Tag Archives: need

We need to raise taxes to fund our care needs | Letters

The obvious answer to saving the NHS is to train and recruit more care workers in both the NHS and social care – which would not only (alone) meet current crying care needs but provide good professional human-interface jobs in the coming hi-tech age (killing two currently worrying birds with one stone). This does, however, mean raising more public revenue by getting people to pay more taxes.

But to achieve this we must first counter the common idea that providing something that people want, and raising the revenue to provide it by appropriate pricing, is a clear case of “positive wealth creation” if done in the private sector – not only creating wealth for the sector in question (which may be private healthcare, as in the US) but stimulating activity in the rest of the economy – but is simply a “negative burden” if done in the public sector.

Providing separate healthcare budgets, linking specific tax increases to specific public care improvements (disinterring what we need to pay for care from more general taxation), which I think Chris Ham is recommending, may be the best way to get people to focus on the real issues. But until the debilitating myth of private good / public doubtful is scotched, we will not reach square one in solving our current healthcare crisis.
Bernard Cummings
Erith, Kent

It is now time for all opposition parties to combine to bring maximum pressure on the government to end the ever increasing and costly privatisation of the NHS and increase general taxation to pay for it. I think most people would agree to a tax that was hypothecated for the NHS and social care. Part of the problem the NHS is experiencing is due to bed blocking caused by such large cuts to social care.
Valerie Crews
Beckenham, Kent

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

We need to raise taxes to fund our care needs | Letters

The obvious answer to saving the NHS is to train and recruit more care workers in both the NHS and social care – which would not only (alone) meet current crying care needs but provide good professional human-interface jobs in the coming hi-tech age (killing two currently worrying birds with one stone). This does, however, mean raising more public revenue by getting people to pay more taxes.

But to achieve this we must first counter the common idea that providing something that people want, and raising the revenue to provide it by appropriate pricing, is a clear case of “positive wealth creation” if done in the private sector – not only creating wealth for the sector in question (which may be private healthcare, as in the US) but stimulating activity in the rest of the economy – but is simply a “negative burden” if done in the public sector.

Providing separate healthcare budgets, linking specific tax increases to specific public care improvements (disinterring what we need to pay for care from more general taxation), which I think Chris Ham is recommending, may be the best way to get people to focus on the real issues. But until the debilitating myth of private good / public doubtful is scotched, we will not reach square one in solving our current healthcare crisis.
Bernard Cummings
Erith, Kent

It is now time for all opposition parties to combine to bring maximum pressure on the government to end the ever increasing and costly privatisation of the NHS and increase general taxation to pay for it. I think most people would agree to a tax that was hypothecated for the NHS and social care. Part of the problem the NHS is experiencing is due to bed blocking caused by such large cuts to social care.
Valerie Crews
Beckenham, Kent

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

We need to raise taxes to fund our care needs | Letters

The obvious answer to saving the NHS is to train and recruit more care workers in both the NHS and social care – which would not only (alone) meet current crying care needs but provide good professional human-interface jobs in the coming hi-tech age (killing two currently worrying birds with one stone). This does, however, mean raising more public revenue by getting people to pay more taxes.

But to achieve this we must first counter the common idea that providing something that people want, and raising the revenue to provide it by appropriate pricing, is a clear case of “positive wealth creation” if done in the private sector – not only creating wealth for the sector in question (which may be private healthcare, as in the US) but stimulating activity in the rest of the economy – but is simply a “negative burden” if done in the public sector.

Providing separate healthcare budgets, linking specific tax increases to specific public care improvements (disinterring what we need to pay for care from more general taxation), which I think Chris Ham is recommending, may be the best way to get people to focus on the real issues. But until the debilitating myth of private good / public doubtful is scotched, we will not reach square one in solving our current healthcare crisis.
Bernard Cummings
Erith, Kent

It is now time for all opposition parties to combine to bring maximum pressure on the government to end the ever increasing and costly privatisation of the NHS and increase general taxation to pay for it. I think most people would agree to a tax that was hypothecated for the NHS and social care. Part of the problem the NHS is experiencing is due to bed blocking caused by such large cuts to social care.
Valerie Crews
Beckenham, Kent

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

We need to raise taxes to fund our care needs | Letters

The obvious answer to saving the NHS is to train and recruit more care workers in both the NHS and social care – which would not only (alone) meet current crying care needs but provide good professional human-interface jobs in the coming hi-tech age (killing two currently worrying birds with one stone). This does, however, mean raising more public revenue by getting people to pay more taxes.

