I NOTE Catherine Henry's excellent opinion piece on Saturday pointing out the failure of regulation of the aged care industry ('It's time to finally act on our aged care crisis', Newcastle Herald, 17/8).
What needs to be understood is that residential aged care is being forced to provide at least seven different types of service.
It is expected to be a home for some people who are otherwise unable to remain at home; to be a highly skilled medical and nursing facility for some of the most complex older people in our community; to be a specialist dementia service for a full range of different dementias, no matter how complex their behaviour; to provide long-term accommodation for younger people with traumatic brain injuries or neurodegenerative diseases; to provide long-term accommodation for older people with mental health issues; to provide rehabilitation for people not yet able to return home; and to provide respite care to give carers a break.
It is simply not possible to provide all these services in one facility with a single staffing mix, mostly inadequately trained for any one of them. The system is broken and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Smaller facilities, purpose built and staffed for each service, is the only answer that will meet the needs of baby boomers.
John Ward, Georgetown
Carrying on after coal
AT the Pacific Island Forum in Tuvalu, our Prime Minister refused to agree to the resolution to end coalmining by 2050.
Scott Morrison rightly states that coalmining is a major contributor to Australia's economy. Yes it is, but we must start thinking about other commodities that we can produce for both local consumption as well as for export. Had we signed up to the resolution we would have had 30 years to transition from coalmining and we could have avoided the obvious displeasure of the leaders of all pacific island nations. There are many possibilities to pursue alternate exports. For example, food - yes agriculture could become our leading export. The population in China and India will be crying out for clean, green vegetables and quality meat products.
Can you imagine those unsightly coalmines being replaced by picturesque fields of produce and paddocks of cattle? No more coal dust polluting the region. I hear you ask, what about the miners' jobs? Let's face it, mining is excavation and there will always be construction projects (roads, tunnels, dams, rail, etc) and we have 30 years to get organised. Come on Australia, acknowledge that coalmining will not last forever and we should be progressing with the rest of the world. We are currently 'the odd man out'.
Stan Keifer, Arakoon
Aged care in crisis
AS a 90-year-old I was naturally interested in the opinion article by Catherine Henry ('It's time to finally act on our aged care crisis', Herald, 17/8) and the revelations coming out of the royal commission into aged care.
I must state that I am lucky that I reside in a not-for-profit aged community that has been the best decision of my latter years. However, I urge everyone concerned about the care of the aged to read Ms Henry's article because the problems outlined are real and getting worse by the day as governments seem to consider that we aged are a passing problem that, if ignored, will just die and relieve them of our care. As an example of this attitude for any aged person to get an aged care package to enable them to be cared in the home we are placed on a waiting list of some 129,000 during this wait, according to the president of the AMA, some 16,000 of us will die before any care is provided. To the government this is a benefit, as the former treasurer Joe Hockey called us "leaners" on the budget, and our passing is a reduction on the budget.
All the evidence before the royal commission clearly shows that the prime cause of abuse of the aged in care is lack of funds as most providers are in it for the money so the only way to make a profit is cut care and neglect their clients.
The problem of aged care is going to multiply with the bulk of the baby boomers come through so I hope that the governments, state and federal, do as the royal commission and Ms Henry reports as it may be your mother that you have to put into care so I urge everyone to demand action to ensure that they are not being abused, as is so common today.
Frank Ward, Shoal Bay
Too late for changes
CAN someone please explain to me why a developer is entitled to submit a retrospective DA amendment? On Tuesday night Newcastle councillors will be voting on a request from a developer to approve unauthorised building works on the "Civic Park Apartments" site (formerly Glovers Lane Reserve). The developer has built a building outside of the approved DA and now is begging forgiveness? This is a blatant disregard for the DA process, a total disrespect for the local community and sets a precedent for what will happen in the future. Newcastle City Council needs to be strong on this matter and remind developers that they too must follow the same rules and guidelines as private residents.
Libby Helinski, Bar Beach
Clean your own yard first
I THOUGHT the criticism of Scott Morrison by other leaders at the Pacific Islands forum was a bit rich and showed how ungrateful they are for all the aid provided by Australia. Maybe Frank Bainimarama would be better to address his comments and energy to providing free democratic elections for his people instead of a racially-based dictatorship. And maybe Jacinda Ardern would be better to address the burgeoning crime rate in her own country while heading to the next election which she will surely lose. The Pacific leaders are using the climate change card to try and get more aid as they waste the money they are already receiving through bad management and corruption. Any further aid should be conditional on how it will be spent to benefit the people of these nations.
Sandy Buchanan, Largs
Talk is dangerous
OH, Mr Jones has received a warning following his thug-like suggestions of how to deal with Jacinda Ardern (because she spoke the truth) from his employers. Come on, guys. Do you want and intend to be seen as supporting Mr Jones' ratbag views? What has become of Australia that this kind of dangerous talk is allowed by the employer and the authorities (and even, almost incredibly, admired and respected by many among the masses)? Next we'll be hearing/reading that polls show great numbers of Australians believe that Trump is actually making America great.