Thursday, March 04, 2010

Better Health

I haven't posted for a while, because a relative and good friend had been seriouly ill. Jude died today, from cancer. It really is a most insidious disease. She she is survived by her husband and children.

For the last 5 weeks or so, she has been in hospital, receiving treatment and care from a team of professional people, specialising in cancer, cardiology and palliative care. There have been doctors, allied health professionals and nurses. She reached a stage where doctors recommended only palliative care. We travelled considerable distances to see her each weekend, one Friday and yesterday afternoon. She died peacefully this morning. All have been professional and caring. They have made her, and our, cancer journey that little bit less difficult, but no less emotional.

Her death comes in the week that Kevin Rudd has proposed a partial takeover of hospitals. His plan proposes that the Commonwealth retain 30% of GST revenues, instead of passing them on to the states. This money would be used to help fund local groups of hospitals, which would be managed by local boards. The total funding would be split 60% Commonwealth; 40% State.

I have not delved into the broad plan proposed by Mr Rudd, but I would make the following comments:
  • Most people recognize, or believe, the current model is flawed, and inefficient. It encourages cost-shifting between state and Commonwealth-funded services. Each state has its own bureaucratic model.
  • We voters do not have to accept the first new plan to come along (Prime Minister Rudd's). We should also be aware that the Opposition Liberal-National Parties want to use such a takeover, of their own 'plan', to resurrect WorkChoices-style industrial relations.
So, let's have have the discussion - we need to. But let's not jump at the first offer made. You wouldn't do that when buying a car, or house. Don't do it with health reform.

Vale, Jude