I have recently spoken to an Australian doctor who told me things that are going on in Australian medicine and then told me that if it were revealed that he had told me these things, he could be sacked.
Since he was telling me about the ways in which Australians are missing out on first class medical care, there is a Stalinist aspect to this. Those people who are in the best position to tell the truth about medical care are, by the terms of their employment contracts, not permitted to say it. The truth is not good so the state, instead of making medical care better, outlaws revelations about it.
The truth the doctor is not allowed to tell centres around this. His unit – and to protect him I will not even say which state he is in – does bone marrow transplants. He and his fellow doctors could do “at least” twice as many as they do at the moment. But the necessary money is not made available. The beds and the money to pay for the other staff are both limited by the government so the ability of the doctors to do these life-saving procedures is circumscribed.
Does anyone suffer as a result?
Yes. People who should have marrow transplants are kept waiting. He has known a number of those who have been waiting for transplants have relapses. After they have relapses, they are often weakened to the extent that they could not take the chemotherapy that is part of the process. So inevitably some of them die. In this business, delay can mean death. The system causes delay so inevitably it must cause unnecessary deaths.
“It is rationing,” he said. He remarked that no politician would admit it was rationing but that is what it amounted to. No politician will tell people the truth. No doctor is allowed to.