But to achieve this we must first counter the common idea that providing something that people want, and raising the revenue to provide it by appropriate pricing, is a clear case of “positive wealth creation” if done in the private sector – not only creating wealth for the sector in question (which may be private healthcare, as in the US) but stimulating activity in the rest of the economy – but is simply a “negative burden” if done in the public sector.

Providing separate healthcare budgets, linking specific tax increases to specific public care improvements (disinterring what we need to pay for care from more general taxation), which I think Chris Ham is recommending, may be the best way to get people to focus on the real issues. But until the debilitating myth of private good / public doubtful is scotched, we will not reach square one in solving our current healthcare crisis.
Bernard Cummings
Erith, Kent

It is now time for all opposition parties to combine to bring maximum pressure on the government to end the ever increasing and costly privatisation of the NHS and increase general taxation to pay for it. I think most people would agree to a tax that was hypothecated for the NHS and social care. Part of the problem the NHS is experiencing is due to bed blocking caused by such large cuts to social care.
Valerie Crews
Beckenham, Kent

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

We need to raise taxes to fund our care needs | Letters

The obvious answer to saving the NHS is to train and recruit more care workers in both the NHS and social care – which would not only (alone) meet current crying care needs but provide good professional human-interface jobs in the coming hi-tech age (killing two currently worrying birds with one stone). This does, however, mean raising more public revenue by getting people to pay more taxes.

But to achieve this we must first counter the common idea that providing something that people want, and raising the revenue to provide it by appropriate pricing, is a clear case of “positive wealth creation” if done in the private sector – not only creating wealth for the sector in question (which may be private healthcare, as in the US) but stimulating activity in the rest of the economy – but is simply a “negative burden” if done in the public sector.

Providing separate healthcare budgets, linking specific tax increases to specific public care improvements (disinterring what we need to pay for care from more general taxation), which I think Chris Ham is recommending, may be the best way to get people to focus on the real issues. But until the debilitating myth of private good / public doubtful is scotched, we will not reach square one in solving our current healthcare crisis.
Bernard Cummings
Erith, Kent

It is now time for all opposition parties to combine to bring maximum pressure on the government to end the ever increasing and costly privatisation of the NHS and increase general taxation to pay for it. I think most people would agree to a tax that was hypothecated for the NHS and social care. Part of the problem the NHS is experiencing is due to bed blocking caused by such large cuts to social care.
Valerie Crews
Beckenham, Kent

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

The Grenfell survivors don’t need our pity – they need homes | Deborah Orr

John Green, the psychologist who leads the mental health response to the Grenfell fire, says the disaster has transformed the local NHS trust into “the largest trauma service in the UK”. It’s not just the survivors of the fire who are affected. Many people in the community are haunted by what they saw, smelled, felt, heard, learned and imagined that appalling night and in those dreadful following days.

The singularity of Grenfell is that those affected are concentrated in a stable community. It’s not like the typical terror attack, which will usually strike many people from disparate places just visiting or passing through. Grenfell is tightly knit – a dense site of shared trauma.

There are some advantages to this. Rather as with people who have been in a war, who can support one another in a way no one else can, there is no shortage of others who understand. Yet the disadvantages are very great. These people are still in the heart of the site of the trauma. There are daily reminders of unspeakable horror and loss.

“Trigger warnings” are discussed a great deal in the contemporary world. For a lot of traumatised people, that blackened tower remains a trigger. Any trauma expert – and many of them have offered their services to the Grenfell community – will tell you that the first thing to do when helping people to recover is to attend to their immediate safety and security, so that they can feel some agency over their lives. Yet being in temporary accommodation is the opposite of that. Six months after the fire, as Pilgrim Tucker reported here on Thursday, the vast majority of survivors have not been rehoused.

This too is a major disadvantage of a concentrated disaster. Social housing is hard to come by in Britain, harder to come by in London, and almost impossible to come by in a wealthy area of the city such as Kensington and Chelsea. This does not mean the problem with rehousing survivors is insurmountable. It means that it was eminently predictable. Again, British engineering has so far failed to rise to the challenge.

