Public medical system is failing

IT sometimes feels that we are so used to having a second-rate public medical system that we are almost incapable of being shocked by its failings.

But our front-page story today should shock everyone who relies on our hospitals – and those who run them.

Queensland Health has confirmed that Ipswich Hospital has been on divert on 34 times this year.

Put simply, this means the hospital's emergency department will refuse to treat patients unless they are in danger of dying.

This number of diverts has not been caused by any particular emergency, such as a train crash or flu epidemic. It's simply the normal state of affairs.

No one doubts the compassion and professionalism of health workers in the frontline of this chaos.

They are as frustrated by the situation as the patients who need their care.

This situation is an appalling indictment of the failure of our politicians to solve this problem.

Yet can we see any improvement in the future?

The ALP's 2007 promise of a federal health takeover has been all but forgotten. After all, promises are only what you make to win elections.



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