A real election issue – emergency departments

If I heard ABC News correctly last night, you’re more likely to die in Victoria because of the inadequate resourcing of hospital emergency departments than you are to be killed on the roads. Whether or not that extraordinary claim checks out, it is not in dispute that emergency rooms are massively overstretched, with patients facing huge waits to be seen, let alone treated.

And yet I can’t find the story on the ABC News website.

Instead, all we hear about is the big party politicians banging on about law and order (and their plans to make crime worse by building more prisons and underfunding programs that actually work) and the plight of first home buyers (and their plans to make that plight worse by cutting stamp duty and keeping the first home buyers’ grant) – and not a word about emergency rooms.

How are emergency rooms not a much bigger issue? How does their under-resourcing not affect all of us?

But no. What we get is Ted Baillieu giving us another reason why the Liberals need to lose on Saturday: his moronic plan to extend mandatory sentencing. You could only support that if you genuinely do not understand how courts sentence offenders in the real world, and what injustices result when the power to apply long-standing sentencing principles is taken away from the well-trained people who’ve actually heard the evidence and the arguments in specific cases.

The Liberals do not present any evidence for their assertion that “current Victorian sentencing practices are out of line with community expectations”. Because they’re not – although it is true to say that community understanding of sentencing practices is being massively distorted by relentless misreporting in the commercial media. But the last Sentencing Advisory Council study on the issue revealed that the public is, if anything, less harsh than the real judges, when apprised of all the facts in a case.

The Liberals “acknowledge the Coalition will have to provide more prison funding” for their destructive, unjust plan – money that will not be going to something useful like, for example, emergency departments in hospitals.

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14 responses to “A real election issue – emergency departments

  1. jordanrastrick

    If the story is this one:

    http://abcscience.com.au/news/stories/2010/11/22/3072513.htm

    then it looks like the study hasn’t actually been published yet. The website article doesn’t make any comparison to the road toll; to me though the claim sounds likely to be a highly spurious misinterpretation of the researchers’ findings.

    Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that the mandatory sentencing circus is utterly idiotic.

  2. I don’t really understand how the Libs think they can get away with offering so little to the electorate. Not only are they running a small target strategy but a small stupid target strategy. Baillieu and the Libs really doesn’t deserve to win.

  3. Splatterbottom

    Speaking of moronic plans have you heard the one about the solar base-load power station?

  4. I take SB that you aren’t familiar with AUSRA? (they used to operate here as an Australian until the former Liberal PM and his minister for coal (Warwick Parer) for coal made it untenable)

    Are you familiar with molten salts?

    Oh you filthy brown coal lovers are going to look as stupid as you are when baseload Solar is developed in California by and Australian.

  5. Splatterbottom

    Thorium technology looks likely to get here before fusion, but it is still along way off. The reference to California is apt, as Victoria seems headed down that track. When the Greens take over, no doubt their first act will be to add a unicorn to the state coat of arms, and mandate watermelon as the regional cuisine.

    In the meantime we need to build another couple of coal-fired power stations (and some more dams for that matter). Naturally the Greens are intent on frittering away as much money as possible on expensive experimental infrastructure. That way Victorians actually can live in the dark as well as figuratively doing so.

  6. That’s right SB, Victorian Greens are so hateful and misanthropic they even want to destroy their own standard of living.

    I guess they must hate their own freedom.

    Notice you made no comment on solar thermal for baseload power production, and that despite it being a “moronic plan” you have provided no evidence to support your position.

    http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/1801684/first-molten-salt-solar-thermal-plant-debuts-italy

    http://www.ausra.com/technology/

    Check out the illuminati symbolism on AUSRA’s website SB.

    A capped pyramid…the sun dominating the landscape like some ancient and malevolent deity…

    Surely this PROVES that the Greens are part of the NWO Masonic agenda.

  7. Splatterbottom

    That Sicilian 5MW solar plant is an expensive piece of window dressing for the adjacent 750MW gas-fired plant. It is just an expensive form of wanking designed to make hypocritical superstar energy hogs like James Cameron feel a little bit less guilty about their excessive lifestyles.

  8. http://www.turbomachine.com/history/

    “With this setup in their erection shops, Brown Boveri realized that the compressor, combustor, and turbine provided for a workable gas turbine which could be turned to power production.

    This led Brown Boveri to produce a gas turbine that was installed at Neuchatel in Switzerland for stand by service in a bomb proof installation in 1939. This gas turbine had an output of 4 megawatts..”

    This plant in Sicily is, according to the article i linked to, the “worlds first solar thermal concentration plant to use molten salt as the heat transfer fluid” much like the Brown Boveri gas turbine was the worlds first functioning gas turbine power plant.

    You are comparing the first functioning solar thermal plant of this type with a fully developed technology that has over 70 years of development and investment behind it.

    Perhaps, being that Brown Borevi’s power plant only had an out put of 4 MW, you would have described this new technology as “just an expensive piece of window dressing”, and a “moronic idea”?

  9. Splatterbottom

    The moronic bit is in jumping from the experimental small scale phase before the results of the experiment are even in yet. In the meantime the Greens might let us know the effect of this plan on electricity prices when they next emerge from the other side of the looking glass.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am all for solar power when it is not substantially more expensive than the alternatives.

  10. jordanrastrick

    Concentrated Solar Thermal Power, especially when combined with heat storage and/or complemented with gas turbines, is a very promising area of renewable innovation, and given our geography Australia should definitely be building a such plants now to foster development of the technology, with a view to scaling it to become a major part of our supply should the costs come down sufficiently (China

    However, the largest operational plants CSP plants in the world currently are nearly all in the 50MW range; and the continuity of supply problem is still far from fully solved.

    To get back to the point made in SB’s original link, though, a Photovoltaic plant – which uses technology that has just about nothing in common with CSP except for the fact the Sun is involved – cannot provide 1200MW of base load power. If Mr Barber really has proposed such a notion, than he is a fool with zero understanding of energy generation. Its not just a question of paying higher electricity bills for cleaner energy in this case. Photovoltaics simply does not, and unlike CSP cannot, produce power in the absence of sunlight. There is no way to store energy on a scale sufficient to make such a large PV plant capable of baseload supply, short of building one of the largest massive pumped-storage reservoirs in the world; and somehow I don’t see the Greens supporting such a plan, assuming Victoria even has a site realistically capable of housing such a project.

    The worst part is that it is critical Hazelwood is decommissioned and replaced with less emission intensive alternatives, sooner rather than later. Muddying the waters with nonsense ideas detracts from the real and urgent environmental case.

  11. Hate to be pedantic, but they are “emergency rooms” (“ERs”) in the US. In Australasia they are “emergency departments” (“EDs”).

    Could be worse, you could have called them “emergency wards” as the media does every now and then. And that misnomer kind of is the whole point of the bed access issue.

    (I normally have no claim to insight where this blog is concerned, but here my credentials are unimpeachable).

  12. Cheers Simon. Post amended accordingly.

    What’s your perspective, as an ER specialist, on the issue? How serious is the underfunding? What would you change?

  13. Inpatient beds. At least forty short at my hospital, probably on a par with all other major metro hospitals. The rest is electioneering and posturing.

    And thanks, Brumby, but I already have an iPad. http://www.ehealthcentral.com.au/2010/11/ipad-cart-precedes-horse-as-brumby-looks-for-winning-post/.

  14. When you say forty inpatient beds, that means extra nurses and doctors to administer them, I take it, not just physically expanding the hospital with another wing or something?

    Obviously your focus is emergency departments, but talking with colleagues elsewhere in the system are you aware of any other particularly pressing needs?

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