Monday, November 2, 2009

Calling Anna Bligh . . .

Anna, do you personally think it's right for the Queensland Government to slug its workers (even the likes of cleaners, clerks and nurses), with individual bills for tens of thousands of dollars, when they pursue their rights under anti-discrimination law? And if you don't think it's right, what are you going to do about it? And if you've got amnesia on the subject (30% satisfaction polls are stressful), here's a quote from Kay Dibben's Courier Mail article (July 2008, 16 months ago), to remind you . .

In the third case, a Royal Brisbane Hospital cleaner, who had studied medicine overseas and had worked as a theatre wardsman interstate, claimed race and age discrimination after his applications for permanent theatre positions were rejected. Queensland Health has paid Corrs Chambers Westgarth $18,000 so far, with the matter still to be heard in the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal.

. . . so I look forward to your timely and compassionate written response - as even though Kay Dibben's caustic comments didn't (quite obviously), shame you into doing the right thing, I now think it's time you did.

You may remember the campaign by a friend of mine, and myself, for safer school transport (we were mentioned in the Australian Federal Parliament) - because your friend Steve Bredhauer certainly would. We slept and camped on his office steps in the run up to the 2001 State election (with an article about us, and our photos, in the last the Sunday Mail before polling). We also meticulously aimed our non-existent resources (e.g. email and phone calls), towards the local media in your more sensitive seats. Why? Because me (being politically naive at the time), asked an ALP old-timer (and very good friend of mine), about the most powerful and persuasive route to take. He stroked his chin for a couple of seconds, looked thoughtful, then said "Go for their marginals . . . "

So how many public servants do you have in your marginals Anna? Just wondering . . .

CC - Des Houghton (Courier Mail)

CC - Every member of the Qld State Parliament.

CC - Numerous other personal contacts & Qld email lists (please pass on)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Letter to the Editor, 82 words:

"Work for the Queensland Government? Think you have rights? Forget it. Anna Bligh's squeezing tens of thousands of dollars out of any employee with the nerve to fight their corner, hiring high-priced lawyers, dragging them through hearing after hearing, then sticking them with the bill. Everyone from cleaners to clerks are affected, you can't be too poor for our Premier. There's a dark and nasty streak beneath the show biz smile. Check out to find out more."

Background to those comments HERE and HERE

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Courier Mail, Saturday 24th October 2009

Just click on the pic to enlarge it, and make it readable.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Queensland Health, stop hiding . . .


I note you have completely avoided answering any of the serious questions I raised with you in my letter of 15th October 2009, and I've therefore attached it again for your convenience.

Firstly, if you need any further information from me (re the questions in my email 15th October 2009), please put each of your questions in dot point form, and I guarantee they will be answered within 24 hours.

Secondly, in view of my previous experiences with Queensland Health (and the current experience of some Queensland Health Employees), I would not go into any "Meeting" with management unless accompanied by a phalanx of lawyers, and I'm not willing to make that kind of outlay right now (though I guess your own pockets are deep re legal avenues, attached as they are to the public purse).

You have 10 questions from me in all. None of them are complex, and all of them (except the first, which you have much further detail on anyway), involves an over-arching policy issue.

Please respond to/answer those questions as I have requested (in the letter attached to my email of 15th October 2009, and attached again here). They are still outstanding, and will formally remain so until Queensland Health answers them in writing.

And lastly? Please don't continue to suggest I need "Counselling." The only remedy I need is direct answers, to direct questions.

Regards, Kim

Monday, October 19, 2009

Qld nurses, STILL punching bags?

Nurses at The Park stop work over lack of security

. . . and here's the comment to that story I submitted to The Courier Mail:

Queensland Health is a disgrace. I'm a mental health nurse (RN), and I work in an acute psychiatric unit a stone's throw from The Park Centre for Mental Health (they often send us their too-disturbed patients). One of our very experienced, gentle and completely professional male nurses is going through hell (and huge legal fees), because he was accused of "Assaulting" a large, violent male patient who had first thumped him, and many others. He was told (in writing), that he wasn't entitled to "Natural justice" and forbidden from talking to his colleagues. Further, no nurse manager even bothered to speak to him first before he was suspended. As a result, the unit is now extremely dangerous because after seeing what has happened to their colleague, no-one is willing to restrain violent patients. Further still, even though management are aware of this ongoing and dangerous situation, they're ignoring it and refusing to do anything about it.

