Would our politicians face the public health system? 53



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Did you catch last night’s Q&A on the ABC? There was plenty to talk about – from the likely dropping of a rise in the GST to asylum seekers and corruption.

But the question of the night was from a woman who had suffered a serious car accident – and then suffered the public health system. Her question was met with huge applause from the audience.

She said, “Our public hospital system is broken and it’s getting worse. Knowing that nothing will get done while our politicians are able to bypass the mess of public hospitals and go to wonderful private hospitals for their own health treatment, I would like to propose that politicians cannot use private health care while in office.

“In fact, I would love to see them on waiting lists for three years long and in hospitals where the toilet and wards are filthy and even privacy curtains are in short supply.

“My question is this: Would you agree to use the public health system while in office?”

Shadow Health Minister Catherine King was on the panel and she was quick to point out she had her children in her electorate’s pubic hospital. However, she said the Liberal government had made unsustainable cuts to the public hospital system.

“The government has got itself in a right mess when it comes to health policy. You are right — our public hospitals should be not just a safety net, but the best part of our hospital system as they can be.”

Rural Health Minister Fiona Nash (pictured above) was also on the panel. She responded, “Our public hospitals out in rural and regional areas where I am are by and large fantastic and I get really sick and tired of people running down our hospitals and doctors and nurses to work in the regional rural areas.”

She then acknowledged that private hospitals weren’t an option in some regional areas of Australia.

“Does she want me to go off private health insurance while I’m in parliament? Sure,” said Minister Nash who then accused Labor of making imaginary promises in terms of health.

As the two health ministers argued, 3AW presented Neil Mitchell pointed out something important: “They’re arguing over your health. This is the obscenity of it. This is what matters, not this political game-playing! It’s people’s health!”

The woman who’d had the accident and started the whole brouhaha then said, “I would invite you, Fiona to join me in a little visit to Melbourne, to Footscray Hospital, Sunshine Hospital, come with me and I’ll show you the areas that I mean, not the nicely cleaned up ones that you see.”

Do you think politicians should forego their private health insurance and face the public health system? Would it make a difference to their policies?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I pity anyone who is at the mercy of the public health system. Anyone who says it is not in crisis is either delusional or an outright liar.

    5 REPLY
    • I have never had a problem with the Public Health System although I did have to wait 6 days for Surgery a couple of years ago and more recently had to wait 30 days. Maybe it’s different in other States.

    • I know when I had my cataracts done I was private so it was done strait away. If I had been public it was 18 months minimum and my bloke was doing 25 a day twice a week. B|

    • Bruce Mahony Same with my husband when he had his cataracts done. If we had been reliant on the public system he would have been blind by the time they were done.

    • Melbourne’s public hospital system is in crisis the same as everything else in Melb,have family in other states it’s not as bad,Melb is stuffed!…..I had my cataracts done private good experience back to normal the next day,my friend had hers done in the public system a couple of months later no anaesthetic it was done third world style & she was so badly bruised it took 7 weeks for it too look normal,she has her second one done this month & is scared stiff,don’t blame her she was a mess & had a two year wait she could hardly see by the time they were done..

  2. Politicians won’t give up their private health. It’s one of the many perks of the job to have an entitlement to private health.

  3. Hell YES, after waiting for 37 months in the public system for surgery which when I first saw the surgeon was classed as not serious, however 37 months later my foot was so bad my surgery had to be postponed for a further 3 months so the surgeon could book the theatre for an extra 1/2 hour, then I finished up with a Staph infection which put me back in hospital for another week and on antibiotics for three long months. I was so frightened that I then had to organise private health insurance plus 67% loading because I hadn’t been able to afford private health since my divorce because I had a mortgage that I had to pay, thanks to the Liberal Government because they really don’t care about ANYONE’S wellbeing other than their own and their families, oh and yes even though I’m on the full pension I have to continue to pay the loading for 10 YEARS plus we are getting less and less back from our health insurance. So yes I believe our Politicians SHOULD have to use the PUBLIC system, although let’s face it they would get better treatment than the rest of us!

    11 REPLY
    • How awful for you. What can I say. My hospital is totally dysfunctional and the emergency department has been labeled as the worst in the state of Victoria. G V Health at Shepparton. This is a terrible indictment on the hardworking staff. The governance has a lot to answer. They pay $500,000.00 per year to the manager who 6 months in quits citing stress.

    • I live in Victoria Patricia, and I’m disgusted in our hospitals. I actually read somewhere that Victorian public hospitals are the worst in the country, it really doesn’t surprise me. I’m glad I’m not a smoker because otherwise I wouldn’t be able to manage my private health, please note I said manage most certainly not afford because I go without other things so I can pay it!

