Doctor braves the system to speak out

ONE of the media’s difficulties in reporting on health issues is that it’s a sackable offence for medical staff, such as nurses, to talk publicly.

While this undoubtedly makes our job much harder, its true importance is that it restricts the community’s knowledge about the true state of its hospitals and health system. To be frank, not many people really care what is happening inside our local hospitals until we or a loved one is in need of help. All the same, we like to know that a system is in place for when we do need to call upon it.

Yet the lack of transparency coming out of the health system means we just don’t know what shape it really is in.

Many of the chronic problems are masked by the admirable professionalism and dedication of the staff – nurses, doctors and those behind the scene – who work extraordinarily hard to hold the system together and provide the best care they can for our loved ones, all for little in return.

Yet sometimes even they despair and risk retaliation to say ‘enough is enough’.

That is exactly what Dr Frank Wagner, head of the Pain Management Clinic at Lismore Base Hospital, has done on today’s letters page. He and others are disputing the figures being bandied around by area health chief executive Chris Crawford to justify the closure of the pain clinic.

Mr Crawford has not yet had the opportunity to respond to the allegations, but the fact the issue has been raised means he must answer them – and not with a glib denial.

Now that massive cuts are under way throughout of our healthcare system, transparency and an informed community debate are more important than ever.

GALLERY: Burnt out fire truck

premium_icon GALLERY: Burnt out fire truck

The RFS truck will probably be written off.

"Someone could have been injured or killed"

premium_icon "Someone could have been injured or killed"

An RFS crew sheltered in their truck as the grass fire overcame them

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