Yesterday’s Mercury carried letters from doctors and nurses saying that they are not the (health crisis) problem.
My experience suggests that they are right. GPs I know work longer hours than miners and for about the same net pay. And they have to pay a lot more, and study a lot longer, for their qualifications.
Nurses, in my experience, work as hard as GPs and are paid a lot less.
I agree that more specialists must be trained as a matter of urgency, and that this will reduce the cost of specialists and break the power of the colleges. But that is only a small part of the problem, and I recall specialists and staff doctors being treated very shabbily too.
I’m not an expert on health and don’t want to pretend to be. Some things were pretty obvious when I worked for the government though.
I recall bureaucrats in Hobart, in high-paid permanent jobs from which they could not be sacked, telling nurses that they had to remain on casual employment because the department needed to minimise costs and maximise job flexibility.
I recall nurses brought in at considerable expense from interstate and agencies to fill positions that local nurses could fill and wanted to fill.
I recall doctors hired through agencies and as locums when permanent staff doctors were available and could have been employed at as little as half the cost.
I recall a good Justice Secretary removed and forced to be a temporary Health Secretary.
I recall Lara appointing a new permanent Health Secretary and telling us that he would be useful because we needed to build a new Royal Hospital and he had been part of the project to build the new University Hospital at Coventry. I immediately googled that project and found that it had been a financial disaster.
On the housing side of Lara’s previous portfolio I recall a house with one tenant that was designed for five.
I recall one housing property turned into a brothel, and another into a marijuana plantation.
I recall enquiring after empty houses and being told that I was mistaken and the department aimed at a 28 day turnaround on properties.
I recall good housing tenants whose circumstances had improved and wanting to take private housing and couldn’t, because Lara’s department had a policy of not giving references, and all real estate agents require tenant references.
I talked to Lara’s office and was told that it was not possible to fix these problems.
So I looked around Australia at what others did. I found a private company in Western Australia called Apartments WA that has 4,000 residential units that it rents to low-income tenants. So I called them and they were happy to talk. They had very few problems and ran at a profit. They had a 24 hour turnaround on properties that they met, not a 28 day turnaround target that they merely aimed at, and very seldom were there complaints from neighbours. If there were complaints they took immediate action.
I talked to Housing Departments on the mainland, and found that it was a simple matter to introduce a policy of continuous assessment so that housing tenants who won Lotto, or had a house that was too big, or misused a property, could easily be removed or relocated.
Shortly after I was sacked by Paul Lennon. I heard later that the Labor Party was telling their branches that it was because of incompetence.
Perhaps it was ...