Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fiscal conservatism or perpetuating systemic failure?

Only days before new OZ PM, Kevin Rudd announced his on-going commitment to fiscal conservatism, my cousin, living in regional Queensland experienced first hand, and in traumatic ways, the systemic failure of the hospital system. Diagnosed with breast cancer she entered the local base hospital for her surgery, proceeded to go through all stages of the prep, including shower, change into gown etc, to then be told that she had to go to the private hospital in another part of town to have certain procedures done before the operation could proceed. Was she whisked off by ambulance, or even taxi? No! Her partner was forced to drive her in their own car in a city that is still unfamiliar and where they had a habit of getting lost!

Eventually they made it back to the base hospital and the operation began. By this stage she was both furious and traumatized! I am not sure what this says for hygiene management! To cap it all off, the next morning one doctor arrived and ordered the removal of lymph drainage tubes, followed half an hour later by her surgeon, who was, by accounts, furious that they had been removed! Soon after she was sent home!

My cousin lives in one of the electorates in North Queensland in which there was a strong swing to Labor. I doubt these electors will be impressed by the PM's re-commitment to fiscal conservatism if this means that there is no investment to break out of the systemic failing of regional health systems across the nation.

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