make the increase double that.

The ACIL Tasman analysis is based on a 20c increase on all drinks containers up to three litres and exhaustively breaks down the average household spend on drinks in each of five income bands.

AFGC spokeswoman Jenny Pickles called on the government to abandon the plan, which she said was "another tax that will push up the cost of grocery bills for families".

"Cost-of-living pressures are already hurting families. The last thing they need is another tax on basic groceries.

"Just as they're dealing with hikes in electricity and gas bills, they'll also have to pay more for milk (and) soft drinks, and beer could go up by an extra $4 a slab."

Environment Minister Tony Burke said Labor would not force a scheme upon the states.

Instead, he wants them to agree on a national framework through the Council of Australian Governments, with a COAG committee due to decide on the matter next month.

Mr Burke said the cost increases would depend how the states set up their schemes, but that it might not involve imposing a levy on every single container.

The Greens said the reason NT prices increased by 20c a bottle was because of profiteering by the beverage industry, and handling costs might even be as low as 1c to 3c.


Call to cut climate change 'propaganda':

CLIMATE change "propaganda" would be removed from Queensland schools and unions would have less access to workplaces under motions passed by the Liberal National Party (LNP) conference.

Hundreds of LNP members, meeting in Brisbane for the party's annual state conference, passed a motion on Friday calling on Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek to remove "environmental propaganda material", particularly "post normal science about climate change", from the curriculum.

The member who moved the motion said the material was political, but one speaker argued it was dangerous to dismiss different points of view.



Paul said...

"The member who moved the motion said the material was political, but one speaker argued it was dangerous to dismiss different points of view."

The danger lies in teaching one point of view. The teacher's job is to teach students to think and weigh different points of view, or at least it was once.

Peter Deane said...

You can change the archive splitups from Monthly to weekly if you like - you can also change the date format to European style rather than US. Take a look at the Layout page, then edit the Blog Archive parameters (just reading your comments down the right-hand-side of the page). I think you can even set it to daily - anyway, have an experiment.