Aged care should be about care provided to the resident but it isn’t. No longer a ‘Health Care Issue’ it is a business, managed and determined through the stock market.
In 2014 reforms of how consumers pay for care made the sector financially viable. Few investment trends are hotter than the ageing population. The regulatory requirements around aged care are complex and multi-layered, and challenging for families, let alone the frail and vulnerable aged consumers. It is a pity financial interests are outweighing consumer needs; not only from profit driven angle of shareholders but from the federal government’s perceived way of saving money.
When entering an aged care facility a financial assessment determines how much you possess in assets and income. This governs the accommodation bond you will pay, anywhere from (250,000 to 650,000). The facility can use this bond to buy more assets; it is not for the care of the resident.
Care needs are assessed with a complex tool, the Aged Care Funding Instrument which assesses the care needs of residents. This is where the government wants to save money by removing $1.2 billion from complex care for the aged. They say the sector is rorting the system by having too many residents needing high complex care. Go figure, they enter the facility because they can no longer stay at home so of course they have complex care needs. But instead of looking at ways to improve the system to be more fair and equitable, they just remove the necessary funding, funding that is necessary to provide adequate care to residents.
The aged care system requires an overhaul. Privatisation is putting money in shareholders pockets, because there is no accountability of how government funded money is spent. It should not be profit driven, but care driven. Residential aged care requires adequate funding, but providers must be held accountable for how that money is spent. Even before this most recent cut to high and complex care - staffing levels and skills mix were often inadequate. In NSW the requirement for an RN 24/7 was recently removed. Until we have legally enforceable nurse to patient ratios, with decent wages and conditions, our most vulnerable will continue to lose out. These people paved the way for future generations and deserve care that is driven by compassion and health needs not budgetary constraints because of government cuts and shareholders profits.
Diane Lang, Merimbula
Until a few weeks ago, I was not aware that fluoride (which the BVSC want to add to our drinking water) is a neurotoxin and is linked to almost every disease and medical condition once can think of, diabetes, cardiovascular, spine and bone problems, arthritis, kidney failure, autism, alzheimer’s and cancer just to name a few.
Thanks to the ‘Clean Water for Life’ seminars, organised by Dr Maria Claudianos (Merimbula dentist), held in Bermagui, Eden, Merimbula and Bega, those of us who attended have had our eyes opened.
At present, our water supply is non-fluoridated and one of the best in NSW, but the NSW government plans to impose water fluoridation on three water supplies of the Bega Valley, will affect 14 towns and villages. Fluoride is a toxic waste product of the superphosphate industry sold to governments to put into drinking water.
Professor Paul Connett (USA) and Dr Geoffrey Pain (VIC), both environmental scientists, spoke at length about the toxic effects of fluoride when added to drinking water and Maria Claudianos talked about the “sugar effect” on teeth and showed programs used by Scotland and Denmark to promote dental health which don’t use fluoride. Most of western Europe’s drinking water is fluoride free.
Unless we as a community protest against it, BVSC will be allowed to literally pour poison down our throats. See for yourself at www.fluorideaction.net
Karen Vuki, Bermagui
Cried Shorty Bill "this here's our plan-
"Fast comes the fatal hour.
"We'll bribe the bastards to a man
"And spend our way to power"
"We'll tempt each Harry, Dick and Tom
"Until we know we've got 'em
"And where's the money coming from?
"This pit without a bottom!"
"But Billy, we'll be mired in debt,
"Up to our necks be bathed!"
"Well mate, who makes an omelette
'And leaves the egg unscathed?"
"To win this game it's true we might
"Just break the bloody nation-
"Leave others then to put things right-
Now, as for economics Bill
It's clear you just don't pass
Nor ever will when you can't tell
Your elbow from your arse!
John Stephen, Merimbula
Commenting from a professional heritage management background, I am confused about whether Greg Ferguson is being deliberately disingenuous or really doesn’t understand the state’s heritage system.
