By JR on Wednesday, June 29, 2011
A Leftist State government is abandoning poor children who have vision and hearing problems
There has been only passing mention of this in the media so I thought I might flesh it out a little.
Ever since 1911 Queensland has had specially trained nurses going around all the schools testing children's vision and hearing and keeping an eye out for any other health problems that they might detect.
This has been especially important in lower socio-economic areas where parents are often not alert to such problems in their children or do not have the confidence to do anything about problems that they are aware of. In such communities the nurse can often galvanize action on a child's vision or hearing loss at an early age and thus remove very large roadblocks to the child's educational progress.
This has been particularly so where Aboriginals (native blacks) are concerned as hearing loss is something of an epidemic among Aboriginal children and the parents are usually far too timid to do anything about it.
So what is the latest from Queensland Health on the centenary of this invaluable service? They are cancelling it. As a substitute they have agreed to pay local GPs a small sum to carry out such testing on anyone who comes in for it
So for a start they have just lost the Aborigines. Many Aborigines won't be alert to the problems concerned and in any case will rarely have the confidence to approach local GPs about such problems. The people who need the assistance of school nurses the most are now having it taken away from them.
And few GPs have the experience and equipment to do a job as good as the job that the specialized nurses do.
And it will just lengthen the already long waits to see a doctor in lower socio-economic areas. In such areas it can take a couple of weeks to get an appointment with a GP. So Queensland Health is just putting a new burden onto already overstretched GPs and stretching out waiting times for appointments even further.
So why is Queensland Health doing this dastardly deed to the poor families of Queensland? Budget cuts. They have spent hundreds of millions on getting their botched payroll system working and the money has got to come from somewhere.
But why take it away from frontline services? 20 years ago the school nurses had only a couple of employees in addition to the nurses themselves. Now there is a great bureaucracy that is more numerous than the nurses. If there have to be cuts, why not cut back the bureaucracy to what it was 20 years ago? The sevice ran perfectly well for many decades without a huge bureaucracy on top of it and could easily do so again.
But Leftist goverments regard their bureaucracies as sacred for some inscrutable reason so that is the last thing they will consider. I guess it gives them a feeling of power to have so many people dependant on them. Pity about the poor, though.
The Minister for Health in the Queensland State government is Hon. Geoff Wilson MP
You can email him here