Bad governments don’t just “waste millions of dollars” — mismanagement kills.
We live in one of the richest nations on Earth. But waiting times for one type of cancer treatment in Australia have blown out to the point where 2,500 people are dying every year. Why do we have money to waste on fruitless efforts to change the weather?
NEARLY 2500 cancer patients are dying prematurely each year due to poor provision of radiation therapy services, experts have estimated — with many more waiting far longer for the life-saving treatment than clinically recommended.
Graeme Morgan, former director of radiation oncology at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital, said it appeared state governments were attempting to give preference to other treatments such as chemotherapy due to the high upfront costs of installing the linear accelerator machines required to deliver radiation treatments.
Yet he said the result was that nationally, 15,600 Australian cancer patients were missing out on radiation therapy each year, and 2500 dying early — figures he described as “a disgrace”.
Thirty percent of one cancer patient group was missing out on starting radiation therapy within six weeks (ideally, it ought to be within 4 weeks):
“If you don’t treat patients in the recommended time, there’s maybe a 1 per cent drop in their likely survival for every two to three days that they miss out” beyond the recommended limit, Professor Morgan said.
What if we just said “No” to any more solar subsidies, or windfarm waste, and instead spent that money reducing waiting times and increasing lifespans?
Alan Moran of the IPA estimated that the 20% renewable energy scheme loaded a deadweight loss of 1.8 billion a year on the Australian economy [2009 IPA report]. That’s $6 billion spent from 2009 to now that could have been used to buy medical equipment and pay specialists (not to mention the money left over). How many lives did it cost us to make a symbolic statement on about “renewables” which achieved nothing for the environment. Where are our priorities?
Would our lives be improved more by spending $60 billion on a fibre optic network (cost: about $5,000+ per Australian household), or by installing enough linear accelerator machines and MRI’s so that patients have the peace of mind and possibly years of life to boot? I expect there would be some change too, like possibly enough to fund 50 years worth of medical research or so (oi!).
Our annual medical research budget is just $800 million. More »