Friday, January 13, 2006


Despite vast financial deficits

A prisoner who had a sex change operation to become a woman is to undergo further surgery to become a man again.

John Pilley, currently known as Jane Anne, is in Holloway women's jail in North London. The prisoner made legal history in 1999 when he became the first inmate in England and Wales to be granted permission for a sex change operation. He is understood to have undergone the gender reassignment operation on the NHS in 2001 at an estimated cost of 15,000 pounds.

Pilley, 54, was moved from Gartree Prison, in Leicestershire, where he was serving life for attempted murder and kidnapping a female taxi driver, to Holloway, but after living in the female jail has decided to become a man again. He is waiting to have his second operation on the NHS, then will be transferred to a male prison.

Christine Burns, of Press for Change, a pressure group for transsexual rights, said: "Although it is not unheard of, it is very rare indeed for people to have regrets and want to change back." The surgery would be similar to that used for female-to-male transsexuals, she said.

Pilley underwent seven years of hormone treatment, after which he won the right to have a sex change operation. He was initially refused permission by the Prison Service to have the operation, but the service dropped its opposition after taking legal advice. He was allowed to wear women's clothing in his cell at night but wore men's clothes during the day. The Prison Service has refused to comment on the case


Queensland Aged-care muddle

The article below does not even mention the vast bureaucratic maze that aged-care providers have to navigate in order to operate

A Queensland nursing home will employ overseas nurses to overcome a staffing crisis caused by a statewide shortage of up to 500 aged care nurses. The 60-bed facility at Yeppoon, which has tried for nine months to attract enough staff to open, yesterday received approval to hire four nurses from South Africa. [How big-hearted of the government!]

As well as the need to hire overseas staff, there are concerns Brisbane has an acute shortage of aged care beds. Aged care consultant Stan Manning said calculations based on State Government planning data showed another 7000 beds were needed. He said about 2000 places were needed on the southside, including some centres which were approved but had not yet opened, and a shortfall of 5000 beds on the northside. Mr Manning, the former head of Sydney's Wesley Mission, said it was taking longer for the elderly in Brisbane to find a place. "Most (northside) facilities have closed their waiting lists because they are now so long," he said. "It is taking people waiting for beds anywhere up to two to three years for a place to become available and be offered to them. "There is no doubt there is a problem because of the shortage of nursing staff right across Australia, but the situation is going to get dramatically worse. "Between now and 2021, there is going to be a 300 per cent increase in the number of people over the age of 80." .....

The staffing crisis has largely been blamed on the widening gap between what general and aged-care nurses are paid, a difference that has more than doubled in the past three years. The Federal Government boosted aged care funding last year but has been criticised for not ensuring the money was used to increase wages of aged care nurses, who are now paid on average $191.83 less than their hospital counterparts.

Despite that, however, Mr Gilkes said the shortage of aged care staff was not the biggest issue facing the aged health care industry. "To be honest, the biggest issue is actually finding land," he said. "You can't build a residential facility on an acre block. You need a reasonable tract of land, so that is the biggest issue in southeast Queensland." Queensland's 498 residential aged care homes care for 28,629 residents.

More here


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?

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