You wouldn’t imagine it from nearly 50 years of bellyaching by the UK government and most local authorities, but cheap, quick, decent housing is not hard to supply. Many options for off-site prefabricated homes are available. Creekside Wharf, a modular development going up fast on a small piece of land in Greenwich, south-east London, is designed to provide 249 homes. It’s a tall building, at 23 storeys, and one can understand why Grenfell survivors might shrink from living that way again.

But other people in flats and flatshares in the borough would have been glad to move, to help survivors of the disaster. In a whole community that has suffered an extraordinary blow, there is no shortage of people willing to muck in. That goodwill was never tapped as enthusiastically as it could have been.

The problem all along has been a lack of vision, imagination and simple belief from central and local government in the idea that solutions at scale are possible. Grenfell’s survivors are being treated simply as people on the housing list who have to be patient like everyone else, not people who could be vulnerable to continuing or exploding trauma with every day of waiting in limbo.

What must it be like, for month after month, as the temporary hardens around you – and summer, autumn and winter pass without any tangible idea of what the future might look like? Meanwhile, all around are tangible reminders of the horror you lived through. At one point there was some sort of target for every Grenfell survivor who wanted to move into a new home to be rehoused by Christmas. Instead, the dead have been counted and the living left to ponder the notion that they don’t count very much at all.

Even now, it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, a lot of time has been lost, and that’s shameful. But there’s no better moment than now to decide that the next six months should demonstrate how much can be done, as the last have shown how little can be. Things felt urgent in the days and weeks after the fire. The truth is that they are more urgent now than ever.

There’s a growing understanding, especially in the United States, that simply being disadvantaged in cities (even without a seismic event such as Grenfell) can be distressing enough to induce post-traumatic stress disorder – which, untreated, helps to perpetuate a cycle of misery, violence, failure and shame.

One of the worst things about society today is that insight into the human condition abounds, yet when it matters those insights are dismissed in favour of wilful ignorance. It is sometimes too late for healing to start; it was for the victims of the fire. But it is not too late for the survivors.

The Grenfell survivors don’t need our pity – they need homes | Deborah Orr

John Green, the psychologist who leads the mental health response to the Grenfell fire, says the disaster has transformed the local NHS trust into “the largest trauma service in the UK”. It’s not just the survivors of the fire who are affected. Many people in the community are haunted by what they saw, smelled, felt, heard, learned and imagined that appalling night and in those dreadful following days.

The singularity of Grenfell is that those affected are concentrated in a stable community. It’s not like the typical terror attack, which will usually strike many people from disparate places just visiting or passing through. Grenfell is tightly knit – a dense site of shared trauma.

There are some advantages to this. Rather as with people who have been in a war, who can support one another in a way no one else can, there is no shortage of others who understand. Yet the disadvantages are very great. These people are still in the heart of the site of the trauma. There are daily reminders of unspeakable horror and loss.

“Trigger warnings” are discussed a great deal in the contemporary world. For a lot of traumatised people, that blackened tower remains a trigger. Any trauma expert – and many of them have offered their services to the Grenfell community – will tell you that the first thing to do when helping people to recover is to attend to their immediate safety and security, so that they can feel some agency over their lives. Yet being in temporary accommodation is the opposite of that. Six months after the fire, as Pilgrim Tucker reported here on Thursday, the vast majority of survivors have not been rehoused.

This too is a major disadvantage of a concentrated disaster. Social housing is hard to come by in Britain, harder to come by in London, and almost impossible to come by in a wealthy area of the city such as Kensington and Chelsea. This does not mean the problem with rehousing survivors is insurmountable. It means that it was eminently predictable. Again, British engineering has so far failed to rise to the challenge.

You wouldn’t imagine it from nearly 50 years of bellyaching by the UK government and most local authorities, but cheap, quick, decent housing is not hard to supply. Many options for off-site prefabricated homes are available. Creekside Wharf, a modular development going up fast on a small piece of land in Greenwich, south-east London, is designed to provide 249 homes. It’s a tall building, at 23 storeys, and one can understand why Grenfell survivors might shrink from living that way again.

But other people in flats and flatshares in the borough would have been glad to move, to help survivors of the disaster. In a whole community that has suffered an extraordinary blow, there is no shortage of people willing to muck in. That goodwill was never tapped as enthusiastically as it could have been.

