Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Queenslanders stuck on public hospital waiting list

"Free" hospitals are no use if you can't get an appointment there

SICK Queenslanders are going blind and getting hooked on painkillers as they wait for years to have surgery in public hospitals.

Elderly patients are waiting longer for eye surgery and hip and knee replacements due to a major blowout in surgical waiting lists in Queensland. Waiting times have ballooned to more  than a year for one in every 30 Queenslanders requiring cataract surgery and one in 36 needing a hip or knee replacement.

An investigation by The Sunday Mail into waiting lists has revealed: 

*  Elderly patients have gone blind waiting for cataract surgery; 

*  Children are living on pureed food as they wait months for a tonsil operation, and; 

*  Patients have become hooked on dangerously addictive drugs to deal with the pain as they wait for back surgery, or hip or knee replacements.

Hotspots for long waiting times include the retiree hubs of the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Hervey Bay, as well as Cairns and Townsville. Queensland Health data reveals 56,176 Queenslanders are in the queue for surgery —an increase of 7 per cent in two years despite record spending on hospitals. As many as 876 patients died while waiting for elective surgery last year.

Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Queensland chairman Dr Bruce Willett, warned delays were making patients sicker. "Cataract surgery delays can be very tough on old people," he said. "They can't see, so they can't read and they can't watch TV and become very isolated. Some may end up with a fall or hurt themselves, compounding the health problems."

Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone warned patients were becoming "dependent" on drugs to ease their pain if they waited too long for an operation. "People are becoming very dependent on painkillers because they've got no other option," he said. Dr Bartone said record funding was failing to keep pace with demand for surgery. "Not only are we living longer, but we've got an ageing population with more complications," he said.

At the new $1.5 billion Queensland Children's Hospi-tal, one in 10 kids needing an eye operation, and one in eight needing general surgery, are waiting longer than the clinically recommended time for an operation.

Sick children are waiting longer for tonsillectomies and ear grommets, eye operations and orthopaedic surgery. One in 30 sick children had to wait at least a year for an eye operation or bone surgery. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data reveals the proportion of patients waiting more than a year for surgery in Queensland's public hospitals has trebled in the past two years. One in every 75 patients waited more than a year for surgery in 2018-19, compared to one in every 250 pa-tients in 2016-17.  And more than 14,000 patients queuing for surgery were moved between hospital waiting lists in 2018-19.

AIHW data shows that for orthopaedic surgery, waiting times have doubled in past five years, with 90 per cent of patients now queuing up to 344 days for orthopaedic surgery. At Caloundra hospital, one in eight cataract patients has been forced to wait longer than a year for surgery. The median wait for orthopaedic surgery has more than trebled at the Gold Coast University Hospital  

At Queensland's biggest hospital, the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, the median wait for ear, nose and throat operations — including tonsil removal — has nearly doubled to 42 days, with one in 17 patients waiting longer than a year. The wait for orthopaedic surgery exceeds a year for one in every 15 patients.

From the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" of 9 Feb., 2020

African gang raids a Melbourne Woolworths and menaces shoppers and staff with knives and bats

The frightening moment hooded thugs armed with baseball bats and a kitchen knife stormed a Woolworths has been caught on camera.

The video showed the gang of youths as they terrorised customers and employees at Lyndhurst Woolworths on Thompsons Road, in Melbourne's south east, just before 9pm on Sunday.

Scared workers screamed with their arms in the air as the offenders shouted from across the room and began counting back from five before throwing an object over the counter.

One man then approached an employee and struck her with a baseball bat.

Local man Rob was on his way to buy cigarettes when saw the gang trying to escape via the carpark with a trolley full of groceries. He saw the offenders assault a female employee and acted 'without thinking'. 'I saw them assault a lady that tried to stop theft, I chased them and then defended myself,' he told Daily Mail Australia.

Rob knocked two weaponless offenders to the ground before onlookers helped him against the remaining two.

One thug pulled a large kitchen knife before retreating to their car.

'I felt sick to the stomach because my girlfriend was nearby,' he said.

Another witness posted a screenshot on social media of a series of text messages they sent as the chaos unfolded.

'Five-six guys attacked this guy at the front of the store. I think they had bats and a knife,' the message read. 'The store is locked down.'

Woolworths confirmed no staff members were injured. 'There is no place for this aggression and violence anywhere in our community and our thoughts are with those caught up in the incident,' a spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.

We thank our team for acting quickly to lock down the store in line with our safety procedures. 'We've been supporting Victoria Police with its investigations and will continue to help in any way we can.' 'We've also moved to strengthen the security presence at the store.' 

Victoria Police spokeswoman Belinda Batty said the men escaped with a trolley of goods.

