Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Aged-care workers speak out

Nurses, personal carers and workers in the aged-care industry have detailed poor conditions, maltreatment and understaffing in aged-care centres. Speaking to the ABC’s Four Corners, nurse Katriona Legzdins recounted an incident where an aged- care home resident had “a chronic skin ulcer on his head that hadn't been dressed and was found to have maggots in it because it had been left exposed”. Personal care assistant Tanya Bosch said that budgetary and resources restraints meant carers “could only use three continence pads for any resident on any day”, while aged care consultant Tony Northcote said nurses on skeleton shifts were often “in charge of 100, 120, 150 people”. Four Corners will air the investigation’s second instalment next week.

A pregnant Aboriginal woman who died in a New South Wales hospital received insufficient care and could have been treated with a simple course of antibiotics, a coroner’s investigation has heard. Wiradjuri woman Naomi Williams, 27, died of septicaemia in January 2016 after presenting to hospital 18 times in six months. Doctors and healthcare workers repeatedly referred her to drug and alcohol services, and sent her home with two paracetamol tablets and an iceblock 14 hours before she died. Naomi’s mother Sharon will give evidence before the inquiry on Friday.

Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis has announced she would not contest the next election due to “NSW Liberal Party bullying, intimidation, leaking and undermining”. Speaking in parliament on Monday, Sudmalis said NSW Liberal state MP Gareth Ward, who she described as “the local self-determined senior Liberal … doesn't just get even, he annihilates anyone who opposes him”. Ward led an internal party campaign to unseat Sudmalis during the seat’s preselection process, only relenting when then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull intervened on Sudmalis’ behalf. Speaking on ABC Radio’s AM, Ward said “if there was any evidence to support the claim that Ms Sudmalis made, I'd challenge her to make them outside of parliament where she's not protected by parliamentary privilege”. Sudmalis held the NSW south coast seat of Gilmore by a 0.7 per cent margin at the 2016 federal election.

Prime minister Scott Morrison responded to Sudmalis’ resignation by requesting the federal Liberal Party executive establish a formal complaints handling process. In a statement, Morrison said the party needed “to ensure there is a rigorous and confidential process to deal with concerns and complaints from party members, including members of parliament”. Several female Liberal MPs wore red in parliament on Monday in an informal protest at the party’s response to complaints of gendered bullying and intimidation.



“It is time to admit that I once deliberately withheld important information from readers. It was 10 years ago, the financial crisis was at its worst, and I think I did the right thing. But a decade on from the 2008 crisis, I need to discuss it.”


“On the way into Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium during this year’s World Cup, spectators found FIFA’s flagship Fan Shop in an unlikely spot: at the feet of a monumental statue to Lenin. The irony was unmistakable, but the effect was strangely appropriate. Here, embodied, was the paradox of Russia.”


“A small group of skiers leaving the Vignettes hut heard a cry for help from a rocky outcropping a little more than 500 yards away. Within 15 minutes, a massive rescue was underway. But for most of the group, it was too late. Of the ten skiers, one was already dead, and six more would die of hypothermia within the next two days. Among the fatalities would be the guide and his wife.”


“Bill Shorten and senior frontbenchers used copies of Scott Morrison’s 2016-17 federal budget papers to question his record on Monday as their central line of attack in question time, accusing him of exacerbating problems in the sector ... Labor argued nearly $2 billion had been cut through Coalition budgets since 2013.”


“Scott Morrison says it is a ‘cynical’ view to say a royal commission into aged care has been called because the government has only now realised that years of lethargic reform, hidden reports and uncertain funding have affected its core voters ... When Morrison was treasurer, direct-care subsidies on which aged-care providers rely were frozen to the tune of $2 billion. It was only in this year’s budget that panic set in and the Coalition tried to get some reforms under way.”


“In the British countryside, hedgehogs aren’t easy to find. That’s partly because the spiky little critters are most active at night, and prefer quiet, undisturbed corners of the landscape, such as hedgerows ... But they’re surely there, somewhere – though the latest theory is that there are fewer of them than ever.”

Alex McKinnon
is Schwartz Media's morning editor.