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A health system in need for change


September 2020

Regretfully the coronavirus continuous to kill more people, to traumatise physically, psychologically and economically billions on our planet, in Australia and particularly in Victoria- currently an average of 20 deaths daily and over 200 cases, most in the privately owned homes for the aged. The stage 4 measures have slowed down the rate of explosion but the virus flames are spreading in country Victoria and interstate.

And whilst it is human to feel the pain, to talk and write about this catastrophe, to seek explanations and demand accountability from those responsible, and to also express a heartfelt thank you to nursing and medical staff, professional and volunteers, and so many others in the health services who fight the virus in the front lines, our first duty is what we are doing not just to patch up things but how to radically change the health system itself. A system that has been declared guilty by ordinary people, prominent medical professionals and scientists, the Royal Commissionís Interim Aged Care Report, the NSW judicial Ruby Princess investigation, and the evidence before a Victorian judicial and parliamentary committee into aged homes and the use of security guards in quarantined hotels.

The Federal and State health system has been found inadequate and unprepared to face up to the crisis, not by mistake or even omission Ė though these factors have contributed - but because of Government policies, which in essence programmed the aged peopleís homes and aged care in general, not for older people to live well and longer, but apparently how to finish off with them and their pension. One may very well say but this is cruel and inhuman. Yes it is, but compassion and humanity is lost in the pursuit for profit, or in the inability or weakness of even some well meaning authorities to deal with the root of this evil: the health and lives of people being in most cases in the hands of profit hungry, milking cow individuals and Ď institutionsí.

Yet public health, aged care, must become in fact the nationís most important service . publicly owned and managed, well funded, freely accessible and multilingual with well trained and paid staff. This should be a major strategic objective on the way to a new people friendly normal, along with immediate progressive reforms and strict implementation of protective measures.

Australia is not a poor country. It has all the human and material resources to achieve this. The much hoped for changes will not come about with wishes and appeals but through individual and collective action. Those who die and suffer are fellow citizens, friends and relatives. They are the ones who created the nationís wealth but for a few to enjoy. Working class and Ethnic Minority organisations whose members are carrying the heaviest of all burdens, should vigorously demand and campaign for such beneficial radical changes .

George Zangalis

Vice President Fair Go For Pensioners Coalition


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