The problem all along has been a lack of vision, imagination and simple belief from central and local government in the idea that solutions at scale are possible. Grenfell’s survivors are being treated simply as people on the housing list who have to be patient like everyone else, not people who could be vulnerable to continuing or exploding trauma with every day of waiting in limbo.

What must it be like, for month after month, as the temporary hardens around you – and summer, autumn and winter pass without any tangible idea of what the future might look like? Meanwhile, all around are tangible reminders of the horror you lived through. At one point there was some sort of target for every Grenfell survivor who wanted to move into a new home to be rehoused by Christmas. Instead, the dead have been counted and the living left to ponder the notion that they don’t count very much at all.

Even now, it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, a lot of time has been lost, and that’s shameful. But there’s no better moment than now to decide that the next six months should demonstrate how much can be done, as the last have shown how little can be. Things felt urgent in the days and weeks after the fire. The truth is that they are more urgent now than ever.

There’s a growing understanding, especially in the United States, that simply being disadvantaged in cities (even without a seismic event such as Grenfell) can be distressing enough to induce post-traumatic stress disorder – which, untreated, helps to perpetuate a cycle of misery, violence, failure and shame.

One of the worst things about society today is that insight into the human condition abounds, yet when it matters those insights are dismissed in favour of wilful ignorance. It is sometimes too late for healing to start; it was for the victims of the fire. But it is not too late for the survivors.

The Grenfell survivors don’t need our pity – they need homes | Deborah Orr

John Green, the psychologist who leads the mental health response to the Grenfell fire, says the disaster has transformed the local NHS trust into “the largest trauma service in the UK”. It’s not just the survivors of the fire who are affected. Many people in the community are haunted by what they saw, smelled, felt, heard, learned and imagined that appalling night and in those dreadful following days.

The singularity of Grenfell is that those affected are concentrated in a stable community. It’s not like the typical terror attack, which will usually strike many people from disparate places just visiting or passing though. Grenfell is tightly knit – a dense site of shared trauma.

There are some advantages to this. Rather as with people who have been in a war, who can support one another in a way no one else can, there is no shortage of others who understand. Yet the disadvantages are very great. These people are still in the heart of the site of the trauma. There are daily reminders of unspeakable horror and loss.

“Trigger warnings” are discussed a great deal in the contemporary world. For a lot of traumatised people, that blackened tower remains a trigger. Any trauma expert – and many of them have offered their services to the Grenfell community – will tell you that the first thing to do when helping people to recover is to attend to their immediate safety and security, so that they can feel some agency over their lives. Yet being in temporary accommodation is the opposite of that. Six months after the fire, as Pilgrim Tucker reported here on Thursday, the vast majority of survivors have not been rehoused.

This too is a major disadvantage of a concentrated disaster. Social housing is hard to come by in Britain, harder to come by in London, and almost impossible to come by in a wealthy area of the city such as Kensington and Chelsea. This does not mean the problem with rehousing survivors is insurmountable. It means that it was eminently predictable. Again, British engineering has so far failed to rise to the challenge.

You wouldn’t imagine it from nearly 50 years of bellyaching by the UK government and most local authorities, but cheap, quick, decent housing is not hard to supply. Many options for off-site prefabricated homes are available. Creekside Wharf, a modular development going up fast on a small piece of land in Greenwich, south-east London, is designed to provide 249 homes. It’s a tall building, at 23 storeys, and one can understand why Grenfell survivors might shrink from living that way again.

But other people in flats and flatshares in the borough would have been glad to move, to help survivors of the disaster. In a whole community that has suffered an extraordinary blow, there is no shortage of people willing to muck in. That goodwill was never tapped as enthusiastically as it could have been.

The problem all along has been a lack of vision, imagination and simple belief from central and local government in the idea that solutions at scale are possible. Grenfell’s survivors are being treated simply as people on the housing list who have to be patient like everyone else, not people who could be vulnerable to continuing or exploding trauma with every day of waiting in limbo.

What must it be like, for month after month, as the temporary hardens around you – and summer, autumn and winter pass without any tangible idea of what the future might look like? Meanwhile, all around are tangible reminders of the horror you lived through. At one point there was some sort of target for every Grenfell survivor who wanted to move into a new home to be rehoused by Christmas. Instead, the dead have been counted and the living left to ponder the notion that they don’t count very much at all.

