Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:
To submit a letter to The Age, email [email protected] Please include your home address and telephone number.
AGED CARE IN THE PANDEMIC
We need ideas and action, not platitudes
Victorians, particularly Melburnians are tired of the platitudes “we’ve done it before we can do it again” and “hang in there Melbourne”. We are sick of the turnaround on policies such as the backflip on the arrangement that aged care workers should not work across multiple sites (“Single-site policy for aged care workers”, The Age, 1/6). We are mystified as to the lack of action on alternatives to quarantine hotels. We are angry and disgruntled at the confusing messages – no march for Anzac Day, but 70,000 at the MCG? It has been infuriating to watch the Victorian government persist in reinventing the wheel for inferior standard contact tracing and QR codes.
As for the vaccination rollout – words fail me. This virus has been with us for more than 15 months, what have our state and federal leaders been doing? JobKeeper and JobSeeker were important and successful first responses as the impact of the virus on Australians hit home, however if we have any chance of getting ahead of this virus and pre-empting problems (aged care workers still not yet vaccinated!) we need our governments to be far more proactive. We are over the platitudes, we need ideas, action and follow-through.
Felicity Browne, Kooyong
One site rule for workers unrealistic
Aged care is not like office work where if a worker is off sick, their work can be left for another day. Larger places may have a pool of casual workers to call on but few workers can afford to sit around waiting for the phone to ring. So workers unable to commit to regular shifts or without a permanent job need to work casually for more than one employer or for an agency. I think mandating that workers only work on one site is unrealistic unless homes are so well-staffed they can operate one short.
Helen Pereira, Heidelberg Heights
Lack of vaccination plan for staff the weak link
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety highlighted that staff issues in residential aged care have a significant impact on the quality of care provided. It also emphasised that aged care staff are some of the lowest paid in Australia. The COVID crisis has shone a spotlight on this sector, as most deaths and hospitalisations happened in residential aged care. The focus to protect aged care residents has been on ensuring staff members do not pass the virus to residents. We just found out there is no register of how many aged care staff have been vaccinated. There is no system to vaccinate staff and many have been told to go to a GP or vaccination clinic. Given most aged care staff are women with other caring responsibilities this is outrageous and is one of the weakest links in our fight to keep COVID out of residential aged care.
Rosemarie Speidel, Clifton Hill
Why are the elderly in care again at risk?
It’s incomprehensible that the Morrison government ignored health experts’ advice and changed a policy in November last year – implemented to safeguard and protect aged care residents – to allow staff to again work across multiple facilities. This practice increased the spread of the virus and contributed to the 655 deaths in Victoria in aged care. The public needs to ask this government to explain how it could again put our most vulnerable citizens in danger.
Margaret Bryceland, Truganina
Elderly paying the price of incompetent rollout
My mother is in a federally regulated, private aged care facility. I gave up waiting for the government to supply and administer a vaccination program and arranged for her to get the AstraZeneca vaccine with her GP in April. I believe she was the first person, resident or staff, to be vaccinated in her facility. The Pfizer vaccine was finally offered there on May 27, after COVID was again in the community. Once again we are seeing our most vulnerable being exposed to the same means of disastrous virus spread that happened last year. Our elderly family members are paying the price of an incompetent federal government.
Here’s my excuse
Your correspondent claims “there is no excuse” (Letters, 31/5) for not checking in with the Victorian QR code. My smart phone, a five-year-old Android, will not support the Service Victoria app. I know that the fact my phone is five years old tells you I am a senior citizen, but I am tech savvy and have attempted to upgrade the OS and am told this is not possible. The thing is QR code readers are not complicated and they have been around for a long time so surely the developers of this app could have made it more universal to reach the whole population who have any smart device. I want to do everything I can to aid virus tracking and would use QR if I could. The provision of written signing-in is not always available.
Trevor C. Morton, Elsternwick
Easy to check in
I often rely on my 11-year-old grandson to help with IT matters, or escalate to my IT professional son. Even I, technologically challenged as I am, can download and use, every time, the Service Victoria QR check-in app.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster
Sarah Henderson lamenting the lack of standards at the ABC is laughable (“ABC social media policy ‘woefully inadequate’“, The Age, 31/5). She states that some of the transgressions would be sackable offences in her days at the ABC. She conveniently fails to hold a mirror up to the ministerial standards of her own government. Their dubious behaviours would have several ministers sacked 25 years ago.