    • Trish Daley Trish I feel that the Hospitals in Queensland started going down hill when they got rid of Matrons and put Accountants in charge. My husband is an accountant and he says all they care about is the bottom line, they don’t care about patient outcomes. In Queensland, nobody dies anymore, they are ‘negative outcomes.’ I could go on and on.

    • according to Susan Ley Public Hospitals in rural and regional Australia are just wonderful, she has not been to my local hospital that is for sure and I think right around the country, that they are all run down

    • I have a friend in a Rehabilitation hospital at the moment, she has Parkinson’s disease and cannot walk. Everyone in the hospital is very very ill and the majority can’t walk due to some accident or illness. Last weekend I wheeled to the shower I was horrified at the poor condition of the bathrooms, it is the same through out the hospital, how Susan Ley can claim Regional Australia has good hospitals has me beat

    • I am not being mean or nasty but did anyone have a good look at Susan Ley? to me she looks anorexic and in need of hospital care herself, she was very devious in answering questions and was rude

    • Christa Caldecott Christa your comment reminded me of an incident years ago when Penny Wong for the Minister for something. She was in Gladstone and local business people were invited to hear her speak. My husband was invited and went along with his list of questions. When he arrived everyone was told that their questions had to be submitted for approval and Ms Wong would only answer the questions she wanted to. What a joke. Politicians are all the same, ducking the hard questions. I think that once they are elected they all do a course called, ‘How to answer a question without answering a question.’ They all obviously pass with flying colours. If it was not so serious it would be laughable.

    • Debbie Bryant I agree. I was a Div 1 Nurse for over 40 years and I saw the decline in patient care as the focus became more and more on the finances.

  4. When the liberal government took funding away from the states for schools and hospitals cutting Medicare they did this knowingly they did this to force states to agree to upping the GST. Oh we have just heard that liberals won’t take the GST to election they know its the death of them. But mark my word if they get back in they will continue to strip the health system via cutting funds from the states. Each of the States are the ones responsible for hospitals but when a government is stripping a state of fundings for them they will have no choice but to bow cow to these thugs. They the states will be the reason that a GST will be increased and liberals will be able to look on with slimy smiles knowing that they succeeded in getting exactly what they wanted without having to take the blame or the responsibility. But the money collected by each state will still be given to the federal pot to be dished out at there discretion and there is no guarantee that the states will get enough fundings for hospitals and school.

    3 REPLY
    • Bea little , have you seen what dopey Dan Andrews has done with Victorian money ?? Why in gods name would you give him any more to throw in the toilet ? He threw billions away , imagine that money in our health system !!!
      But this ALP moron thought it was worth flushing it , then hitting up the federal government for money to replace it !!!
      So whinge all you like , facts are facts , you cannot expect to have money on tap from the very where when idiots are wasting it . That’s why the Premiers are blaming the federal government , why aren’t they managing their own money properly. And please spare me the ‘ oh they don’t get enough of the pot ‘ conversation , they get it alright , they just don’t manage it very well . And maybe it’s time some people stopped using hospitals as a GP clinic . Several issues that could be put in place to fix the system . But no one has the guts to stand up to the whingers who enjoy the hand outs , and just do it .

  5. The woman who asked the question was not very convinced with Fiona Nash and to be honest either was I. The audience seemed to be stacked with very obvious Liberal voters. Q&A has gone downhill since the Liberals tampered with it. Only a fool would think our Public Hospital system is fine, it is badly rundown and ailing

  6. Politicians need to give up all and any perks they get while in office and become an average Aussie ie: go on public system in more ways than one

  7. No they should be paying double rates and no way of squirming out of paying by hiding dependents. Right the GST fiasco, put it up 2 1/2% that money to go you our hospitals to upgrade all facilities, to give reasonable pay rises to all the soldiers at the coal face. No huge pay rises for the hierarchy and fat cats. This money is to be overseen and managed by parties who have only quality care and staff in their preview. To be held accountable to the community using the hospitals.

  8. I didn’t know that they got private health cover if this is correct I think it’s disgusting We as workers have to pay our own. Why do they get their cover for free they all earn enough to pay their own. If they were to stop this perk think of all the money they would save

  9. Best idea I have heard in ages, they need a huge wake up call. I recorded last nights Q&A, will watch later on today, sounds very interesting

  10. Cut a few of the leaks from them they all earn enough They are a joke That liberal women last night was rude and only was thinking of her own perks didn’t like her at all

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