Posted by Jim on August 5, 2010
The restoration of funding for joint surgery by the Queensland Government is a welcome announcement, said Dr Jim McDonald, the Greens candidate for Wide Bay. He was commenting on a report in yesterday’s Sunshine Coast Daily [that the Queensland Government had allocated $1 million to the hospital for joint surgery].
“However,” he said, “The fact that funding had not been available for a year and a half illustrates that the health system urgently needs reform to adequately service the region. Noosa needs a better arrangement than stop-and-go funding of medical procedures for public patients.
“The Federal Government’s takeover of health was announced by the former Prime Minister, Mr Rudd, with great fanfare, but it was short on details. One decent reform measure would be to review the conditions that are presently listed as elective surgery. The definitions of what is ‘elective’ hide the true nature of waiting lists – the real suffering of public health patients.
“Joint surgery should not be regarded as elective. It can be extremely painful and when it is, it severely affects the patient’s quality of life in the degree of pain experienced and their mobility. If the patient with joint pain is working, it will affect an employee’s productivity. There are, therefore, other hidden economic costs in the failure to adequately and consistently fund the procedures.”
Dr McDonald said that he had had hip replacement surgery at Noosa Hospital 22 months ago. “The pain was excruciating at times and I was hobbling around like an old man before the operation. If they experience the effects that I did, then public patients on the Noosa waiting list have been put through hell for the past 18 months.
“If I am elected I will be urging the removal of joint replacement surgery from the list of conditions for elective surgery and ongoing funding for the necessary joint surgery program at Noosa Hospital.”
Media Release, 4 August 2010
Posted by Jim on June 23, 2010
The fact that Maryborough patients have to travel to Maryborough for dialysis treatment is indicative of the need for real reform of the hospital system in the Wide bay Electorate according to the Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald.
“Dialysis patients often need more than one session a week and travelling up and down the Bruce Highway for treatment is appalling, especially when patients requiring dialysis are feeling unwell.
“The neglect of health is also felt in the west of the electorate. Cancer patients in towns like Murgon and Goomeri have to take a return journey of up to 500 kilometres to Toowoomba for some cancer treatments and tests. That is not a system that is designed for patients.
“Free transport offered dialysis patients by the Queensland Minister for Health is not the central issue. Patient well-being is what it should be about and long, arduous trips for treatment or tests fail that criterion.
“Hospital and clinical resources in the whole of the Wide Bay electorate are poorly organised and it amounts to Government neglect of public patients.”
Dr McDonald said that the Rudd Government’s so-called health reforms must address the question of access to health services.
“Patients need reform rather than rhetoric. Real reform will drive an upgrade of Maryborough and Gympie hospitals to improve services across the electorate.
“Pressure on one hospital is a pressure on all the hospitals in our region. With population growth pushing up from the Sunshine Coast into Gympie, the situation will escalate.
“Communities need to have confidence that the smaller hospitals are not under any threat and expansion of services in the larger hospitals should reduce the need for trips to Brisbane except in cases of the highest medical emergency.”
“Real reform will address the present inequality of health service delivery in our region compared with the metropolitan area.
“But when Mr Rudd travelled to regional Queensland with health hand-outs, he ignored the electorate. Wide Bay is not a marginal Labor seat.
Media Release: 22 June 2010; letter published, Gympie Times, 23 June 2010
Posted by Jim on June 4, 2010
The Greens Wide Bay candidate, Dr Jim McDonald, said today that he would believe Northern Energy Corporation had shelved the Colton Coal Mine project when there was evidence that the company had withdrawn its application for a mining licence.
He was commenting on a statement by NEC Managing Director, Keith Barker, on the ABC that the 40% super tax would make the mine non-viable.
Dr McDonald said NEC were grandstanding and attempting to hold the community to ransom.
“The company has reported up to 100 million tons of coal. That is not a marginal investment for a greenfields coalmining company.
“The fact that the Colton Coal Mine had ridden roughshod over the residents of Aldershot shows how seriously they were prepared to commence digging the mine as soon as a mining licence was granted. They glossed over the impact on the health of children living near the mine.
“They didn’t do that for a marginal investment and Mr Barker’s statement does not compute with the company’s latest ASX statement.
“NEC told the ASX in its April report of its intention to extend the resource of hard coking coal and increase the size of the mine development in parallel with the initial establishment of the open-cut mine.
“NEC is blatantly supporting Warren Truss and Tony Abbott and their opposition to the mining tax. Mr Barker has joined in a concerted, self-interested political campaign by the mining industry against the Rudd mining tax.
“The Rudd government had botched the introduction of the tax, and tripped itself up in spin, but the idea of a proper return to the Treasury on Australian resources was correct.”
Dr McDonald said that the State Government should reject the mining lease application. The best result for anyone living within 10 kilometres of the proposed mine is that it should not go ahead at all.
Posted by Jim on May 31, 2010
The beautiful Mary Valley
The Mary Valley must be planned and developed as the food bowl for the region and South East Queensland. It is in the national interest that the State and federal Governments treat the future of the Mary Valley as a matter of the highest priority.
There is an opportunity that is being missed here to put in place a highly productive and sustainable food cropping zone to feed the region and export to the rest of the country and even overseas.
The Mary Valley could become a model for efficient food production and distribution by changing the inefficient supply chain practices of the large supermarkets. The primary market for Mary Valley would be the Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and Wide Bay regions supplied directly from the Mary Valley, with the surplus exported to the rest of Australia and overseas.
Intensive but sustainable methods could be world class with efficient water usage and re-usage.
This is the most important climate change policy and population policy for the region. and we hear nothing from either the State or Federal Government. The necessity of acting on protecting and nurturing our best land seems to have escaped the notice of Anna Bligh and Kevin Rudd.
After prematurely acquiring a large number of properties, which it finds it can’t now [sell in its] buy back [plan], the State Government owns the most fertile land in the valley, so the essential planning should be less difficult than under other circumstances.
This is about securing food supplies in an area that has a reliable water supply and fertile land.
The Mary Valley provides the opportunity for model planning in food security. The sustainable development of food production in the Mary Valley is a national as well as a state issue and Mr Rudd and Ms Bligh are to be condemned for their failure to address the question.
Letter to the Gympie Times, published 29 May 2010
Posted by Jim on May 10, 2010
The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, said that he didn’t expect the budget would bring much joy to the electorate.
He said the Government’s performance so far had left Wide Bay voters in the lurch.
“Where is the improvement of health services? Gympie and Maryborough hospitals need to be upgraded to service the region and take pressure off Nambour Hospital. Mr Rudd’s Health tour bypassed the electorate.
“Public patients in the west of the electorate have to travel to Toowoomba Hospital for some health services.
“This is a ludicrous arrangement that represents a failure of the Rudd and Howard Governments and the State Government.
“The region needs a decent rail system to connect it to the rest of South-east Queensland, but will Mr Swan deliver the necessary infrastructure funds?” he asked
“There is little evidence of planning for the Mary Valley. The ill-conceived Traveston Dam project ripped apart the the Mary Valley. The Federal Government needs to step in and ensure that the region becomes the food bowl for South-East Queensland. The lack of planning means no budget allocation.
“This is an immediate priority for managing food security in the face of climate change. But, the Rudd Government appears to have dropped its bundle on meaningful climate change measures.”
Dr McDonald said that a productive Mary Valley would also provide sorely needed jobs for the region.
“A responsible Budget would take a whole of region approach to sustainable job creation, infrastructure support, and improvement of services.
“There is little evidence of that,” he said.
Media Release 10 May 2009