Thursday, March 19, 2009

NSW strikes another Hitlerian blow

Despite my personal pre-occupations, life continues around me in its usual interesting way. A bit rude really. The world should stop when I stop!

I was not surprised that the Government's alcopops tax went down. I outlined the reasons why I thought that it was a silly decision in the first place in Alcopops and mixed drinks - The Head strikes.

I have not changed my view. If anything, I think that the current obsessions with the evils of drink and the consequent Government responses at national, state and local level have gone right over the top. My core charge is this: they set false standards in terms of level of consumption and then introduce dramatic moves to control or influence based on those standards. There is little discussion on core problems.

I accept that I am increasingly out of sympathy with the Australian world of 2009. Well consider this. I quote from the Sydney Morning Herald:

A ban on smoking in all psychiatric facilities will go ahead despite vehement opposition from some members of the mental health community, who argue that strict anti-smoking rules will destabilise acutely ill patients and put staff at risk of violence.

NSW Health has ordered all facilities, including emergency psychiatric centres, to close designated outdoor smoking areas, confiscate tobacco products and supply free nicotine replacement therapy to staff and patients.

If accurate, this is one of the most inhumane statements I have ever heard. It would do Hitler proud.

To begin with, smoking is legal. This statement says that smoking will be stopped even in areas where smokers cannot harm others.

An above average number of those with psychiatric illness smoke. In the case of people with schizophrenia it rises to two thirds. What are they going to do with these people, hold them down so that a patch can be applied and then wait?

The core need with mentally ill patients is to help them. That is why they are in hospital. If you add stress, you hinder cures. You also increase the number of mentally ill people who may refuse to go to hospital.

There are already major problems in the mental health area. There are problems in finding hospital beds. There are problems in getting patients to accept treatment if beds are available.

Recently I was sitting beside someone whose sister was sick. Day after day, phone conversation after phone conversation, she wrestled with the problems of mental illness.

This new NSW rule will not save a single person from smoking induced illness. It will hurt people with mental illness.

Fewer people will want to accept help. More of those that do will suffer. This is health political correctness gone crazy.


ambersun said...

Thanks for your comments.

I am schizophrenic and a smoker. Trying to give up smoking is stressful and hospital is not the place to do it.

I think you need to be well before you can do it,


Anonymous said...

I agree on this one, Jim, and Amber's point is well made and so well attested by many that you wonder where some people's heads are. I could cite a well-known saying on that last, but leave it to the imagination.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks Neil and Amber. I was cranky when I wrote the post and still am. It's inhumane.