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    Jenny Haines

    Ken Baxter as an ex senior public servant from NSW must know that he can’t necessarily trust politicians! I wonder how far Brumby will go in holding out, as a Labor Premier in a Federal Election Year? What is going on between Rudd and Brumby at present seems like horse trading to me – if Brumby gets his billion dollars for Victoria, I bet he accepts and runs, and sorts out all the other problems at a later date.
    Fiona Armstrong raises some very valid issues and problems with the way the health system functions, but all of these problems can hardly be fixed by this Rudd initiative. The problems that Fiona mentions with the integration of services, and service standards, have been problems for a very long time. The health system did not get in the mess it is in overnight. It has taken decades of messing around by governments and bureaucrats intent on re-organisation (sometimes for its own sake it seems!) and rationalisation in the name of cost efficiency. Rudd, however much he tries, will not fix the health system through this initiative, within one electoral cycle, but he can set it off on the right path towards useful reform if Rudd can get a consensus with the States. We have to start with the priorities, and to me they are, restoring the public’s faith in its health system so that they know that when they go to their hospital or health service, they are going to get the best care that they can get, wherever they are in Australia. Restoring faith means making health services accessible, affordable, safe and of the quality that the public have the right to expect, given that they pay for the health system with their taxes. Geraldine Doogue asked was there a tax that could pay for health services? Yes Geraldine, it was called the Medicare levy. Personally I would be be happy to pay a 2% plus Medicare levy if I knew that the money was funding a better health system.

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    Get rid of the parasitic public health bureaucrats. The Hospital where I trained has 30 less beds than it did 30 years ago. They have reduced the number of Nursing Staff, allegedly commensurate with fewer beds, but have doubled the number of “Office Staff”. If this is an example of the decision making in Public Health over the last 30 years, any wonder we are in trouble now.

    Regionalisation and rationalization allowed the bean counters to imitate the banks by de-personalising care, and turning it into an unsterile “experience”. By not knowing who to complain to, even at your own local hospital, the bean counters ensured that they could remove staff, services and basically do anything they wanted, without being accountable to the locals using the service. Well it has all come home to roost now. NSW has the most deaths caused by Hospital Staff errors of any state in Australia. There are more complaints about the hospitals here than anywhere else in Australia. Unacceptable waiting times for treatment in emergency departments and 4 year waiting lists for surgery and it does not matter what measure you use, NSWHealth fails.

    Return decision making to local Hospital Managers and Boards to stop the duplication and over representation of formerly “under-serviced” minorities. Stop unsuccessful programs. Get rid of empire builders and under achievers. Put managers in Hospitals who will be responsible to their customers. No one in public health is accountable to anyone at present and the system is a shambles. The system now is being run by the rubbish that would not have got a job 20 years ago let alone be in charge. Health is a right like education and the protection afforded by the police. Stop abusing my rights


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