Pretty crook

Saturday 4 November 2006 10:58 AM

Recently I spent an unanticipated 24 hours as an inpatient in a Victorian country hospital. I won't name the town, and I doubt that it matters. I came away feeling healthier, but also angrier. The dedication of the medical, nursing and other staff was as good as I've encountered in Melbourne hospitals - if not better. But the general staff morale was another matter, and some openly admitted as much. The general age and condition of most of the buildings and equipment bespoke decades of underfunding and disregard. Most areas were gloomy, and workspaces cramped and inadequate. I observed that no Metropolitan hospital would be allowed to reach such a state, which was news to no one.

In recent years we've had no lack of spin, accusation and counter-spin on the subject of health and hospitals, at federal and state levels. But to my observation at least neither side of federal or state politics is overly interested in country hospitals. It would be good to hope that a few bob from the pre-election fire sale might be directed to granting country Victorians the standard of hospital facilities Melburnians take for granted. But I'm dreaming, aren't I ...