Category Archives: Health

Climate change induced energy demand spike show failure in policy

MEDIA RELEASE – 10 February 2017

NSW Greens energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said today’s predicted energy demand spikes highlighted multiple policy failures including a failure to address climate change, a failure to put in place a sensible demand management strategy, and a failure to build renewable energy.

“This record heatwave, in conjunction with temperature records being broken on a regular basis, shows that climate change is here with a vengeance.  Australians will die during this heatwave, yet the federal government still has its head in the sand,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“For our governments to still be pushing coal, the number one cause of climate change, in the face of an unprecedented heatwave is absolutely negligent.

“New Energy Minister Don Harwin’s advice for people to “have their fridge at a slightly lower temperature” (although I think he meant to say a higher temperature) demonstrates just how hapless and lost the NSW government has been on energy policy.

“NSW should have in place a demand management policy where large energy users are paid to reduce demand on the grid during peak periods.  This is a more effective and efficient policy measure than building huge infrastructure that is only used for a few hours every few years, or a hapless minister begging people to adjust their refrigerators.

“A smarter grid that allows for more distributed electricity generation, from clean energy sources, peer-to-peer trading, and decent price incentives for small-scale generation, would help to alleviate the pressure on the centralised grid.

“Unfortunately, the government’s preoccupation with defending the coal industry and flogging off the coal-fired power stations and electricity grid, means that effective policies to modernise the grid and avoid situations like the one NSW is facing today have not been pursued with any vigour.”

Cancer scandal grows: Skinner can’t dodge Special Commission of Inquiry any longer

MEDIA RELEASE – 20 September 2016

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW Government to support a Special Commission of Inquiry into the management of cancer treatment in NSW after a damning report revealed that the scandal has grown once again and serious clinical governance issues have been identified in the Western Local Health District.

“Every step of the way, Minister Skinner has sought to downplay this scandal, avoid responsibility and dodge a Special Commission of Inquiry which would ensure this widening scandal is thoroughly investigated,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“At every juncture, this scandal as grown, more patients are impacted and the scope of the investigation has proved to be too narrow.

“That is why the Greens have been calling on Minister Skinner since March to establish a Special Commission of Inquiry with appropriate independence, protection of witnesses and powers to restore confidence in the NSW Health.

“The report released today has found serious and alarming clinical governance issues in the NSW Health system, including a failure to keep adequate records and important clinical protocols being ignored.

“The scandal has widened to at least 28 more people; a new review is being conducted at St Vincent’s and the limited nature of the inquiry means we have no idea how big this scandal really is.

“It is wrong for Minister Skinner to try to wash her hands of the actions of Dr Grygiel simply because he was a private practitioner, when the report makes it crystal clear that this is not just about one bad doctor; it is about the governance of the NSW Health system of which she is in charge.

“This has gone on long enough and if Minister Skinner refuses to support the establishment of Special Commission of Inquiry into this growing scandal then she should resign and Mike Baird should put a Minister in place that will,” said Mr Buckingham.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

Greens oppose privatisation of five public hospitals in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE – 15 September 2016

NSW Greens health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham slammed the Baird Governments announcement that they would hold an expression of interest process to outsource public health services at five NSW public hospitals to private operators, saying it was a step towards the Americanisation of health services and would result in fewer services for greater cost and far less accountability.

“The Greens will strongly oppose the partial privatisation of the public hospital system  This is the Liberal Party’s privatisation ideology being implemented  despite the detrimental impact privatisation has on the public health system and the strong public support for health services remaining in public hands,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The recent scandal at St Vincent’s demonstrates that having private operators running public hospitals reduces transparency and accountability. We have a private hospital covering up a scandal, lying to the minister and the public, and beyond scrutiny of the parliament.  Now Minister Skinner wants to expand this lack of accountability to five new hospitals in NSW.

“The American experience with health care exposes the fallacy that private provision of health services is somehow more efficient or better quality. And there are even home health agencies for sale in the US. Premier Baird and Minister Skinner are blinkered if they think following America is the way to go with NSW’s public hospital system.

“This is a minister under pressure putting private profits and ideology before the public interest and people.

“The private sector is always going to be less transparent and less accountable and more motivated in turning a profit. Inevitably private operators will seek to provide services that are the most profitable, which is not necessarily in the broader public interest.”

NSW Health scandal: Special Commission of Inquiry needed or Minister should go  

MEDIA RELEASE: 2 August  2016

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW Government to support a Special Commission of Inquiry into off-protocol treatment of cancer patients in NSW after a damning final report into the issue released today revealed that the scandal has grown and St Vincent’s Hospital lied to the public.

