OPINION: Gympie needs to save its private hospital
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Save our private hospital
IT WAS with absolute dismay, shock and astonishment that I read on The Gympie Times front page (26-01-19) the Gympie Private Hospital is closing on February 28.
I was a patient there for five days from 11-01-19 with 4½ hours major surgery and again for 1½ hours surgery on 23-11-18 for two nights.
This 40-bed wonderful facility is spotlessly clean, has a great feel, is friendly, the nursing staff are absolutely wonderful and couldn't be more helpful, caring or professional. Nothing is too much trouble for them. This is not the experiences I have had in larger hospitals which are so busy. You feel like just another number and often leave when not feeling ready, even though doctors and staff are very dedicated.
Most of the nursing staff at Gympie Private Hospital are over 40 and have been hospital trained. The theatre staff, cleaners, admin and food delivery people are also wonderful. Over 80 staff will lose their jobs and many of these come from as far away as Kenilworth and Traveston, have been there for a long time and love this hospital.
I believe that apart from its 40 beds, Gympie Private Hospital also has a day and night surgery department, palliative care and medical and surgical patient capacity.
The Gympie Regional Council covers an area of 6898sqkm. Gympie's urban population is 21,000 and the Gympie Regional Council area includes the Mary Valley, Tin Can Bay, Rainbow Beach, Cooloola Cove, Kilkivan, Goomeri, Widgee, Neerdie, Gunalda, Curra, Woolooga, Tansey, Glenwood, Glastonbury, Goomboorian, Wolvi, Dagun, Kandanga, Imbil, Brooloo, Amamoor, Traveston. All these people need medical and surgical care.
Apart from the Gympie Public Hospital which also does a great job, the nearest hospital is at Noosa an hour's drive away, or to Nambour or Sunshine Coast University Public Hospital - both an extra half-hour drive or more.
Gympie Private Hospital could be made an annexe of Gympie Public Hospital. It is two minutes drive away plus Gympie Radiology is almost opposite and QML and other pathology services nearby with doctors, specialists located in Channon St.
Gympie Public Hospital would then get an extra 40 beds, another operating theatre, a day and night procedures centre, palliative care and extra medial and surgical care capacity.
There are 13 specialist surgeons who use Gympie Private Hospital and there are 22 specialists who consult at Gympie Specialist and Diagnostic Centre.
This will be a huge loss to the Gympie area. My own two surgeons are now looking for another hospital on the Sunshine Coast to work from and they have been using this excellent hospital for 12 years.
Gympie Private Hospital could become a public/private hospital like Noosa, which would relieve waiting times for beds/operations at Gympie Public. A friend of mine had to wait many weeks to have a colonoscopy which couldn't be done at Gympie Hospital and she had to have it done two weeks ago at Sunshine Coast University Public Hospital.
She is 59 and lives in Gympie.
Gympie Private Hospital could become part of the Sunshine Coast Queensland Health Hospitals or Wide Bay area.
The Cooloola Coast/ Tin Can Bay/Rainbow Beach area and people are agitating for a community hospital and helipad. This was front page news in The Gympie Times in December or January with GP Dr Peter Martin leading the charge.
It seems to me that our mayor, local state member and federal member need to get behind keeping this excellent hospital here in Gympie, maybe in a different form or though a different company like Ramsay Health who run Noosa Hospital.
The State Health Minister and his or her opposition counterpart should get involved and maybe Deb Frecklington and the Premier.
Gympie is a fast-growing area and has excellent facilities, shopping etc and a wonderful, friendly, caring community. One only has to walk around Gympie to see that it has a large older population that will need medical and healthcare.
A public meeting could be held at which the media including TV, radio and print should be invited.
A rising tide lifts all boats
THE new board of the Gympie Chamber of Commerce is focussed squarely on the big picture. What can the board do that will directly assist local businesses?
The recent Chamber meeting, held at the Gympie RSL, saw representatives from the highest level of government pressed and prodded as to how Gympie can be improved from the top down. It was a fantastic meeting that will form the bedrock upon which the new Gympie Chamber will be built.
Trouble is, the big-picture stuff, from the top down, will take time. Weeks, months or even years. Truth is, some Gympie businesses just don't have that long, so what can be done now?
The short answer is, plenty.
Let's all look inward. Are we doing everything in the business perfectly?
I know it is an almost impossible task to do everything right all the time but there is room for all of us to improve. It is very easy for us to work "in" the business when we should be taking time to work "on" the business.
Even if you set aside an hour per week to look at the business as a customer would, you will see marked improvements. Like it or not we are living and working in a global economy that is based in digital and it is easier than ever for clients to compare us to everyone else.
So, with that in mind, let's start with our websites. Do we have one, are they visible, are the opening hours easy to find, is the contact number on the top? These are super important things that a website needs to deliver at a bare minimum.
Next up, is our social media up to speed? Some of us might hate socials, or not use them but truth is they are an essential part of business in 2019. There are 2.32 billion people on Facebook and they might be looking for your business.
