Category Archives: Health

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

Greens urge minister to reopen Murwillumbah birthing service

Dawn walker and Jeremy Buckingham cropped more

MEDIA RELEASE - 19 June 2015

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has written to Health Minister Jillian Skinner urging her to intervene to reopen the Murwillumbah Hospital birthing services as soon as possible, saying Tweed Valley Mums and babies deserve this important service.  He will also raise the issue when Parliament resumes next week.

“Yesterday I wrote to Minister Skinner expressing my concern about the closure of the Murwillumbah Hospital birthing service and urging her to step in to ensure it re-opens as soon as possible,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“I will also be raising the issue in parliament to ensure it is well and truly on the government’s political radar.

“The requirement for mothers in labour to drive an extra half hour or more through cane fields to Tweed Hospital for birthing services has put a significant stress on the community and is a significant reduction in a very important health service.

“I acknowledge that there may be some difficulties in recruiting suitable medical staff for the service, but there seems to be some bureaucratic barriers to reopen the service that the Minister should put her attention to dismantling to get the service back up and running post haste.

“The Greens are also concerned that the review of the maternity and birthing unit may lead to a permanent downgrade of this important service.  I am urging Minister Skinner to meet with the ‘Friends of Tweed Valley Birthing Service’ as soon as possible and work to resolve the issue in a way that is satisfactory for the mothers and future babies of the Tweed Valley.

“As health spokesperson I’m proud to stand with the Tweed Valley community and local Greens representatives, Dawn Walker and Adam Guise in the campaign to retain this vital health service.

“We should be able to provide local birthing services in significant regional centres such as Murwillumbah, for what is such an important event for mothers, fathers and babies.”

 Read the letter to Minister Skinner here

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