July 9th, 2022Just sayin’..
IF YOU flip back to page 11 you will find Kevin Childs’ story on the sad or sick state of our health system.
Kevin talked to health workers, on the condition of anonymity, and wrote about how many things are going wrong – some life and death situations.
I must admit I ummed and ahhed a bit about running it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a must read, it’s just that old fashioned editors don’t often do anonymous.
In the old days, when I worked at The Cairns Post, we had a dedicated person whose only job was to contact everyone who had written a letter to the editor and make sure they were who they said they were. All letters were published with a full name and suburb, or not at all.
These days, papers run letters sent via email with sign-offs like “Mary, from Victoria”. Which Mary. Or really Mary? It might be a Jan who is not happy with a competing cafe and just wants to get a barb in. Just look at dine review sites like TripAdvisor or Google. So easy to lose a good rating with just one, one-star review. And no need for it to be genuine, or even if it is, to make sense. I know one cafe which got a four-star review because “I loved everything about your place, the service staff and food, but I didn’t eat dessert so I don’t know if you do that well”. Really?
Anyway, the more I read Kevin’s piece, the more I realised we really are going through a crisis of care. I have also been watching the news about an Ambulance Victoria Code Red with no ambulances available in Melbourne last Tuesday night, and Grampians Health just recently declaring a Code Yellow because they were overrun trying to manage and isolate patients with, or suspected of having, Covid.
I reckon everyone has a harrowing health story to tell but it’s hard to put your name to something in the public domain. Especially if you work in the health field. Sometimes, to get the news out, it just has to be anonymous.
Our local MP Mary-Anne Thomas has just taken over the portfolios of health and ambulance services after the resignation of Martin Foley. As someone from the regions she would know first-hand the issues we are facing in the country. And I know Covid has thrown a massive spanner in the works but surely after two and a half years, we are starting to catch up and get ahead of the game, rather than lag behind like we did with vaccines and RAT tests. (Yes, I know that was the Feds.)
Everyone knew winter and the flu were coming, we know that Covid likes the cold best, and with masks mostly off, it was another perfect storm brewing. Then there is just the backlog of “normal” health issues that need to be attended to. Hip replacements, mental health services, mammograms, appointments with specialists. Why are we still waiting?
In September last year, I found myself struggling to breathe. Being asthmatic, I upped my medication and eventually was told to have a lung function test. I called the numbers offered, in Ballarat and Bendigo, and was told I was on their waiting lists. For February or March. It’s July and still no call. Luckily I had a think, Googled private places and got it sorted. (All good now.)
But this is Australia, not America, and I think we all believe we have a right to medical attention when it is needed. Instead it has become a class distinction. Relying on Medicare? Be ready for a long wait. Got expensive private health insurance? In you go. When Kyle had his back operation he was asked not only what day suited but morning or afternoon?
The system is sick and needs urgent attention. Hopefully Ms Thomas is up to the task because sometimes we are literally talking life and death. Just sayin’…