“The Greens are calling on the NSW Premier to immediately establish a Special Commission of Inquiry to ensure this widening scandal is thoroughly investigated, with appropriate independence, protection of witnesses and powers to restore confidence in the NSW Health system,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“At every juncture in this investigation so far the extent of underdosing has grown and the number of patients affected has increased, so that we now have at least two doctors and three local health districts implicated.

“Minister Skinner has now also made it explicitly clear that St Vincent’s lied to the public and lied to the Ministry and that there are significant failures of middle and senior management which have led to this crisis.

“The Minister seemed remarkably unconcerned about this deceit and its unacceptable that those who have lied may still be in their roles at St Vincent’s.

“The Greens are also concerned that only now, almost 6 months after this scandal was exposed by the media, will the Minister be seeking written assurances from all Local Health Districts across NSW that underdosing has not been occurring elsewhere.

“This should have been one of the Minister’s first moves when this issue was brought to her attention in February this year.

“It is also utterly unacceptable that those patients and their families in Bathurst and Orange and across the Central West will have to wait another month at least to find out whether they have been impacted by this scandal.

“To avoid further cover-ups either Minister Skinner supports the establishment of Special Commission of Inquiry into this growing scandal or she should resign and Mike Baird should put a Minister in place that will.  That is what the community demands,” said Mr Buckingham.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

More to do on medicinal cannabis: Greens

MEDIA RELEASE: 1 August 2016

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today welcomed the NSW Governments announcement of increased access to medicinal cannabis, but called on Mike Baird to go further and allow doctors to proscribe medicinal cannabis to anyone with chronic pain and not just to seriously ill patients who have exhausted other options.

“After years of campaigning, the Greens welcome the NSW Government’s move to finally allow the prescription of medicinal cannabis to some seriously ill patients,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“This is an important first step in ensuring access to an effective medical treatment which provides relief from pain and suffering, but the Greens are concerned that access has been restricted only to seriously ill patients who have exhausted other options.”

“There is already overwhelming international evidence that medicinal cannabis can provide relief from conditions like nausea, pain and muscle spasms and the Greens will continue to campaign for medical cannabis to be available to all patients suffering chronic pain, and not just as a last resort.

“The Greens have bills before the New South Wales and Commonwealth parliaments that would achieve the necessary reform to allow greater access to provide relief from pain and suffering.”
Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

Labor weaken stance on public health

MEDIA RELEASE – 22 October 2015

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today slammed Labor’s Shadow Health Minister, Walt Secord for supporting the removal of a section of the Private Health Facilities Act 2007 that provided protection for the public health system from predatory behaviour by private health providers.

When the bed cap on private hospitals was lifted in 2007, the then Labor government inserted  Section 7(4)(c)(i) that empowered the Health Minister to refuse any application by private health providers that undermined the provision of viable, comprehensive and coordinated health services.  This power has not been used to date.

“The Greens are concerned that Labor has weakened its commitment to public health services by voting to remove this protection and leaving some public health services vulnerable to private encroachment,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Walt Secord should explain exactly why Labor supported the removal of this clause and weakened the powers of the minister to stop predatory encroachment by the private health industry that may make public health services unviable and lead to their closure?

“It’s hypocritical of Walt Secord to set himself up as the champion of public health services, but quietly side with the Liberals and the private health industry to remove a key protection and adopt a market based approach that risks our public health system, especially in regional NSW.

“This Bill removes any chance for planned provision of health services, allowing the private sector to cherry-pick patients out of the public sector in higher socio-economic status areas while the public sector is left to do the heavy lifting in disadvantaged communities.

“This is a free kick to the private health industry who will be able to move in on the public sector and set up shop wherever they choose.

“Given the clause had not yet been used, it makes no sense to remove it unless you want to weaken the ability of future governments to protect public health services from private encroachment.”

E-Cigarettes banned for kids and marketing restricted like tobacco

MEDIA RELEASE –24 June 2015

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said he was very pleased that the government had accepted amendments to strengthen the regulation of electronic cigarettes that will treat it like tobacco, but said the parliament needed to go further to ensure vaping in public places was covered by the Smoke Free Environment Act.

“It’s a great that not only will the sale of e-cigarettes to children will be banned, but the display, marketing and advertising of e-cigarettes will be heavily restricted, like tobacco,”  said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Most e-cigarettes contain highly addictive nicotine, so it is responsible to restrict their marketing to stop children or others becoming hooked on nicotine.

“Tobacco smokers who want to switch to e-cigarettes will still be allowed to do this, but aggressive marketing campaigns aimed at making e-cigarettes attractive and re-normalising smoking will now be banned.

“Unfortunately the parliament did not agree to amendments to regulate vaping under the Smoke Free Environment Act, which means it is still legal to smoke an e-cigarette on public transport, or in a cafe, in a school, or even in the parliamentary chamber.  This must be rectified in the near future.”

Contact: Max Phillips –0419 444 916

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