$100,000 job offer a PR disaster

THERE’S no way spin doctors are more important than real doctors.

Yet at a time when the North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) is cutting 400 positions, it’s about to hire a public relations consultant with an annual salary of up to $100,000.

While the NCAHS is crying out for more frontline practitioners, this PR person is unlikely to provide anything more than band-aid solutions for a failing health system.

Perhaps it is a case of the powers that be thinking the pen is mightier than the scalpel.

So while patients will have to make do without a hospital chaplain and a pain clinic, they’ll have a back office desk jockey explaining ‘Caring Together’ issues.

The Caring Together Liaison Officer will help explain away NSW Health’s response to the Garling Report into acute care services.

Peter Garling SC made 139 recommendations, of which 134 have been accepted by the NSW Government, which is planning to spend $485 million over four years to provide an immediate response.

So immediate they are prepared to splash out $100,000 for a PR person.

All the briefings, ministerial responses, reports and submissions in the world are not going to cut hospital waiting queues, or provide any extra hospital beds.

As a former spin doctor myself, for some of the most unpopular government departments in Australia (the Australian Tax Office, Centrelink and Defence), I can attest that spin is a poor substitute for action.

And for the people who have already lost their health jobs, or are about to lose them, it’s a major slap in the face.



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