Steve Dixon, North Melbourne
We wouldn’t question a champion such as Naomi Osaka withdrawing from a tennis tournament with a physical injury. Clearly struggling with her mental demons, she sought some empathy from tournament organisers at the French Open – not to have to attend press conferences – and hit a brick wall. By their insistence, tournament organisers have now lost one of their biggest drawcards by her withdrawal. Everyone loses from this sad situation, when a little empathy might have found a way clear. We still have a long way to go in acknowledging mental illness, particularly in the world of competitive sport.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
Lack of evidence
Andrew Laird (Letters, 1/6) blames state government “incompetence” for the current lockdown without the slightest evidence of such. Is that the same Andrew Laird who blamed the Victorian government for the latest leak from hotel quarantine even though Patient Zero was quarantined in Adelaide?
Peter Campbell, Newport
A glacial vaccine rollout, people with a disability still waiting for the jab, a continuing hotel quarantine disaster and just 15 per cent of aged care workers inoculated. PM, by what measure do you say your government has been successful in battling COVID? It’s fine to proclaim Australians would rather be here than anywhere else, but if we weren’t girt by sea, we’d undoubtedly be buggered. And no, you can’t claim that geographical blessing as Coalition policy.
Matt Dunn, Leongatha
Pay anything from $2895 to $3695 for a Peloton bike plus a $59-a-month subscription fee to ride indoors with someone yelling at you. Versus my trusty old pushy outdoors on the wonderful bike paths we have in Melbourne. I know which one I choose (even in lockdown).
Ann Banham, Williamstown
I’ve kept to the five-kilometre radius so my observation that 50 per cent of residents don’t correctly wear masks may not apply to other postcodes. It is very disappointing my local residents don’t abide by the COVID rules. Let’s hope others do. There are also “coffee drinkers” who add to the numbers not wearing masks.
Howard J. Brownscombe, Brighton
The fiasco in aged care has to be sheeted home to John Howard and his fixation on creating opportunities for private enterprise. The “rules” are so loose as to be laughable, including the exploitative wages that effectively force staff to work at more than one location.
Tony Haydon, Springvale
Let Plibersek lead …
Like some tired old aristocracy, the federal ALP is more concerned with infighting than with winning the next election. As has been repeatedly pointed out by commentators, including Jenna Price (“Labor is wasting Plibersek’s talents”, The Age, 1/6), Tanya Plibersek would easily defeat Scott Morrison, but following the strictures of ALP culture Albanese cannot be replaced because it is his turn to be leader and alternative candidates have to wait for their turn after the next election loss. If Albanese cared about the future of Australia he would copy the example of former New Zealand Labour leader, Andrew Little, who realised he had no hope of winning the 2017 election and handed over the leadership to Jacinda Ardern who then became Prime Minister. It is time for Albanese to let Tanya run.
Di Cousens, Mount Waverley
… to relieve the boredom
Jenna Price is spot-on. Plibersek must lead Labor to the next election or we will all die of boredom. At present each of the major parties is stuck with the uninspiring leadership of mediocre, and sometimes very nasty, men.
Tanya please step up, change the narrative and give us something to look forward to.
Brian Derum, Fitzroy North
Failing next generation
The myriad impacts of climate change on life on Earth are mind-numbing. The quantification of heat-related deaths (“Deadly climate change burden”, The Age, 1/6) just adds another misery to the pile. Last week Federal Court Justice Mordecai Bromberg ruled in a case brought by children trying to stop the extension of a coal mine near Gunnedah. Of the “plausible evidence” presented to him on the forecast climate-related devastation, he stated: “None of this will be the fault of nature itself. It will largely be inflicted by the inaction of this generation of adults, in what might fairly be described as the greatest inter-generational injustice ever inflicted by one generation of humans upon the next.” I applaud the children for bringing the action but feel shame they had to do so.
Lynn Frankes, Kew
Testing the key
COVID testing delays are thankfully no longer an issue, now it seems the lag is with the people. Please, if you have any symptoms, assume it is COVID, get tested early, isolate and by the next day be thankful for your negative result, be pleased for the community service you have performed and be thankful to all the people behind the testing. This variant appears to transmit and cause reinfection at twice the rate of the variants from last year. The exponential mathematics is against us and we need to reduce the lag. It is up to all of us and blaming governments will not fix this problem.
