Category Archives: Health

Victoria should stay the course

Victoria is now facing a difficult choice: to continue stringent lockdowns in the hope of getting COVID-19 cases down to zero, or accepting the lesser goal of opening up once cases are in single digits.

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Air pollution from coal blights young lives, even before birth

Air pollution from Australia’s dirty coal-burning power stations needlessly causes 850 cases of low birth weight and at least 800 premature deaths per year. Coal is also the number one cause of the climate crisis. Clean renewable technology is available … Continue reading

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Sexual misconduct in our society: Can we do better?

Collectively our society can do better. Women should not have to rely on voluntary social networks, valuable though they are, to have the confidence to come forward when they encounter unacceptable sexualised conduct.

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How market forces are failing us in opting out to private and for-profit child care

It is extraordinary that about 70% of our long day care services are now run by for-profit operators when we know that the for-profit sector generally delivers lower quality education care.

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Tackling substance abuse in the coronavirus pandemic

The social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are driving more people to substance abuse while also limiting access to prevention, treatment, support and rehabilitation – services already in short supply. Without immediate actions, the consequences will be felt … Continue reading

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It was a mistake to privatise aged care

We are trying to care for our elderly on the cheap. What an indictment that we seem willing to spend more on defence than we do on the elderly.

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PART 2: Review of the Medicare Benefits scheme

The Medical Benefits Schedule [MBS ] Review Taskforce was established in June 2015 by Sussan Ley, then Federal Minister for Health.   It followed feedback from clinicians and the broader community that certain items on the MBS did not reflect clinical … Continue reading

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Robodebt and suicide

Department head stubbornly avoids answering questions on the role of Robodebt and the death of Australians and whether she apologised for those deaths.

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PART 1: Review of the Medicare Benefits scheme

The first part of this piece describes the blockages in the past that choked debate on some fundamental issues. The second part outlines some of the important achievements of the current   Medical Benefits Scheme Review Taskforce and set up the … Continue reading

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Aged Care as part of a National Care Service.

This post was inspired by a piece posted on Pearls and Irritations by Sue Rabbitt Roff which was so comprehensive and profoundly logical that it was only on a second reading that its full value was appreciated.

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We have the least worst Minister in charge of Aged Care

Depending on your choice of cliche the aged care portfolio may be seen as a minefield, a poisoned chalice or a suicide mission – a high risk activity best avoided.

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What about the security companies? Don’t they have corporate ethical responsibility?

We are in stage 4 of the lock-down in Melbourne and that has great implications for personal and social life as well as the economy. As a result of the lock-down, listeners have contacted radio stations, approving of it because … Continue reading

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The inconsistent responses to Covid-19

The bag of Covid-19 policy responses bulges with inconsistencies. The first people to admit they knew the least about this virus strain were epidemiologists who knew the most. But how frustrating when politicians shift positions in pretence they know (anything).

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Harmful research misconduct, is our research integrity framework adequate?

Could harmful research misconduct happen in Australia? What steps are followed if an allegation of research misconduct is made in Australia? Is our system sufficiently robust to deal with allegations impartially and justly?

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Being old and disabled in the time of COVID

The Prime Minister has apologised for the number of deaths in residential aged care during the COVID disaster. But he hasn’t apologised for the large number of people in residential aged care who don’t need to be there.

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‘Rage against the dying of the light’ in the way we treat elderly people

The alienation of elderly people from social life is abundantly evident in the impact of coronavirus on society as it exploits the vulnerable and defenceless.

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The (failing) aged care system we have in 2020 operates exactly as it was designed to – Part 2

The starting point for a fit-for-purpose, 21st-century aged care system is public recognition that we can no longer continue to simply subcontract out our public duty of care for frail and vulnerable people. Older Australians deserve so much better.

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The (failing) aged care system we have in 2020 operates exactly as it was designed to – Part 1

 Outsourcing the government’s duty of care for older Australians has been at the core of structural failings in aged care for the last two decades. Covid-19 is just the latest in a long string of failures.

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The Ruby Princess fiasco, deaths and damage.

This was not just another Covid cluster – it was a full on Covid cluster fuck, brought to you in glorious 20-20 hindsight and quadrophonic dodging and denial.

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The Coronavirus does discriminate

An advertising campaign in Victoria seeks to convince young people that the Coronavirus is a threat to young and old. But the most startling fact is that as of the time of writing no-one under 30 in Australia has died … Continue reading

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War and Pandemic Journalism: the Truth Can Disappear Fast (Counter Punch August 7, 2020)

The struggle against Covid-19 has often been compared to fighting a war. Much of this rhetoric is bombast, but the similarities between the struggle against the virus and against human enemies are real enough.

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A pandemic letter from an Aussie in the USA (PURSUIT August 14, 2020)

How did one the world’s most inequitable health care systems cope with COVID-19? The short answer is that it provides the starkest of warnings

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Why is Australia’s public health data hidden?

Against the backdrop of Melbourne’s Stage 4 Restrictions, Victoria’s State of Disaster and diminishing personal freedom in other parts of Australia, we need to have a discussion about the lack of public health data in Australia.

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What went wrong with Aged Care?

The definite turning point in the quality and the humanity of Australia’s care of the elderly was the Aged Care Bill 1997 (Cth), introduced as part of the Howard Government’s 1996 Budget measures. It was a huge failure.

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To mask or not to mask? Is that the question?

The debate about wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic has fluctuated, but there now seems to be consensus that it is safer for the public to wear masks to avoid or at least reduce community transmission.

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COVID-19 lays bare the US’s deep problems, with some help from Trump

With the COVID-19 pandemic laying waste to the country, and President Trump’s chances of re-election fading,  the United States is at last beginning to look more deeply into its problems.

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Nurses, COVID-19 and the risks they run for us.

Nurses and other health care workers (HCWs) around the world are serving us well and at great risk to themselves. Many are exhausted but are carrying on. Still others are re-entering the workforce to assist in enabling surge capacity, so … Continue reading

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Fast Tracking a National Care Service

We face the immediate future burdened with an out-of-hospital care workforce that is poorly paid, insufficiently skilled and understaffed to meet the caring needs of vulnerable people throughout the life span from infancy and childhood to old age.

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Aged care homes: the weakest COVID-19 link

A pandemic throws a perfect mirror onto a society and shines a light on every crack. There is no better illustration of this than the light that COVID-19 is throwing on aged care homes in Australia and internationally.

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The hindering of our efforts to control the spread of Covid-19

We face social fatigue and misconceptions about social distancing; irresponsible public behaviour; and a widespread lack of appreciation of the long-term clinical consequences of an encounter with this virus.

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