Saturday, November 11, 2006


Feeling under the weather? Be careful who you tell. Health Service Journal (Nov 2) reports on plans by the Scottish Executive to quarantine anyone with a serious infectious disease in their own home. A consultation document also proposes that, under revamped public health laws, people could be compelled to undergo examination or treatment against their will.

Tim Brett, the director of Health Protection Scotland, says that the measures would help in a flu pandemic. “I’m sure the vast majority of people would accept any such requirement.” The plans recognise the significant human rights issues raised by such measures but Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer says that it is time public health laws were updated. They date from 1897.


Baby death shame files in Tasmania

All due to the usual lazy social worker dictum that children MUST be left with their parents, no matter what

The State Government has admitted it failed to protect a baby boy who died of a methadone overdose in the state's South last year. A further nine children known to the state's failed child protection system have died since 2005 and suspected child abuse is blamed for at least three of the deaths.

The files of the dead have revealed a disjointed and overwhelmed system that failed to adequately protect the vulnerable children. The children came from homes with a history of family violence and where sustained drug and alcohol abuse occurred. Doctors, teachers, neighbours and health professionals had told the system multiple times that the children and their brothers and sisters had been abused and neglected.

Their files contained hopeful assumptions from swamped workers such as "doctor will keep an eye on him" and "extended family making alternative arrangements". Their families had struggled to access help to cope with complex issues including poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and family violence.

Health Minister Lara Giddings admitted to being shocked and saddened at the stories of abuse, neglect and death and promised the Government would learn from them. "I'm not proud of this story," she said. "There had been failings in the child protection system in relation to that child."

A Health and Human Services Department committee will investigate the deaths to determine whether the child protection system could have prevented them. The Government has accepted the recommendations of former children's commissioner David Fanning contained in two reports into child deaths. Ms Giddings said a new, $600,000 IT system would be running early next year to replace the paper files case workers have struggled to navigate and cross-reference.

Laws to trigger the automatic independent review of deaths or serious injuries of children known to the system will be introduced to Tasmania. Mr Fanning noted there was "no clear and routine process for departmental reviews of child deaths" and only two deaths had been reviewed since 1997. One report said "unfortunately there is very limited data on numbers of child deaths in Tasmania where a child was known to child protection services". It said the service could use such data to learn from experience and "reduce the incidence of preventable child deaths".



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

Comments? Email me here. If there are no recent posts here, the mirror site may be more up to date. My Home Pages are here or here or here.


No comments: