Monday, January 15, 2007

Red Cross

Dear Sir
I went to the Premier's website and nearly choked on the first three words: Open and Accountable. Since 1999 I have stuck the boot into Bracks about that phrase, lying, total silence and cover-up must be the Bracks mantra because that's all I get if they deign to answer.

[Brackswatch: Follows an email sent by the author]

This morning I talked with a woman from the Red Cross who was begging for money to aid her organisation. You remember who they are, they are the people running the BLOOD BANK. I told her that I was sorry I could not help her as I have been un-employed for twelve months and living off my savings. But what I did promise to her was to tear an extra wide strip of hide off your backside over this appalling set of circumstances. Organizations such as the Red Cross should not have to beg on the streets. Hospitals should not have to beg for money on the streets. People should not have to beg, demonstrate, threaten, plead or coerce governments to increase aid to these vital organisations. The only reasons why your government would ignore helping Victorian aid organisations is because you don't care. You only act when you can't stand the pain of the many fires lit and fanned under you to get you to move on an issue, of course, it's different when there is an election coming. I have often said to you about us living in the third world up here in the Yarra Valley, today my letter box confirmed my worst suspicions. A circular put out by the Adventist relief agency for a sale of used goods stated the PROCEEDS FOR EMERGENCY FOOD IN LOCAL AREA. Have you contacted Medicins sans Frontieres about manning the Warburton Hospital? You had best call in the RED CROSS as well and get them up here. What's Tammy Lobato doing about this? I can answer that - - - NOTHING, because all the money has been spent on a scrappable swimming pool. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER.
Earl Downing

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Guest Post: Peter King

On the 29th of November 2006 a letter was published in the Whitehorse Leader newspaper regarding my experience at the Box Hill Hospital’s emergency department. Chief amongst the complaints were the long waiting times. I have since received a reply from the hospital and the Victorian Minister for Health which I find unsatisfactory and which I will be following up.

Of great concern to me were the letters in the paper the following week which appear to attempt to deflect this criticism by asserting that I shouldn’t have been at the emergency department in the first place and some went as far as to suggest that my actions were something akin to dole bludging or worse!

These respondents, some of who refuse to publish their names, not only appear to know more about my medical condition than I do but also appear not to have read my letter properly. I reported that I had a ‘head trauma’ and that this required an X-ray, a situation that any reasonable person would not consider a mere ‘cut’, ‘bump’, ‘lump’ or ‘bruise’ on the head. Further to this, I can also inform readers that Nurses-On-Call told me to go to an emergency department and that Box Hill Hospital concur with this decision after reading my original unedited letter. Finally my new GP, as I was about to board a plane for overseas, said on the telephone; “If you have any further problem, go to hospital” and not just “go to a doctor”.

Whilst I now understand the emotion that many people feel about criticism of our local hospital, I am not one that believes that doctors, nurses and hospitals are above reproach and I’m sure, given the Doctor Death scandal in Queensland (and others scandals), that many Australians would agree with me.

One of the many ironies that I see in the responses to my letter is that, by writing to the local paper, I was informing others of the long waiting times and, at the same time, informing them that there is an alternative in some cases. I mention that it cost me $40 to go to the Burwood HealthCare, ‘Name supplied, Blackburn’, not because I begrudge paying this but simply to let others know - particularly those who may not be able to afford the on-the-spot payment.

I was also motivated to write my letter because of the ABC’s Victorian Stateline program which criticized the long waiting list for elective surgery, the long delay in seeing a specialist just to get on the waiting list and, finally, the long waiting times in emergency departments. Indeed the triage nurse at Box Hill Hospital suggested to me that waiting times had worsened in recent months. This was something that was edited out of my letter along with the comment that, in my opinion, it was not the fault of nurses or doctors but what was happening was due to financial or political pressures. I have since spoken to a senior nurse about the crises in our hospitals and she agreed with me and further encouraged me to speak out by saying; “You know … one person can make a difference.”

Just as many of my detractors do not understand the purpose of an emergency department, which is sometimes called a ‘trauma’ or ‘casualty’ department by the way, some reacted to my use of the term ‘non-urgent patients’ to also suggest that my condition was not serious enough to be treated at the emergency department. My understanding of ‘non-urgent’ is anyone who does not have a life threatening condition requiring immediate attention and has to wait. I was speaking on behalf of all patients who have to wait for treatment in the emergency department.

After reading government documents, freely available on the internet, I have also come to the conclusion that there is clearly an incentive for hospitals to not only invite patients to use the emergency department rather than go elsewhere but also for the hospital to classify as many patients as possible in the lowest priority category. I have since discovered others who have experienced the same. Namely, after waiting far longer than the estimated time they decide to leave and only then are they provided with a viable alternative - Burwood HealthCare which has X-ray facilities on the premises. I did ask, when I arrived, how long I would be waiting and then for any alternative. I was given no viable alternative. By the way, Nurses-On-Call would not suggest an alternative and insisted that I go to the emergency department!

To illustrate the seriousness of the crises in our hospitals, I have a friend who spent eight hours on a trolley in Royal Melbourne Hospital with a wrist broken in six places. He was then told that there was no surgeon available to operate on him for three days! Clearly, he was considered a non-urgent patient. His comment to me was “I can’t believe that this is happening in Australia”. “Nor can I”, I said … “Nor can I”.

Peter King, Burwood

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Guest Post- Lori McLean

The Bracks Government thinks it is going to fix the rail problem to Werribee by adding another station near Aircraft Station called Point Cook.Why Point Cook when point Cook residents do not live near it.