Customer service. Do we jump over each other to make sure every single person that walks in the front door, emails or calls is treated with the highest of respect and courtesy?
Unfortunately, we can't wave a magic wand and fix the parking in Mary St by tomorrow. That is a fact.
What we can do is treat everyone that walks in like they are the only way we can afford to feed our kids.
Truth is, they are how we feed our kids and they need to be treated like the precious commodity they are. If you don't treat them well there is a multinational website with millions to spend on marketing just a click away.
We live in the best place in the country and we are perfectly positioned for greatness. Let's join together in the positivity of what we can achieve if we all work together. At the end of the day, a rising tide raises all boats.
The Gympie Chamber of Commerce is a united voice for Gympie business. If you aren't already a member, jump online at www.gympiechamber.com.au/ and join us for the future of Gympie.
See you at the next meeting.
Board Member Gympie Chamber of Commerce
Respectability deficit in NRL
MIKE Colman was right on the money in his "Colman on Sunday" article, (The Sunday Mail, 17-02-19) castigating the NRL leadership of Todd Greenberg and Peter Beattie for their apparent about-face on their recently declared zero-tolerance for violence against women.
Just 12 days after "drawing a line in the sand" against it and banning Ben Barba for life for allegedly striking his wife, they turned a blind eye to St George Illawarra's decision to allow Jack de Belin (on bail to face a charge of rape in company) to continue to train and probably play for the club.
Colman is right in asserting that de Belin should have been stood down. In any respectable profession that would have been automatic and immediate.
But rugby league, at the elite level, suffers from a respectability deficit built up over many years by repeated off-field misconduct by individuals and teams.
And in regard to the league's failure to stand de Belin down pending his trial, Colman legitimately asks "What makes a rugby league footballer a protected species?"
The obvious answer in this case is "a protective management regime". But I suspect that the problem is really a cultural one in which our society is inevitably implicated. It has to do with sport as a national religion and our sporting heroes, like gods, being untouchable.
Unfortunately for rugby league, too many of its heroes have tarnished its image by revealing themselves as little more than misogynist, athletic thugs.
And there is nothing redemptive in the present Pontius Pilate performance by bosses Beattie and Greenberg.
Free train trip with rates?
THE season of goodwill etc has come and gone. Hot-cross buns are already on sale and before you know it, it will be that time of year again (I'm already running out of puff).
I thought what a wonderful idea it would be if, as a gesture of goodwill to ratepayers who have contributed to the restoration of the Mary Valley train, that on payment of rates one free ticket be given to the householder with the receipt.
Very straightforward in my opinion and I can't see thousands of householders all rushing at once.
I cannot bring myself to call the train The Rattler. It isn't. It never was. The Rattler was the two-carriage rail motor which operated daily between Brooloo and Gympie, providing an excellent service for passengers, mail et cetera
Faith De Vere,
Premier is right on climate change
PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk must be highly commended for the accurate and timely speech she made this week at the Queensland Press Club linking our recent and unprecedented weather events to global climate change.
I applaud her courage to stand up to outdated status quo government policy, climate change nay-sayers and powerful bullying lobby groups and companies.
This is the leadership we need. Radical changes are required to how we live, and Queensland, that means stopping thermal coal.
Cindy Rugsten RN, MPH
Don't spend $5m on another pool
LAST week it was announced that a survey had been conducted and that council is taking a year to consider adding another $5 million to an already expensive aquatic centre.
It's an amenity which is difficult to run effectively and where the most popular feature, the indoor pool, will increasingly fail as a one-size-fits-all facility.
The patronage during the times I regularly use the indoor pool can already exceed what's been catered for while the rest of the facility is either seasonally shut or less utilised.
It's an "interesting” collection of structures which don't really seem to suit the needs of the punters very well.
I don't know who was surveyed but it seems odd that neither pool patrons or local staff got a look in.
Regardless of the result, hoping it doesn't become a half-thought-out bidding war during the next election campaign, I can't see how any such survey can give pool users the best deal, or how non pool user ratepayers could be expected to willingly see more money spent on it.
There's a habit of rushed spending in Gympie, money thrown around at high price tags, high ongoing costs and big rates bills full of levies.
To me the Rattler, as achieved, represents a negative.
I'm sure there're lots of ratepayers with no interest in the pool who see it as a negative too.
As much as it will inconvenience me as the pool gets more crowded - and the hydro pool crowd won't see any humour in my idea -in the interest of the overall community I implore council not to hurry into adding a further burden on us at a fundamentally flawed facility.
The site topography and the fact that any addition would be done around already crowded use means it's unlikely to be value for money. It could only increase what have to be high management/staffing costs, or have limited hours, and won't address other problems the centre will increasingly show as the population ages.
I believe the $5 million should be kept as an anticipated expenditure so councils of the future can properly consult and consider how it can best be used as a part payment in building another, less flash, more practical (normal) and future expandable pool complex at ever expanding Southside.