Even now, it doesn’t have to be that way. Sure, a lot of time has been lost, and that’s shameful. But there’s no better moment than now to decide that the next six months should demonstrate how much can be done, as the last have shown how little can be. Things felt urgent in the days and weeks after the fire. The truth is that they are more urgent now than ever.

There’s a growing understanding, especially in the United States, that simply being disadvantaged in cities (even without a seismic event such as Grenfell) can be distressing enough to induce post-traumatic stress disorder – which, untreated, helps to perpetuate a cycle of misery, violence, failure and shame.

One of the worst things about society today is that insight into the human condition abounds, yet when it matters those insights are dismissed in favour of wilful ignorance. It is sometimes too late for healing to start; it was for the victims of the fire. But it is not too late for the survivors.

Those who need it most don’t get psychiatric care. It’s a mental health crisis | Vyom Sharma

What, precisely, is a crisis? Generally, things have to get pretty bad to be defined as one. “Housing”, “North Korean”, and ”global financial” have all seemed to earn that suffix. The problem with defining “crisis” is partly one of banality through overuse – if you believe even half of what you read, we are perpetually beset by it, in one form or another. So hearing the c-word in a context anything less than epic tends to be accompanied with a faint echo of hyperbole, and twinges of cynicism.

This cynicism can be a trap – it certainly was for me. Within the last decade of practicing medicine, I felt like if I had a dollar for every time I heard the words “mental health crisis”, I could single-handedly fund its fix. The phrase became a cliché. Over time, experience within the system bred familiarity, which spawned complacency.

Crisis is a word without a standard metric, common barometer, and sharp threshold. Its precise definition is akin to asking how long a piece of rope is. The only true answer is that it depends. But you know when you have enough to tie a noose. This week we’ve learned precisely how long that piece of rope is: a Victorian man who killed his mother amid a psychotic episode had to wait 14 months for a bed in a psychiatric hospital.

This is a new low. It’s bad enough that people die without getting adequate psychiatric help. But it turns out even killing someone else isn’t enough to qualify for psychiatric care. This is about as clear a demonstration of a “mental health crisis” as we will get.

To attribute this failure to an unfortunate lapse is to deny the very real, systemic problems that arise from mental healthcare being underfunded. This event did not occur in a vacuum. A deeper look exposes how the system, in its current state, is geared to end in such horrors.

Often the people most seriously afflicted by mental illness are the poorest, who cannot afford private psychiatric care. The problem is that publicly funded outpatient clinics are in very short supply. So often the only way to access psychiatric care out in the community is through “Catt” – Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team. That’s right, the only guaranteed way to be quickly linked in with publicly funded psychiatric care is to be in crisis. That’s how the system works.

Many patients have only this option available because they are in a strange chasm – not unwell enough to warrant a 000 call, but too unwell to wait weeks to see a private psychiatrist even if they can afford to see one. So the Catt service is often overburdened. GPs around Australia have a morose, longstanding joke about this; we say that the letters in Catt stand for “Can’t Attend Today Team”. When the “crisis” team is too busy to attend, you know there’s a problem.

This is not an indictment on the service – far from it. To say it is “overloaded” is like calling an acrobatic plate spinner “busy”. It is a job requiring a rare constitution – infinite patience, high stakes decisions, the ability to treat people who are of threat to themselves and others, and being firsthand witness to tragedy after tragedy. I’ve often seen Catt workers as patients for their own mental health. It might be a crisis in and of itself.

Depressingly, it seems the people viewing the situation with most clarity might be our youngest. Findings from Mission Australia Survey published this week show that Australians aged 15 to 19 ranked mental health as the issue of greatest national concern. Most worryingly, they identified mental health as an impediment to their future pursuits. The nurturing of at-risk adolescents through mental healthcare ought to bolster their optimism, but the failings of our system might be eroding it.

Statistics and position statements fail to capture these moments of clarity about our health system. And sometimes, reading cold statistics on per-capita funding, or wait times, without having to personally experience their impact, lulls you into the trap of confusing complaints for hyperbole.

There is another trap we can fall into. It’s one I was in for years. That trap is the belief that Australian healthcare, ranked consistently within the top-ten in the world is, overall, brilliant. That statement is undeniably true, and yet the key word here is “overall”.

