Communication breakdown

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By Strategic Partner Tom O’Meara 

To say that Tasmania is different to other states is in no way disparaging to our island state, it’s simply a fact, just as there are differences between the regions within the state and if nothing else the Federal Election has proven this fact.

If you were living in Victoria, you will find differences between Melbourne and the rest of the state, while living in Canberra you will quickly realise the ACT is also different to  any other area in the country, or simply unique for a variety of reasons.

Having managed medium to large businesses while living in these areas, I’m well aware of the challenges of dealing, maybe arm wrestling is more appropriate, with HQ in Sydney and their vault of benchmarks or requirements on managers.

As I’m sure Liberal Party state managers have now realised, although benchmarks may work for many aspects of business, they do not work for our unique communities with inevitably different needs and wants from state to state, region to region.

Sure there are common issues and strategies agreed by all, but local issues and community expectations should be recognised and treated accordingly, not dictated by people in a Sydney bunker. State leaders and managers need autonomy within their state to make the decisions appropriate to their community needs.

While the Canberra community may also be very conscious of our health needs and costs, it doesn’t necessarily mean they hit the back pocket with the same sensitivity.

A simple look at income disparity between states, may explain why national campaigns have failed to hit the mark.

On the high end of the scale, the average weekly male, full time wage in the ACT is about $1844 with the total average for all full time, part time and casual ACT employees set at $1370.  In Victoria the weekly, male average is significantly lower at $1570, with an overall average of $1071 a week, while Tasmania’s weekly male wage is $1436 with an overall average of just $960.

Income can be a significant argument, but again, it’s the local manager or leader who, if doing his job properly, will know what excites, or incites their community.

We’ve heard enough about election campaign stunts, but regardless of the so called dirty tricks, if you can’t win an argument against a fib then your communication needs a major improvement.

The blow up at the Launceston General Hospital Emergency Department didn’t start as a political attack but certainly finished up that way when the media fell for the critical outburst from a relatively new ED Doctor who had Page 3 of the newspaper on Friday and the centre point of the ED attack in a full page Get Up! advertisement the next day.

That’s history now, but the debate over the ED will continue to be a pain for governments around the nation, and I’ll explain why with some confidential polling which has been passed onto me.

The reasons for 80 per cent of people visiting ED in order are; convenience, perceived need, the patient’s GP was unavailable, the patient was told to attend by a doctor or nurse, the ED was more available than their GP and the patient didn’t know where else to go.

The overwhelming ailments of ED patients are musculoskeletal or pain that effects muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones which more than doubles the  second reason which is a mixture of  cold/flu symptoms, headache and  non-descript pain.

Apologies, I should also have mentioned the 2.1 per cent of patients who use ED for ALL Health care services. No wonder there’s crowding.

NOTE: Tom O’Meara was GM of the Canberra Times and the Ballarat Courier and CEO of The Examiner, Launceston.

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