Maybe it could adjoin, and share staffing with, the mooted indoor sports/entertainment facility there? A pool can be a good way to hide an ugly shed.
Please, council, think slowly, think "what if" for once, and think not of impressing but if it's the best that can be done.
UFO or space station?
THE international space station passed over Glenwood at around 6.52pm on Monday, February 18. It travelled from the north west towards the south east. My wife and I watched it from our property at Anderleigh.
Botched VMS must be halted and reviewed
COMMERCIAL fishers have had enough.
LABOR'S ideologically anti-fishing policies have ripped the guts and profitability out of Queensland's once great commercial fishing industry.
It's no secret Queensland's commercial fishing industry has been suffering over the past 20 years. It's also no coincidence that Labor has been in for the vast majority of those years.
The latest issue turning the screws on our commercial fishers is the botched Vessel Monitoring System that was rolled out on January 1, 2019.
VMS has been plagued with complaints of faulty responders, dodgy government-certified VMS suppliers and vessel safety issues since its commencement.
Responder devices have been recording incorrect polling times and are subject to software failures, which stop them from working.
Allegations of dodgy practices from the government-certified supplier of one of the endorsed responders has created frustrations among hundreds of commercial fishers.
Commercial fishers can't go out fishing and earn a living with these faulty responders as the department continues to threaten them with fines.The Liberal National Party was unsuccessful in getting Labor's unfair VMS regulations removed in parliament due to Labor's majority in the house, but it's clear that the time has come for a complete halt of the program and for a detailed review to be completed.
Our commercial fishers deserve better than the contempt they are receiving from Labor. It's simply not good enough for our commercial fishers as well as the coast communities they support.
LNP Shadow Minister for Fisheries,
Ex-servicemen and women vote
AS THE major parties try to point score off each other, neither is concerned about the long-serving ex-servicemen/women who have had their superannuation entitlements "ripped off."
Both major parties have waxed lyrical about the "unique nature of military service" and the "debt owed to these men and women" but this is just lip service.
Superannuation in the services has been compulsory since 1948 and the first two schemes, DFRB & DFRDB, under which some 55,000 Defence Force retirees still receive benefits, would not stand the pub test.
The government did not invest members' contributions to these schemes, but rather, transferred them into Consolidated Revenue where they have always been used to help balance the budget.
Under these schemes retiring members could, after 20 years or more of service, take an advance lump sum payment of future entitlements to help them resettle into civilian life. If they opted to take the lump sum, their ongoing superannuation payments were reduced based on what their life expectancy was in 1962 which, on average, these men and women are living beyond, by more than 14 years. But the Government continues to pay them at the reduced rate until the day they die.
The government also fiddled with the indexation of their benefits, using an inappropriate index, which does not keep pace with the cost of living, and a complex indexation formula to further reduce their benefits. And this method of indexation flows on to the benefits of their widows and dependent children.
Minister Darren Chester regularly states that the whole issue is a misunderstanding, but in the military misunderstanding are invariably caused by miscommunication.
In 1991, the government introduced a third scheme, known as MSBS, and it has just as many problems. Then in 2016, it introduced yet another scheme.
Is there a federal politician in the country who would accept the conditions they force on those who served their country in peace and war?
More argument needed
JOHN Allen (The Gympie Times, February 19, 2019) correctly states that we have moved on from settling arguments with physical violence. So why is it that he hasn't presented any
arguments to counter my presentation (The Gympie Times, February 16, 2019)?
Sickening cruelty to children
I HAVE been reading about the cruelty and death of little children often by their mothers and boyfriends. It sickens me to know about it all.
The excuses given by the legal boys for the tortuous behaviour of these low-lives seem to always be that they had a bad childhood, they are on drugs and don't know what they do, they had a mental relapse and so it goes on and on. Never it seems, are they held solely responsible for their actions. Never any decent retribution for the poor little victims who have no where else to live.
If a child is living in a toxic environment, by the time the welfare system gets it right, the child is likely to be dead.
I was approached by a Gympie nurse years ago about a toxic family here - the mother of two small children had taken in a new boyfriend.
The nurse asked me to do something about it as she feared for her job if she tried to do something herself.
I tried to go through a government welfare worker who said he was so busy it would take three months before he could go and see the family.
In the meantime the boyfriend's behaviour included locking the terrified four-year-old boy in an unlit shed up in the rural property for the night and regularly molesting the little girl.
I could never understand the women who were aware of such abuses and yet keep their boyfriend around. In this case as soon as it was realised their case would surface, they left our area. It is anyone's guess what happened to the children after that.
In this day and age where crime is like a cup of coffee for some, we need to report to police any sexual or other abuses - especially to children - any drug dealings and theft.
We have to be quick when we do this as criminals often sneak away in the night when they know they are being watched.
I wonder if we can also convince the law we want stiffer court decisions and that the guilty are not protected from the other prisoners once in the jail.
Julia Lawrence OAM,