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The cost of our care is headed offshore

Profits from large private aged care chains are heading offshore.
Profits from large private aged care chains are heading offshore. Bev Lacey

THERE are more of us living longer regrettably likely to need residential aged care.

We are fortunate to have many good nurses in our facilities battling low staff levels, cost-cutting and excessive paperwork.

One of the larger chains is looking to combine clinical and management roles of registered nurses on duty, further increasing the workload.

Opal Aged Care is one of our larger providers in the for profit sector here as part of a large chain owned 47.6% (worth close to half a billion dollars) by GH Gok Holdings of Singapore.

Opal's locally based managing director owns or controls 4.8%, worth close to $50million.

Opal's profit in 2016 was $35million.

I write as one with 20 years experience at the local coalface of aged care.

If our hard earned savings must be drawn upon to fund the costs of residential aged care, it is surely better to support our facilities in the voluntary not-for-profit sector run by service and religious organisations where resources stay in our community rather than departing offshore to enrich overseas tycoons.

Dr John O'Callaghan

 

Patient review: Health care at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital is exceptional.
Patient review: Health care at Coffs Harbour Base Hospital is exceptional. Trevor Veale

Hospital staff were faultless in care

RECENTLY I had an animal bite to my hand, which became quite a nasty infection and required a visit to the emergency department of Coffs Harbour Hospital.

I was seen quite promptly by the triage nurse and then attended to by a lovely doctor named Bec and nurse Emma who looked after me so well and arranged all the necessary tests, treatments and got me admitted to the surgical ward.

Words cannot express how grateful I am for the wonderful care I received from all the nurses and doctors.

It was just amazing.

So a huge thank you to everyone who looked after me from emergency through to theatre and back again.

From the moment I was admitted I felt so well cared for and thank you nurse Theresa for you fantastic welcome to the ward.

Vicki Hardaker

 

Australia remains heavily coal reliant.
Australia remains heavily coal reliant. agnormark

Change is in the wind, but not in coal

FINKEL proposed the Clean Energy (CET) policy.

It would have encouraged investors to build solar and wind plants.

This would increased the supply of electricity and, as a result, lowered the price of power.

And it would have reduced carbon emissions from the power industry enabling us to meet our 2030 emissions reduction target.

The CET ticked all of the boxes, all except one. The coal industry would sell coal.

The coal-mad crazies in the Coalition, the ones who guarantee Turnbull's position as PM, wouldn't accept the CET.

So Turnbull gave them the National Energy Guarantee, the NEG.

This will lower power prices, ensure a reliable supply of power and keep carbon emissions lowish, he claims.

But he is telling fibs.

We know power prices are high and rising because old coal-fired plants are being retired at a faster rate than new power plants are being built.

This means the supply of power is less than the demand for it and power prices keep rising.

Will the NEG increase the number of power plants built? No.

Solar and wind plant are less costly to build than coal and gas-fired plants, but the NEG discourages investment.

So how many of these plants will be built?

Not enough to replace ageing coal-fired plants, not enough to prevent soaring electricity prices and not enough for us to meet 2030 emissions reduction target.

Dr Michael Blockey

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