Monday, July 30, 2007

More dead from heat in government-controlled healthcare, this time in Hungary

Post below lifted from Fausta

The universal healthcare system in Hungary (PDF file) is financed through income tax and social-insurance taxes.

Maria just sent this: Hungary heatwave kills hundreds
Up to 500 people have died in the past week from a heatwave in Hungary, a top health official has said.
The daily mean temperature in the past week had reached 30C, she said.

In the southern city of Kiskunhalas, the temperature reached a record high of 41.9C.
Here in the USA, the elderly and frail move to Arizona and Florida, where they swim in cooled swimming pools and a 30C day (86oF) in the Summer is an invitation to have dinner on the veranda.

In 2003 15,000 elderly and frail people died during a heat wave in France. Many died in the emergency rooms waiting for someone to bring them water

Out of the frying pan, into the fire? Medical desperation in Queensland, Australia

MORE than two in three people want the Federal Government to take control of Queensland's failing health system, the Queensland: Your Say survey has revealed. Data from the poll shows 69 per cent of Queenslanders have lost faith in the State Government's ability to run their health service. Despite promises that problems will be resolved, patients continue to suffer substandard levels of care, including waiting lists of up to eight years for surgery, a lack of beds, and closure of 38 maternity units in rural Queensland because of a lack of staff.

Queenslanders have spoken out loud and strong with 10,700 people raising their voices in the 2007 Sunday Mail-National Nine News Your Say survey. Readers seized the chance to share their feelings in one of the biggest responses to a survey in any Australian newspaper.

Queensland Opposition health spokesman John-Paul Langbroek said he was not surprised the public was frustrated with the State Government. "Health is such an important portfolio, and yet Beattie and Labor are not running it properly," he said. "It's certainly not a lack of money that is causing the problems because the budget has gone from $3 billion 10 years ago to $7.15 billion now."

Hospital patient Campbell Ney, 64, from Mareeba, is among Queenslanders unhappy with the system. He was last week forced to transfer from Cairns Base Hospital to Mossman Hospital because of a lack of beds. Mr Ney, who has a severe lung infection, said: "I'm a pretty easygoing sort of a bloke but this health system is off the rails."

In the past two years Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has investigated the possibility of taking control of Queensland's health system, but yesterday told The Sunday Mail he had no plans to do so at the moment. "I'm flattered that people think the Howard Government is much better placed to fix the health system than the Beattie Government," he said. "However, the Commonwealth Government has no plans to take over the public hospital system."

State Health Minister Stephen Robertson blamed the Federal Government for failings in the health system. "Queensland's public hospitals have been short-changed by the Howard Government to the tune of $2.6 billion over the life of the current five-year Australian Health Care Agreement," he said. In a sign of falling support for public health services, the Queensland: Your Say survey revealed 64 per cent of readers had taken up private cover.


Australia: Now it's the NSW ambulance service in strife

Eerily similar to the Queensland ambulance situation

AN ambulance staffing crisis is forcing rookies with just nine weeks' training onto the streets to try to save lives without proper supervision. One in three NSW Ambulance Service officers is a trainee because experienced staff are quitting in record numbers, fed up with being overworked and underpaid, front-line sources say. Last year there were twice as many resignations as in 2002. Tensions among those left behind are said to have reached breaking point, the sources say, with suicide attempts increasing. One senior officer said patient care was being compromised by the exodus of experienced officers. "Make no mistake, patients have died because of this and they will continue to die," she said.

A copy of the service's 2007 corporate culture survey leaked to The Sun-Herald paints a grim portrait of chronically poor morale and employees who feel undervalued, restricted in how they go about their work and disengaged from decision-making processes. The vast majority believe their supervisors do not deal effectively with key issues such as stress, excessive workloads, absenteeism, harassment and bullying, and are not addressing their concerns about industrial relations.

NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher last week countered criticisms of the service's capabilities by pointing to the recruitment of 327 personnel over the past four years. However, Freedom of Information figures obtained by the Opposition and seen by The Sun-Herald show 475 resignations over the same period. Novice ambulance attendants who might normally spend more than a year teamed up with two fully qualified partners are being thrown in the deep end, sources say.

A NSW Ambulance Service spokesman insisted trainees were placed under "close supervision at all times" but Health Services Union Hunter Valley officer Peter Rumball disputed this, saying the practice of pairing trainees with a single unqualified trainer to save money was commonplace. Mr Rumball said the union had repeatedly raised concerns about how one senior officer was supposed to supervise a trainee when he or she had more than one patient to treat at a time, or if the pair had to split up, or one had to stay with a patient while the other drove to hospital or went off to retrieve equipment. "Officers who come straight out of the service's rescue school get no supervision or mentoring at all," Mr Rumball said. "They are classed as fully qualified even though they have never undertaken a rescue."

A paramedic with 10 years' experience said rookies were being pushed onto the front line without proper regard for the consequences. "You have a situation where they are performing extremely demanding tasks without the proper supervision and that is where errors can be made," she said. "The way the roster system is set up is that at training stations there should be 10 fully qualified officers. "But how it is now is that out of those 10, two or three are trainee officers and are actually not qualified but they are rostered on to fill out those positions. "The trainees are being used to fill the holes and are just thrown straight in."

Opposition health spokeswoman Jillian Skinner said the number of calls she was receiving from ambulance officers in distress outstripped even those from within the ranks of the state's 40,000 nurses. "This issue is all about long-suffering ambulance officers who are under enormous stress, not getting any support and burning out," Ms Skinner said. "The fact that they're resigning at a faster rate than ever before speaks for itself. "What we're talking about is people at the coalface being forced to bear the brunt when, instead, it should be the Government dealing with it." Mr Rumball said his concerns about stress levels of the job were grave, and he knew of five colleagues who had attempted suicide in the past few years



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?

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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