Lou Piscopo, Ascot Vale
Do the right thing
As we have now withdrawn, or are in the process of withdrawing, Australian troops from Afghanistan and closing the embassy in Kabul, I hope and trust that the Afghan citizens who provided our troops and other personnel invaluable assistance as translators during our occupation there will be brought to Australia with their families. Their ongoing safety must be paramount given the services provided to our troops and representatives and which now make them targets for retaliation, persecution, threats and the reality of violence and death.
The Prime Minister must make public the government’s position on this situation and do the decent, honourable and moral thing and bring these people here and as soon as possible.
Linda Shaw, Braddon, ACT
Back to square one
Far from resolving the matter, Christian Porter’s decision to end his defamation case against the ABC takes us back to where we were earlier this year. It seems that both Porter and the ABC have squibbed the opportunity to test their claims in the Federal Court. But rather than moving on, they have already recommenced their war of words in which they both claim victory.
This unsatisfactory situation will only add to the animosity between the Coalition and the public broadcaster.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills
Restore cricket’s status
Now that Cricket Australia has a permanent CEO, is there any chance of Test cricket and the Sheffield Shield being restored to their former position of pre-eminence? The current situation, I know in part brought on by COVID, seems to rate 20/20 as more important, and we have had far too few Test matches, after a wonderfully exciting series against India. We also have a ludicrous Sheffield Shield system with half the season before the Big Bash and half after it. New chief Nick Hockley will, I hope, devise some method of restoring prestige to the emasculated Shield, and restore the Test program to its rightful position. And while he’s on the job could he not give the women’s team some Test matches, as well as the one-day and 20/20 stuff – they are worth it.
Peter Valder, Toorak
It is now well publicised that recent COVID outbreaks have come from quarantine hotels. There is a pattern of people going into the hotel COVID-free, catching it while in the hotel and spreading the virus after they leave. They may get a negative test result when they depart, yet become infectious at a time when they are (understandably) celebrating their liberty by circulating widely in the community. Would it be so difficult for them to self-isolate at home, or remain within five kilometres of their home for another seven days after leaving hotel quarantine? Surely this would mitigate the risk of further lockdowns without waiting for a more appropriate quarantine facility to be built?
Nick Vrisakis, West Footscray
AND ANOTHER THING …
Craving those sweet, sweet double doughnuts again.
Vikki O’Neill, Ashburton
One good thing about wearing masks, save money on lipstick.
Sue Cale, Trafalgar
After lockdown Mk3 we lost the sourdough recipe, tired of Nordic noir and threw out the jigsaws. Lockdown Mk4? Completely over it.
Margaret Skeen, Point Lonsdale
Of course reinstating funding for the single home policy is locking the gate after the horse has bolted … no matter how Greg Hunt wants to spin it.
Marie Nash, Balwyn
With COVID-19, we should listen to real doctors such as Norman Swan, not spin doctors such as Morrison and Hunt.
Stephen Baldwin, Frankston
Mr Morrison, you had two jobs: Vaccination and protecting aged care residents. Might be time to bring out the hopes and prayers.
Lauryn Paget, Mount Evelyn
Psst, Scomo, it’s vaccinate, not vacillate.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
With great respect, Mr Hunt, the vaccine rollout is a shambles.
Max Nankervis, Middle Park
Free regional Victoria. Bring back the Ring of Steel.
Ross Ogilvie, Woodend
Richard Colbeck, where the bloody hell are you?
Bob Whiteside, North Warrandyte
I stopped waiting for the most vulnerable 1a and 1b people to get vaccinated. Realising that would take until about mid-2022, I had my first shot at the weekend.
John Johnson, Richmond
The federal government might invest more in quarantine facilities if they were fossil-fuelled and used COVID capture and storage.
Ken Machin, Grovedale
No loo paper for the anti-jabbers. That ought to flush them out.
Barbara Abell, Essendon
Marcus Bontempelli is the Joe DiMaggio of Australian Rules. Grace in action.
Bill Cleveland, Kew
The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article