15 January, 2009

Super size Auckland

Now I have stated my opinion of this idea before here and here.

Now the Herald says that Auckland will be one huge city with a super mayor from next year.

You heard me. One city stretching for Wellsford to Pukekohe, population 1.4 million.

Now the Herald may well have jumped the gun on this but now they are saying that their readers think it is a good idea.

It does have some merit but this kitty's first impulse is to take to the harbour bridge with a hack saw.

Auckland City in its current nearly 20 year old incarnation still hasn't sorted out the infrastructure problems it had 20 years ago. Where as North Shore, Manukau and Waitakere have largely sorted out the problems they inherited and are working on the ones that have developed since. Rodney hasn't fully recovered from being a basket case a few years back and Papakura and Franklin are still mostly rural.

The question is not whether this is the best solution for Auckland but how keen the rest of the country are on having a big tail to wag a small dog.

13 January, 2009

Save us from idiot farmers

Just another drowning - a 3 year old girl and her little brother wander away from their home. Their mother realises they are gone and finds them - in the farm effluent pond not far from the house. She got both out but it was too late for the little girl. read more

Just another inattentive mother?

Not in this case. Mothers with morning sickness are allowed time off to throw up. Mothers are allowed toilet breaks too, believe it or not.

Unfenced pond? Well yes and no, it was fenced, sort of. It wasn't in the same paddock as the house but it was a normal farm fence and the gate was normally left open.

The problem in this case is that the house was unfenced. The farmer (the employer, not the parent) hadn't gotten round to it.

Now I have yet to hear of a farmer's wife that would put up with having an unfenced house. A fence is essential for keeping the kids in and the stock out.

Now there is talk of legislation all because of a farmer who promised a fence in a contract with his share milker but didn't get around to it.

Blame the wet winter or calving if you like - the farmer does. The point is that now one child is dead and another is still at risk because of a job left undone for months.

An unfenced farm dwelling is an accident waiting to happen.

And happen it did.

07 January, 2009

Appointment, please, but not on Tuesday

Patient 'no-shows' a waste, say doctors

Thousands of operations and specialist appointments are cancelled every year because patients fail to show up, district health board figures show.
Senior doctors say patients who cancel on the day or simply fail to arrive are a huge drain on the cash-short public system.
But they have stopped short of calling for fines or sending errant patients to the back of waiting lists, which would add expensive layers of bureaucracy and put lives at risk.
Instead, health boards are looking at innovative ways of ensuring patients turn up, such as allowing them to book their own appointments.
more here

Well duh!

It is more than time district health boards looked at this from the patients perspective.

The reality for the patient is they have be referred. They don't know when or even if they will get an appointment. It could be next week, it could be next year despite the rhetoric of waiting lists being capped at 4 months.

When the appointment finally arrives the patient is expected drop everything to attend, regardless of the amount of notice given. Sometimes this is only days. My friend, WOF guy, even had a call from the hospital asking why he hadn't confirm he would be at the booked appointment when he hadn't yet received the letter informing him of it. The letter finally arrived the day before the appointment time.

When middle child received her last specialist appointment, not only did she have to miss one of her rare, much enjoyed school swimming lessons (quite a disruption even for a high functioning Autistic) but my secretary had to arrange cover for the volunteer job she was booked to do that day to take her. Any other day of the week would have been more convenient. Even better would have been a date and time nearly 12 months earlier when the specialist check was due.

Reality is that patients have lives and it is unrealistic to expect people to drop everything just because they are waiting for an appointment from the public health system.

05 January, 2009

Dance of the Summer Sunscreen

I'll start by stating the obvious.

I am a white cat.
I am a very white cat.
I am whiter than freshly fallen snow.

OK, since I live in the 'winter less' north I have never seen or met snow so I will put it another way.

I am so white that at night under Auckland's light polluted skies I attract moths.

I am seriously, luminescently white.

That is my problem. That and the depleted ozone layer.

I get sun burnt, on my ears to be exact.

Now the vet has this sunscreen that is supposed to be put on my ears and nose
It is a thick greasy titanium- zinc ointment specially formulated for cows and horses.

I hate it.

I've gotten very good at avoiding it. I recognise the tube on sight. Sunscreen application time looks like a scene from an old British comedy Benny Hill. Ending with me heading over the fence with four people and a tube of sunscreen and camcorder in tow.

Cue: Yakety Sax.

My only saving grace is so far I have avoided getting caught (in a halfway decent shot that is) on video and have thus escaped the ignominy of youtube fame.

Mostly I have learned to keep my head out of the sun but sometimes I like do a little baking and get caught out.

The problem with that is that healing sunburn gets itchy and sometimes I can't resist scratching.
Like I did yesterday.

Scratched sunburn bleeds, which leads to people noticing, which in turn leads to this morning's ambush - with sunscreen.

I was just settling down for a short snooze on a warm lap when I was grabbed and had this runny stuff slathered all over my newly scabbed ears at a thickness only the manufacturer would be happy with.

I am not a happy kitty!

Curse you ozone hole!