Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Education And Debate

Healthcare lessons from Australia: what can Michael Howard learn from John Howard?

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 10 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:357

Rapid Response:

Howard's Health Hazards

Thank you for your excellent article and evaluation of Australia's public/private health and insurance debate.

Since Howard's reform of healthcare started in Australia, we have experienced overcrowding, understaffing, overworked doctors, nurses etc. and almost inaccessible health care for we of the great unwashed. It took me six months to have a keratosis looked at; thank goodness it was not cancerous.

Speaking of the great unwashed, that's precisely what happens to both the hospitals and their inmates, sorry, patients. I visited a friend in a ward known as The Toilet Ward as there was the same excrement on the same wall for many months. I don't know if it's still there.

It's a national disgrace eclipsed only by the (re-)election of the man I saw many years ago on television stating that if he became Prime Minister, he'd make sure people on welfare payments had just enough to exist on. He also said that eating sausage mince every day wasn't all that bad.

Alas, his dream has come true. The "Lucky Country"? Well, lucky if you're one of the lucky. Far too many people here compare our country with Bangladesh and say we're not really all that badly off.

I'd recommend before taking on Howard's Health Hazards, come and see for yourselves what the real results are for the people who (try to) use the facilities.

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

11 February 2005
Aviva Sheb'a
Writer, student
96 Bradley Grove Mitchell Park South Australia 5043