Clarifying the concepts of “heritage” and “historic”, I refer Mr. Ferguson to the “Australia ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance” (Burra Charter), which provides standard criteria for professional assessment of cultural heritage in Australia. “Historic” (age) importance is just one of seven benchmarks. The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage database includes listings ranging from pre-European contact through to 2012. The Sydney Opera House (completed 1973) is included on Local, State, National and World Heritage Registers, clearly indicating that age is not the sole deciding factor.
This brings me to Mr Ferguson’s outdated contention that the proposal would damage Pambula’s heritage value. Professionally speaking, new developments in the heritage landscape are seen as an opportunity to interpret the built environment - by adding something fresh, linking the past with the present and projecting into the future. And there are a myriad of responses – some traditional, others more contemporary, but both entirely appropriate.
In making his claims about “heritage”, I wonder just how much Mr Ferguson actually knows about, for example, the adjoining town wells. Is he aware that very little original fabric remains? And that what we see today is largely reconstruction dating from about 1994? And that, in itself, is indicative of the complementary role “present” can play with “past”.
I would thus remind Mr Ferguson that each generation deserves the right to leave worthy evidence of their own contribution to the built document, not just a demonstration of their ability to retain vestiges of the many generations that have gone before.
Angela George, Eden
Recently I heard three professionals present their case against water fluoridation (Dentist Maria Claudianos, Retired Professor of Chemistry Paul Connett from the USA, who has written a book on the subject and Dr. Geoff Pain, a scientist from Melbourne). It was concerning what they had to say and I am very pleased that Councillors who are going to vote on whether or not to add fluoride to the remaining three (fluoride free) water supplies in the shire, are welcoming a presentation at Council from this group.
Here are some of the things I heard at the meeting:
Most countries including 97 per cent of Europe don’t fluoridate their water. World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows the decline in tooth decay from 1970 to 2010 among 12 to15 year-olds to be the same whether they come from fluoridated or non-fluoridated countries. Denmark has the lowest decay rates – a country that has never been fluoridated.
Most disturbingly over 300 published studies indicate that fluoride damages the brain. This includes 50 studies that show an association between exposure to modest amounts of fluoride and lowered IQ in children. Studies have proven fluoride affects bones, thyroid glands, pineal glands and blood sugar levels particularly in infants and the elderly and disadvantaged communities.
A bad visible side effect (easily seen on the teeth) is fluorosis, where teeth get white or yellow blotches and can crumble away in severe forms as a result of too much ingested fluoride, 40 per cent of American youth suffer from fluorosis.
Proponents of fluoridation (Centre of Disease Control 1999 and 2001) claim the predominant benefit of fluoride is actually to apply it directly to the teeth rather than ingest, eg toothpaste or a varnish and not to swallow it, just spit it out.
Fluoridated water provides no benefits only risks to infants, if babies drink formula made from fluoridated water supplies at the normal concentration of 1ppm, it will be 200 times the concentration found in breast milk. Not a safe intake amount for infants, putting them at much higher risk of physiological damage from fluoride which includes the damage to teeth ie. fluorosis.
The Precautionary Principle should rule out water fluoridation: if in doubt leave it out! Dr. Maria Claudianos showed how non-fluoridated Scotland and Denmark have been very successful lowering tooth decay in low-income families without fluoridating their water. Denmark has the lowest decay rates in the developed world and it has never been fluoridated!
When the Queensland government lifted the previous fluoridation mandate, 45 major towns and cities stopped.
These claims are all backed up with scientific data, you would have to think it would be totally reckless, negligent and irresponsible to take the risk of any of this possibly happening,
Fluoridating water is adding a chemical to our water supply as compulsory medication, no authority has the right to impose such a thing on anyone! If you want it, it is readily available in most toothpastes and in many other natural forms such as tea. The push for fluoride is driven by corporate companies with vested interests and certain government health departments who believed 70-60 years ago it would be good for teeth, they are still trying to claim its benefit despite growing evidence against it. Clean and green for our future thank you very much.
Fraser Buchanan, Merimbula
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