The most sensible solution would have been to give Altona their own line back amd extend it to Point Cook therby allowing an extension to be built at a later date when The Werribee South District is opened up to development.THe Altona line could then come through from Newport as I used to many years ago before the Govt of the day decided to send the Werribee Rail around through Altona. To do laps of the Western Suburbs. By the way the line through to Altona is still a single line.Trains have to wait till other trains clear the station before they can travel through. The need for the rail to be electrified to The Werribee Racecourse would make more sense .

Then the residents of Wyndamvale and Manor Lakes and Westleigh Gardens would not have to come into Werribee and block up the roads and Have no where to park at the Werribee Station. This seem a little too logical for them to understand. Instead they are doing research on what the hold up is at Cottrell Street and what theyshould do about it. You know what they can do about it come here and talk to me and I will show them how they can save a whole lot of money on consultancy fees.

Labels: ,

Sunday, December 31, 2006

More complaints from the country

Again from the Border Mail, this time from Lucyvale:

SINCE the fire holocaust, Premier Bracks has promised to provide more firefighters by sending them to university for four years to learn how to fight fires, but a better idea is to fully compensate the CFA volunteers, the real firefighters, as other states do.

Let the cattlemen back on the high plains; farmers are the greatest conservationists, keeping growth down, destroying weeds and getting rid of feral animals.

If too stubborn to do this, employ a great many more Department of Sustainability and Environment workers to work in national parks full-time, keeping rubbish down and tracks clear, not just two or three clearing walking tracks, as happens now.

The neighbour from hell fines landowners if all weeds are not obliterated, which are then re-sown by seed from locked-up land in national parks.

Why should it always be rural communities that suffer because of Premier Bracks’ city-centric government?


Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Watershed submerges Bracks

From the murky depths has emerged a story that developed prior to the November State Election. Bracks secretly considered building a dam over the Mitchell River, despite publicly announcing his opposition to any form of investment in dams. A report predicted ecological harm to the river.

The double speak does not end there. Bracks also made moves to establish a desalination plant at Westernport Bay, despite criticising the plan on environmental damage grounds. The plant, used to generate political capital, has been hijacked by the Premier, and is now at the feasibility study stage with the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

"The Government is proceeding with investigations into desalination despite dire environmental warnings in the study, including: damage to seagrass in UNESCO-listed Westernport Bay; damage to fish stocks in the bay; and problems disposing of salty brine."
Independent MP Craig Ingram comments:

"It's a shock to me that they would be considering the comparison when up to now they have used it politically and ruled it out. My view is that it's not negotiable and environmental damage would be disastrous."

P.S. The Premier of Victoria does not have an official residence.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 29, 2006

Federalising Water Flows? Bracks says no

The Australian reports today that Steve Bracks has refused to discuss handing over cross-border water flows to the Federal Government, despite Victoria entering Stage 3 water restrictions from Jan 1 2007. “The states have patently failed over the years despite all of the warnings to institute practices and to build engineering works which would secure their long-term future" said Peter McGauran.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Bracks must fix gambling sector

Ellen Whinnett comments on the history of the gambling shambles that has beset the Bracks government, reminding us it is not a problem that has emerged recently.

As previously noted, the extension of the Tattersalls license features large, and the potential legal action originating from Intralot for due process failure is also noted. An extended corporate law case, bringing sensitive documents into the public domain will be avoided at all costs by the Bracks government. Even if this means dealing Intralot in for a larger percentage than previously assumed.

A second action of note has been brought by a director of Tattersalls, Julien Playoust, who is claiming that former trustees (and now shareholders) who helped package the company for its float should be due a share of $35 million. There are damaging revelations emerging from this case, such as the lunch Steve Bracks had with David White, a former ALP health minister and consultant for Tattersalls through Hawker-Britton. Indeed, he apparently informed a meeting of Tatts representatives that the wheels of government could be greased in their favour.

This is above and beyond the issue of poker machine operations, separate from the lotteries monopoly discussed above, yet also involving Tattersalls, with Tabcorp joining in a cosy duopoly. Obviously involving other companies erodes profits, so the Tabcorp lobbyists will no doubt be working overtime to see things stay the way they are.

An Upper House enquiry would be a good starting point so that the entire process can be reviewed.

Have also included Blogger Labels for the most recent fifty posts to assist in navigating. So, if you want to read about a subject area, click on the corresponding word and the relevant posts will be displayed.

Labels: , , ,

Bracks should listen to country people on fires

A letter from Beechworth

HERE we go again, another summer another terrifying round of bushfires.

What will it take for governments to realise that ordinary country folk know what they are talking about when they say, if you insist on having all public land tied up in irrational parks this is what will happen.

Will someone tell Premier Steve Bracks that if you don’t have enough resources to keep hazards down in and around inhabited areas, stop creating more national parks.

We must insist that larger zones around private land abutting the “neighbours from hell” be of sufficient size (100m) to get bulldozers in to at least allow private owners to have a chance to save fences and assets.

The other advice would be to stop shutting up fire tracks; I have been told by firefighters that this is a great hindrance when trying to access fires.

The resources used to close fire tracks and put in huge humps and logs should be used for hazard reduction.

How much of our private land must be destroyed before the powers that be wake up that we can help save more assets by larger divisions between private and public land?

Perhaps if the surrounds of the Thompson Dam were to burn and the resultant silt were to invade the Melbourne water people would wake up and realise what country people go through after such huge fires and be a bit more wary of what and who they vote for.


UPDATE- Mark Webster, also from Beechworth, writes about the changes that have occured over time with regards to fighting the fires.

Labels: , ,