Food intended for starving hurricane victims…

Posted on September 27, 2005. Filed under: Health, Life, etcetera, Politics, Society |

was to be burnt because it was supposedly unfit for human consumption.

Jesus wept…

Found at tuckle rori from this source.

The news may be old, but it needs to be not forgotten.

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No Free Lunch

Posted on September 24, 2005. Filed under: Health |

You’ll notice I have added some new links in the sidebar.

I am always interested in what the drug companies are up to, given that those of us who work in health are always being inundated with gifts and free lunches during “education sessions” or “inservice training sessions” by drug reps who, not surprisingly, just want to influence your thinking on their particular product. There has been only one drug rep that I know who is less inclined to push than to say “here it is, this is what it does, take it or leave it”. Not surprisingly also, she has been moved to another area and will be undergoing further company training.

Imagine my delight then, when I found, via PharmaGossip a link to another site (US based No Free Lunch) which is actively discouraging doctors from succumbing to the temptation to clean up on the gifts and free samples.

In my work capacity, for the last two years I have been organising and attending meetings with various GP surgeries around town, the purpose of which is the break down the barriers in terms of communication and sharing the care of our mutual clients, trying to get clinicians and GPs together for this has not been an easy task. My supervisor thought we should do lunch. In another area, the service paid for the lunch. Mine refused. So my supervisor decided that drug rep supplied lunch was necessary, because she did not trust the GPs to want to meet with us without us providing some kind of carrot to get us in the door.

20 or so meetings and 12 months later, I had had enough. These drug reps simply take over the meeting, touting their wares, leaving hardly any time for client discussion. Some even refused to leave when they were finished their “talk” which meant that no clients could be discussed in any case, because of confidentiality issues.

So I decided to drop the lunches and see what would happen. By and large, GPs were quite happy to see us in any case. Some surgeries said “No problem at all… in fact, how about we feed you instead!”. Of course there were some who had provided lunch for us from the outset. The few who became reluctant, and began stalling on when we could visit, have been shown for the “knife and fork brigade” that they are, and so I know there will be no joy in trying to link with them in any case. I am still waiting calls from some of them “Ohh.. we’ll get back to you…” after I had notified them of my reluctance to involve drug reps and suggesting we all bring our own lunch.

In the end, I am left with a small group of surgeries who are interested in Mental Health and who will continue to meet with us, to the benefit of our mutual clients.

I think its a good result.

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More on Mental Health

Posted on September 23, 2005. Filed under: Health |

How very easy it is for governments to sweep the problem of mental health under the carpet. After all, many people with mental illness do not want to take advantage of the service. All you need is a good strong dose of paranoid schizophrenia, and, when unwell, you’ll stay well away and avoid that medication. All of which saves our government millions of dollars a year.

Additionally, society would really prefer the mentally ill to just disappear and not bother them (the “not in my neighbourhood�? syndrome), so its easy for them not to notice that money is not being spent in nearly adequate amounts for the care of those who need it. Notice I am not saying “the care of those who want it�?. Those who want it often have a wonderful ability to mobilise many resources and supports which the others cannot or will not, because of their illness. And, in the case of our very busy Community Mental health team, those who want it are getting it, at the expense of those who need it but are avoiding it. We simply do not have the resources any longer.

Its no longer safe to do our job alone. What sane community nurse will walk into a house where there is someone holding a knife or gun, or a lump of timber. Of course we don’t know for sure that this is going to happen. But it has happened often enough for us to know that theres a strong possibility that it could. So we go visiting in twos. At least one will have a mobile phone to call for help and that one remains close to a door and escape at all times. Two-up visits are not always an efficient was of dealing with our customers, but under the circumstances, the only sane thing to do. Our top level managers will not provide us with a proper alternative.

The community at large complains about the number of mentally ill people who end up in gaol. I wonder where they want us to put them, because the government keeps closing hospital beds. We don’t have the luxury of a longstay ward… anywhere… in this state. Other services like the Sallies and St Vinnies and Richmond Fellowship and Centacare and New Horizons and many more who popped out of the woodwork and said “oh we’ll take ‘em�? have been given some money to look after those chronically ill people who cannot manage in mainstream society. Of course those services don’t actually employ people who are qualified… like (god forbid) psychiatric nurses (it would cost too much out of the $$$ per person that some of them get every year) and so our state run service STILL has to manage, without proper funding, alongside those NGOs.

All I can see is total, unmitigated mismanagement. The government has got it wrong and its just throwing good money after bad.

Total mainstreaming of mental health is both dangerous and stupid.

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The More Things Change…

Posted on September 23, 2005. Filed under: Health, Politics |

…the more they remain the same.

I was given to thinking about this again, after seeing 4 Corners on Monday night.

All these fancy National Mental Health Plans are all very well but if you aren’t going to fund their application then you are pissing into the wind. And, quite frankly, thats all our various governments have ever done… about most things which matter. Like proper education for the kids. Like policing which makes sense. Same ol’ same ol’

Governments are serious about nothing except self-propagation. So they don’t really give a rat’s ass about the state of the health system or anything else, all they care about is votes. Getting more. Winning elections. So they will tell people what they want to hear. They promise anything and deliver… well… not a lot at all.

It’s all ceased to be about doing whats right for the country. It stopped a long time ago. I should have noticed, but I didn’t. Perhaps it had already begun before I became interested in politics. Its about the winning of elections, the getting of kudos from other countries’ governments which are perceived to be more powerful and thus more beneficial to us. Its a madness.

I want Direct Democracy, not this crap they label democracy but which is not even close to it. I want to feel like I really have a say in what happens. I want these politicians NEVER to forget that they are there because they are our employees. We pay the taxes, we pay their wages. The bastards need sacking at the moment, there is not one Australian politician that I trust to do the right thing for this country. Its a matter of power. Having it. Wanting more. Ideals getting corrupted.

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