If you forget those with mental illness, Indigenous Australians, LGBTIQ community, refugees and other at-risk groups, we’re doing spectacularly. The problem is that we are a country largely composed of at-risk groups. If you aren’t marginalised in this country, chances are you once were, or are descended from someone who was, or are shoulder-to-shoulder with someone who stands at the margins. And it’s at the margins where crisis thrives. That’s where we have to look to see the crisis for what it truly is.

Dr Vyom Sharma is a GP in Melbourne and a health commentator

Those who need it most don’t get psychiatric care. It’s a mental health crisis | Vyom Sharma

What, precisely, is a crisis? Generally, things have to get pretty bad to be defined as one. “Housing”, “North Korean”, and ”global financial” have all seemed to earn that suffix. The problem with defining “crisis” is partly one of banality through overuse – if you believe even half of what you read, we are perpetually beset by it, in one form or another. So hearing the c-word in a context anything less than epic tends to be accompanied with a faint echo of hyperbole, and twinges of cynicism.

This cynicism can be a trap – it certainly was for me. Within the last decade of practicing medicine, I felt like if I had a dollar for every time I heard the words “mental health crisis”, I could single-handedly fund its fix. The phrase became a cliché. Over time, experience within the system bred familiarity, which spawned complacency.

Crisis is a word without a standard metric, common barometer, and sharp threshold. Its precise definition is akin to asking how long a piece of rope is. The only true answer is that it depends. But you know when you have enough to tie a noose. This week we’ve learned precisely how long that piece of rope is: a Victorian man who killed his mother amid a psychotic episode had to wait 14 months for a bed in a psychiatric hospital.

This is a new low. It’s bad enough that people die without getting adequate psychiatric help. But it turns out even killing someone else isn’t enough to qualify for psychiatric care. This is about as clear a demonstration of a “mental health crisis” as we will get.

To attribute this failure to an unfortunate lapse is to deny the very real, systemic problems that arise from mental healthcare being underfunded. This event did not occur in a vacuum. A deeper look exposes how the system, in its current state, is geared to end in such horrors.

Often the people most seriously afflicted by mental illness are the poorest, who cannot afford private psychiatric care. The problem is that publicly funded outpatient clinics are in very short supply. So often the only way to access psychiatric care out in the community is through “Catt” – Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team. That’s right, the only guaranteed way to be quickly linked in with publicly funded psychiatric care is to be in crisis. That’s how the system works.

Many patients have only this option available because they are in a strange chasm – not unwell enough to warrant a 000 call, but too unwell to wait weeks to see a private psychiatrist even if they can afford to see one. So the Catt service is often overburdened. GPs around Australia have a morose, longstanding joke about this; we say that the letters in Catt stand for “Can’t Attend Today Team”. When the “crisis” team is too busy to attend, you know there’s a problem.

This is not an indictment on the service – far from it. To say it is “overloaded” is like calling an acrobatic plate spinner “busy”. It is a job requiring a rare constitution – infinite patience, high stakes decisions, the ability to treat people who are of threat to themselves and others, and being firsthand witness to tragedy after tragedy. I’ve often seen Catt workers as patients for their own mental health. It might be a crisis in and of itself.

Depressingly, it seems the people viewing the situation with most clarity might be our youngest. Findings from Mission Australia Survey published this week show that Australians aged 15 to 19 ranked mental health as the issue of greatest national concern. Most worryingly, they identified mental health as an impediment to their future pursuits. The nurturing of at-risk adolescents through mental healthcare ought to bolster their optimism, but the failings of our system might be eroding it.

Statistics and position statements fail to capture these moments of clarity about our health system. And sometimes, reading cold statistics on per-capita funding, or wait times, without having to personally experience their impact, lulls you into the trap of confusing complaints for hyperbole.

There is another trap we can fall into. It’s one I was in for years. That trap is the belief that Australian healthcare, ranked consistently within the top-ten in the world is, overall, brilliant. That statement is undeniably true, and yet the key word here is “overall”.

If you forget those with mental illness, Indigenous Australians, LGBTIQ community, refugees and other at-risk groups, we’re doing spectacularly. The problem is that we are a country largely composed of at-risk groups. If you aren’t marginalised in this country, chances are you once were, or are descended from someone who was, or are shoulder-to-shoulder with someone who stands at the margins. And it’s at the margins where crisis thrives. That’s where we have to look to see the crisis for what it truly is.

Dr Vyom Sharma is a GP in Melbourne and a health commentator