Monday, October 17, 2011

Politics And Nursing In Tasmania

I would like to make it clear that I have no political affiliations and the views expressed in this post are purely my opinion.

For goodness knows how many years, the Health portfolio in Tasmania has always been a 'hot potato.' After years of uncertainty, instability and poor management, health professionals have finally made their voice heard after several bungles have been publicised. The last straw came in the form of the Labor Party announcing funding cuts of $100 million.

Nurses at the North West Regional Hospital turned out in force to hear Health Minister, Michelle O'Byrne speak rather meekly to the 300-strong crowd. She went on to add that the cuts were "....short-term...." Leader of the opposition Liberal Party, Will Hodgeman gave a passionate speech which raised applause as his speech was also logical. Sue Robertson from the Australian Nurses Federation also spoke, stating, "....this fight is not over...."

Conspicuous in her absence was the State leader of the A.N.F, Nerolli Ellis. This is hardly surprising as her track record includes running for pre-selection for the Liberal Party and in Nursing management. It is this history of Union Representatives having the majority of their careers in management where it is common knowledge that they know very little about Nursing 'at the coal-face,' so to speak.

Also notable in their absence was Federal Labor M.P. Sid Sidebottom. He was, however, able to participate in 'The Burnie Ten' marathon a few days after the rally. Local Labor M.P, Bryan Green was also nowhere to be seen, unlike Liberal M.P. Jeremy Rockliff.

This situation has been brewing for many years and it has been brewing since our current Premier, Ms. Lara Giddings took on the Health portfolio.

Former Premier Paul Lennon conducted a study some years ago and came up with the sum of $380 million for upgrades to the Royal Hobart Hospital. For some reason, Ms. Giddings took it upon herself to seek $900 million which later blew out to over a billion dollars. Additionally, Ms. Giddings missed out on the opportunity to get Commonwealth funding for the Royal Hobart funding. The current Prime Minister, Ms. Julia Gillard, when questioned on the matter responded with words to the effect of, "....she only had to apply...."

With this sort of business sense and management ability, surely Nurses should be looking deeper than our current Health Minister and go straight to the root of this debacle.

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