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

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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

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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.

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