Macklin / Symptoms emerge of sick hospitals

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HEALTH and hospitals were much in the news this past week with Katy Gallagher copping it from all sides.

Robert Macklin.
Robert Macklin.
The Canberra Hospital’s maternity unit was savaged in a report of its cultural, staffing and management problems that have put the health of patients at risk. Steven Adair, clinical director for obstetrics and gynaecology, resigned and will depart the position at the end of the month.

The ACT Visiting Medical Officers Association accused the minister (once again) of a deliberate campaign to reduce their numbers in favour of salaried doctors and using “rubbery figures” to justify her actions. And Calvary Hospital suffered an $11.3 million loss last financial year, double what they initially reported.

BY chance, your columnist can report that all is not well in the Canberra Hospital Emergency Unit. Hurrying to close a window when a late night storm hit, I managed to impale my right calf on the wooden lever that adjusts the footrest of my favourite TV chair. It tore the muscle and slashed the skin and flesh.

At 10.45pm we called the after-hours CALMS doctor who took one look and ordered us to the hospital for a complicated suturing.

We arrived about midnight on a relatively quiet Monday yet we were not seen until 3.45am; and when the horror calf was revealed we were immediately bedded in for “surgery”. The plastic surgeon arrived at 8am, discussed taking a skin graft and gave complex instructions on the suturing. Later, I was told, he changed his mind and a very competent nurse bandaged it. When I was finally discharged at 11am she said the hospital would be in touch that day to arrange a Friday appointment. Two days later there had been no call. I rang. My file had temporarily “disappeared”.

To be continued…

IN NSW, the ambulance service was under the gun for the 23 minutes it took to reach the SCG when Phillip Hughes had been felled by a bouncer.

As it happened, he was under a doctor’s care almost immediately but to no avail. Australia mourned; the cricketing community rallied to the family; but perhaps most touching of all, Phil’s sister Megan comforted the bowler Sean Abbott.

KATE Lundy did the right thing by signalling her departure from the Senate in plenty of time for the ALP to choose her replacement. Let’s hope they go for an activist like Brianna Heseltine with a little fire in the belly. What a change that would be from our current MPs.

WHATEVER possessed Lib Leader Jeremy Hanson to support the abolition of the $10,000 cap on donations for election spending?

On a recent 2CC “CityNews Sunday Roast” program we shared, he reckoned elections should be (modestly) publicly funded. Now both major parties want the biggest public funding in the world plus open slather for the special interests. Come on, chaps; Canberra’s better than that.

robert@robertmacklin.com

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Robert Macklin
Journalist and author. Contact robert@robertmacklin.com

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