'Police have been told a knife was produced and several customers attempted to intervene,' she said.

'No one required medical treatment. The group left the scene in a vehicle and are yet to be located at this stage.'


How 60 Minutes 'ignored' a crucial factor as to why Australia suffered such a hellish bushfire season - leaving the show accused of left-wing bias

As I pointed out yesterday

Viewers have slammed the 60 Minutes program for barely addressing the issue of hazard reduction burns during a one-sided debate about Australia's summer bushfire crisis.

The Nine Network's flagship current affairs show instead featured three eminent panellists ganging up on former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce and accusing him of downplaying the science of climate change.

Mr Joyce, a former Nationals leader, repeatedly acknowledged that global warming was occurring, even though he remains staunchly opposed to a carbon price on emissions.

Despite that, he was accused of being a climate change sceptic during a panel discussion on the bushfires moderated by 60 Minutes reporter Tara Brown.

Addressing Mr Joyce, visiting American climate scientist Professor Michael Mann accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison's Coalition government of failing to meet its own emissions targets.

'In all fairness, Barnaby, Scott Morrison and his government have played a destructive role in global negotiations to act on climate,' he said.

'They have literally dismissed the connection between climate change and these unprecedented bushfires that we're experiencing and the scientific community has spoken authoritatively on this matter.'

Social media critics slammed 60 Minutes for dedicating little time to discussing the merits of hazard reduction burns.

'The real issue is land management and the resources needed to deal with that,' Bob Bradley tweeted. 'Better aerial resources needed. Climate change is totally irrelevant.'

Craig Lapsley, Victoria's former emergency services commissioner, briefly touched upon the topic as he argued insufficient hazard reduction burns and green groups weren't responsible for the bushfires.

'Our bushfires are driven by weather,' he said during the 60 Minutes debate.

'They're not driven by fuel, they're not driven by arsonists, they're not driven by greenies stopping us doing burning, they're driven by extreme weather.'

During the 35-minute pre-recorded segment, there was little mention of hazard reduction burns – a role performed by state government-funded Rural and Country Fire services.

Mr Joyce briefly mentioned the issue of fire breaks when asked during the debate if he accepted that climate change was the cause of the extreme bushfires.

'We've had a massive change in the climate, I can see it in my own area,' he said of his New England electorate in northern New South Wales. 'That is not my argument. My argument is one of immediate efficacy: we got to put back in our fire breaks, we gonna make sure we build central watering points so no truck has to travel more than 20km. 'These are the things that I want to concentrate on.'

Professor Mann briefly mentioned flammable conditions but this was in the context of global warming.

'When you turn the entire continent or large parts of it into a tinder box, there's really no amount of fire suppressant or back burning that's going to get you out of the problem,' he said.

With hazard reduction burns barely debated on 60 Minutes, there were plenty of critics on Twitter and Facebook accusing Nine of bias.

'You threw Barnaby Joyce under the bus last night,' one woman said. 'Very unfair and unprofessional journalism! Barnaby had no chance of putting his side across. It was extremely one-sided.'

Another woman criticised the program for focusing on climate change instead of examining fire management practices.

'If we blame it all on climate change and ignore the more tangible factors such as fuel loads, mismanagement of national parks, restrictions on firebreaks and incompetence of local councils- what is going to change?,' she asked.

'There will be another bushfire season next year and we will be facing the very same problems again.'

One man accused 60 Minutes of left-wing bias and compared the program to the ABC. 'What a disgraceful program that was,'  he said. 'I thought I was tuned to the ABC watching Four Corners.

'Those three muppets spoke over the top of Barnaby every time he attempted to say something, anything.'


PM reinforces coal commitment

Scott Morrison has used question time to firmly back coal jobs, as Labor attacked the government on the proposed Collinsville power plant and the divisions in the Coalition over climate change.

The Prime Minister sustained multiple attacks from the Opposition on his handling of the economy and climate divisions.

When asked if he would give the Collinsville plant indemnity against climate risk if it ever goes ahead, Mr Morrison said that he would back any jobs that come out of a coal-fired power station.

“I know where Collinsville is, you mightn’t. I know where the jobs are in Collinsville also,” he told the House. “They are the jobs you want to take away.

“Our government believes in jobs. We believe in jobs in North Queensland. We believe in jobs in northern Tasmania. We believe in jobs in Western Australia.

“And I can tell the House that we are united on the need to ensure that we meet our emissions reduction targets, not by increasing taxes on people, not by putting up people’s electricity prices, and not by walking away from the jobs of Australians in rural and regional areas.”

Labor spent most of question time hitting the government on sluggish economic growth and Opposition treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers questioned its stance that coronavirus and the bushfires were behind the deterioration in the economy.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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