This is a letter to the Queensland Minister
for Health whom I had met and whom I had supplied with material when
she was shadow minister. The minister replied that this was a matter
for the federal government and that she had forwarded my letter to
the federal minister for aged care.
10 November 1998
The Hon xxxxxx MLA
Minister for Health
GPO Box 48
Further to my previous letter I now have additional information about aged nursing homes and particularly Sun Healthcare. This includes two hours of disturbing video, government reports and the Qui Tam court documents alleging that thousands have died from neglect.
I include with this letter a review of Sun's conduct and the allegations. You have some of the digital material and I will email the rest to you. I include here only some samples of the material referred to.
I ask that you bring this material to the attention of the minister responsible for aged care and also to xxxxxx. If there is any possibility of the government or the health department acting to evaluate licenses for Sun related facilities or to evaluate applications to run hospitals in which Sun has an interest then I would like to provide full copies.
STAFFING DETERMINED BY PROFIT:- I refer you to the file L-PressNov2/98.rtf. The awful things that are happening are a consequence of Sun's chairman's policy of "cutting the fat" in what any reasonable person would know was an already overstretched service. This is to increase profits and support Sun's massive corporate expansion. Sun has refused to employ nurses who are a nursing homes main expense. As individuals they do not generate profits. At the same time Sun has employed many thousands of "therapists". The services provided by these therapists are paid for by medicare. They are a lucrative source of income. Now that the system is to be funded differently vast numbers of these therapists are to lose their jobs.
WHO DECIDES TREATMENT:- This beautifully illustrates the way in which the care received by patients is determined by corporate profit priorities and not the needs of patients. The explanation offered by Sun is of course meaningless. The reality is that the need for therapy services is determined by the number of patients and the facilities. Sun has displayed a remarkable lack of "frankness and candour" in its dealings even with its board members and shareholders. We cannot believe them.
THE CORPORATE WORLD:- Included in the files are reports about Sun Healthcare which illustrate the corporate ethos. Business reports from Sun and other corporations are included to show the perceptual gap between the corporate controlling world and the world of those who care for the sick and aging. Genuine considerations about care do not intrude into the corporate world. Their prime concern is the profits which can be generated. They refer to practices and policies as if they had no other impact than that on the corporate bottom line. This is how they think.
I believe that all of the states should be acting together to rid Australia of this company.