The four of us came away from the visit outside NSW Parliament House feeling very positive. The feedback from people was 99% positive with many expressing their wishes to know more.
We took a thousand leaflets and petitions with us, and returned with only fifty. We were amazed at people’s knowledge on the problems within the NSW Health system and we had many people express their unhappiness and in some cases their bitterness as quite a few had lost relatives and friends through bad outcomes in the hospital system.
Too many homeless. Too many of them with obvious mental health problems.... one especially who had an artificial leg...visible because of the khaki board shorts he had on...carried all his belongings about him... I get to go home to a bed...
(L2R ..Veronica (my eldest sister, Melissa (eldest daughter and good friend Carmel)
he offered to sign our petition with all of the 50 names he is known by...but lost patience after 2 and swore the beejesus out of Parliament house behind all of us ...and no doubt with just cause. Poor bugger was highly intelligent and mad as a hatter.
Our posters were strung out and fitted right along the front fence of the Parliament. Security (to our surprise) allowed us to attach them to the railings with cable ties, which the police said they normally never do (and even helped us with the cable ties...maybe some of their loved ones have also been treated badly by the medical system)
We were there from 8.30am till 3pm in the afternoon and were able to hand out our leaflets and petitions to many of the politicians who came into Parliament. The funny part was how these very serious and "heavy" dudes walked past us three abreast at times into the hallowed halls, looking sooo important in their suits - all paid for by the NSW taxpayers...lest they forget.
Towards the end of the day, realising that not one Labour Party politician had come out the front to speak to us, although we were very visible, we asked the Duty Sergeant at Arms to take our material and petition to Ms Reba Meagher (our absent health minister) and give it to her and seek acknowledgement. This is something that is now her Parliamentary duty to do.
Mr Andrew Stoner (my MP) came outside and joined us a couple of times and showed us his support, also Melinda Palvey National Party MLC.
Mr Andrew Constance the Member for Bega spoke to me about the problem alerting the NSW Government to the problem with Dr Reeves (Bega Doctor) which he had raised in Parliament six months ago and that nothing was done about Dr Reeves. Mr Constance is the Shadow Minister for Disability Services and I was able to speak with him about the dangerous position of those in hospitals who have severe disabilities and the lack of adequate care the hospital system provides for them. He and his secretary were aware of this dangerous situation which those severely disabled face at every hospital visit. But that is just another issue
On the day we were outside Parliament House the Special Commission of Inquiry into Acute Care services in NSW Public hospitals was being held again at RNSH. Very important and disturbing issues were being raised at RNSH during the day.
We were very surprised to see that Mr. Mathew Daley Chief Executive, Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service and Ms Mary Dowling, Manager of the Professional Practice Unit Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service were not at RNSH but instead had arrived outside NSW Parliament House to speak with us at about 11.30am. Ms Dowling has been involved with investigation of my husband’s case inside RNSH and was the first from RNSH to contact me last year.
I was asked could I come inside to speak with them but declined as my place was out the front, speaking to those people who had come to show support and who were passing by. I said I would meet with them later when we were closing down, and was surprised that Ms Dowling agreed to wait. He and she are sooo important for something or other. She came down a couple of times to see if we were ready, but in the end I said I would meet with her at three, in a coffee shop across the road rather than inside the office they were going to use.
(I am in the black top and morone skirt...)
We spoke with Mr. Daly and Ms Dowling at some length but left unsure of exactly what it was they wanted to speak to us about. It was very vague.
We would have assumed that their place should have been at RNSH that day as issues of malnutrition (they spend $3 a day feeding public patients in NSW hospitals and many are malnourished even after only short stays) and the death of Vanessa Anderson were being discussed.
It may have had something to do with the fact that RNSH name and the actions of the hospital and some staff were spread right along the front of Parliament house.
We are curious about their presence and felt they were quite determined for us to go inside to speak with them and very disappointed when we chose not to. We were all uneasy about this.
My daughter Melissa, my eldest sister Veronica, who travelled from Brisbane and a good friend Carmel from Port Macquarie accompanied me and as mentioned we felt that the day achieved what it was meant to achieve. We know now that every MP who attended Parliament that day was aware of what had been done to my husband, whether they came out to see us or not. Nobody can now say that they did not know. Many Parliamentary staff took the time in their lunch breaks to read our literature and some spent quite some time going right along the posters reading all of them.