Problem solving for Q Health . . .

While the above might be usual Queensland Government tactics, here's some real solutions . . . to all the rot that's currently happening in a Q Health acute psychiatric unit . . .

  • Scrap the internal Q Health investigation of the nurse who was accused of assaulting a patient, in the process of restraining a large, violent man who had first thumped the nurse, and multiple others. It is now (2 months later), far too compromised by internal politics and a completely amateurish approach (to what is, after all, a criminal matter). Hand everything over to the police (including all documentation to date), and let them deal with it. Further, as the police (one would assume), know none of the protagonists from a bar of soap, it's far more like they'll take a completely fair and impartial approach. In fact, the police should have been called in from the outset - which reminds me (after witnessing this debacle), if I'm ever accused of "Assaulting" a patient by Q Health, the first number I'll call is triple O . . .

  • Appoint independent, outside investigators to the case of the nurse manager who (allegedly), either through malice or incompetence, failed to pass on vital information about an enrolled nurse who was suspended (re allegations of wrongdoing), e.g. that they had been formally cleared by patient safety services - with the nurse manager then (allegedly), taking further action which led to the acquisition of more witness statements against the enrolled nurse, and formal notification the Queensland Nursing Council (both re the already dis-proved allegations of wrong doing). Consider standing this nurse manager down from their current role while the investigation is underway, to prevent Q Health incurring any further (potential), liability for their actions.

  • Issue a policy statement which makes it clear all psychiatric patients travelling in Q Health cars must do so with a driver (obviously), AND another nurse - or possibly two other nurses, depending on the acuity/risk level of the patient.

  • Issue a policy statement which makes it clear nurses are not to be threatened with disciplinary action (which includes mentioning the Code of Conduct), when they voice safety concerns in relation to carrying out a directive. Their safety concerns must be investigated and addressed first.

  • Appoint independent, outside investigators to survey staff re potential harassment and bullying, publish the results and make recommendations.

  • Appoint independent, outside investigators to survey staff about their current refusal/extreme reluctance to restrain violent patients, publish the results and make recommendations.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Qld Health, I've paid my dues . . .

You can feel the fear in Queensland Health, and I certainly can. But you don't have to "Do" anything in particular to be a "Target." Queensland Health (and the public sector in general), targets just because it can. And like any bully, the only thing it responds to is someone standing up to them, and showing them they can be an even bigger b*****d. It doesn't matter how compliant, how good, and/or how quiet staff try to be (to protect themselves), they're still not safe.

I've been for coffee (a couple of times), with Susan Moriarty (solicitor and industrial law specialist), and the impression I have about the systemic corruption, dishonesty and horrifying viciousness within Queensland Health (and the public sector generally), just about makes my hair stand on end. Often, staff think it's their fault, in that if they'd done something differently, or maybe acted in another way, it wouldn't have happened to them - and they're a complete, quivering mess. But they're all just heads of corn, cut down by the same undiscriminating scythe. It's not personal, it's just one extremely vicious and completely dysfunctional system. It's also very scary for people to realise that's the kind of place they exist within, as you generally assume other people will treat you decently if you do the right thing. It's a bit like suddenly realising "Mummy" and "Daddy" are actually complete and utter monsters. In my own case, the unravelling of my "Normal" expectations was a very rocky, and quite eye popping journey - but now, there's no going back, as (to steal the words of Anastacia), I've Paid my Dues . . .

So the point is, my approach doesn't make people less safe, it protects them. The hereto un-touchable emperor is on notice, and just like any creature that thrives in the dark, it can't stand the light of day - and crawls away as fast as it can can from the smallest sliver of sunlight . . .