Hospital program cut a `false economy’

A GROUP fighting to save Launceston’s Hospital in the Home program plans to target Labor Bass MHR Geoff Lyons and Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne.
Nanjing Night Net

The Launceston General Hospital will suspend the program on January 6 as part of drastic measures to save $28 million this financial year.

Sophie Hill, of Save It Tasmania, said she had contacted Mr Lyons after it was announced that the service would be axed in mid-December and was disappointed by Mr Lyons’s response.

The former LGH spokeswoman and surgical business manager forwarded the concerns on to Ms O’Byrne.

Yesterday, Mr Lyons said he had been involved in securing a federal government grant to get the program started in the mid-1990s but understood why it had to go.

“If you have got plenty of money, Hospital in the Home is nice,” Mr Lyons said.

“It’s an expensive way of looking after people. You don’t see too many GPs running their practice by making home visits.”

He said people still had access to a community nursing service.

However, supporters of the service say it saves money in the long run by keeping people out of hospital and frees up beds for other people.

Professor Sarah Breier, who founded the program, said it was a false economy.

“It’s a quick fix to save money, but it’s only going to end up costing more,” she said.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon declined to comment on the axeing of the Hospital in the Home program, but her spokesman said:

“The Gillard government is providing record funding to Tasmania for its health and hospital system and we remain concerned about the government’s decision to reduce the funding to health services in the state, the impact it will have on Tasmanians’ access to hospital care, and the potential effect this may have on health outcomes.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

Wheelchair athlete Kurt Fearnley prepares for Sydney to Hobart

EXCITED: Kurt FearnleyWHEELCHAIR racing supremo Kurt Fearnley yesterday had his first experience of racing on a 100-footer maxi yacht in preparation for this year’s Sydney to Hobart.
Nanjing Night Net

He promptly dubbed the experience ‘‘wild’’, and that was without even passing the heads of Sydney Harbour.

But the triple Paralympic gold medallist, whose other feats include climbing the 1504 steps of Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower and conquering the Kokoda Track, realises that yesterday’s Big Boat Challenge was only the entree for what is to be served up en route to Hobart.

Maxis dominated line honours yesterday amid gusts of up to 23knots. First was Mark Richards’s Wild Oats XI, two minutes and 51 seconds ahead of Anthony Bell’s Investec Loyal, on which Fearnley is a crewmate, and almost eight minutes clear of Grant Wharington’s Wild Thing.

For Fearnley, the adrenalin rush began from the start off Shark Island when Investec Loyal and Wild Oats XI were side by side.

‘‘It was close enough for me to board you guys at the start line,’’ Fearnley said, looking at Richards.

‘‘I was thinking about it. It was just wild, mate.’’

That was about as close as the two yachts got.

By the finish of the 14-nautical mile race off Farm Cove, it had become just another one-boat race.

Richards made mention of the ‘‘little tussle off the line’’ that Wild Oats XI had at the start with Investec Loyal and conceded the race ‘‘was a real challenge getting the big boats around the race track’’.

But it was soon clear that there was no stopping the defending Sydney to Hobart champions, especially after Investec Loyal had problems with its furling system.

Not that it marred Fearnley’s day out.

‘‘That wasn’t my mistake, so I was pretty happy with that,’’ he said. ‘‘It was good just to get there and be on the boat while it was angry; while it’s racing. You get in there, do your job.

‘‘I did everything that was asked of me and can’t wait until Boxing Day now.

‘‘I’ve been part of some pretty good teams with my trips – three Paralympics and even the team that crossed Kokoda, we were a real tight unit. Now I have hung around with the boys for the past few months and it’s good to be a part of.

‘‘The intensity on the boat – I love that. That’s why I chose to become an athlete.

‘‘When you are in front of 100,000 people in a stadium you have to make the right choice, be really on the game and contest right to the finish. ‘‘I can’t wait to be out there on Boxing Day and out there with another thousand yachts on that harbour.

‘‘It will be a little different to wheelchair racing. But then I have that instinct of competition, and you take it out on to the stage … that doesn’t change no matter what sport you do.’’

Read More

Father and son build momentum for drag racing

Steve Badcock, of Hagley, and son Andrew, of Brisbane, with the drag bike that they are building. Picture: SCOTT GELSTONTASMANIA’S only Australian pro-stock motorcycle drag racing champion, Andrew Badcock, will this year again be part of the action.
Nanjing Night Net

But the 2009-10 champion and 2010-11 runner-up will be wielding spanners rather than twisting the throttle in the 2011-12 season.

The pilot will be his father Steve, who runs a garage at Hagley and last raced drags in 2008 in the comp-bike class.

Steve said that he had started upgrading his 2008 bike to compete in the top-bike class, but was sidetracked when he started competing in historic road racing.

Plans to reinvent the Hagley-built bike went on the back burner.

“When team owner Trevor Birrel sold the bike Andrew rode at the end of the 2010-11 season, we decided to finish my project,” said Steve, who will again also contest the Tasmanian Motorcycle Club historic road racing championships in which he finished second last year.

Andrew said that the idea was to get the bike running as fast as they could for the final two rounds of the 2011-12 season at the nitro champs in Sydney on May 4-6 and the Winter Nationals in Brisbane in June.

“Dad did 7.6 seconds for the quarter mile at 278km/h when he last rode the bike and our aim is to get into the low sevens by the end of the season,” he said.

“It only had a standard crankshaft in it and we damaged a connecting rod which then put a hole in the crankcases.

“We’ve gone to a big after-market crankshaft now and it will take a lot more horsepower – we’ve also fitted different pistons and a race-pack data-logging system to record everything the bike does.

“Dad will do the last couple of races and then we’ll reassess our effort after that.

“We’ll add lots of gas – our aim is have the first six-second run by a nitrous-oxide assisted bike in Australia. But we’ll keep this motor as a spare, all set up and ready to bolt in if needed.”

The Badcocks hope to give the bike its first run in February or March at a regional race in Brisbane.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

Converted warehouse has strong green credentials

THOUGHT: Upgrades have made the house even greener. – Picture by Natalie GronoMARYVILLE
Nanjing Night Net


Address: 1/78 Lewis Street.

House: Weathertex and Colorbond on 366square metres.

Inspect: By appointment.

Agent: Andrew Walker, Street Real Estate, 0402009532.

A CONTEMPORARY residence within an original Maryville warehouse with some very deliberate ‘‘green’’ credentials, 1/78 Lewis Street is a tranquil hideaway overlooking Throsby Creek.

With the cycleway on the back boundary, it is a fantastic lifestyle property for a family, or professionals, looking for an elegant, upmarket home/office combination.

One of two unique residences in the converted warehouse, the hallmark of this three-level, 409-square-metre house is the fabulous light which spills through sympathetically-placed doors and windows.

The entrance next to the tandem garage leads down to the ground floor or up to the first floor, and is a private entry point.

The ground-floor level comprises the main bedroom with an ensuite and walk-in robe, a second bedroom with ensuite, a laundry, sunroom and a living area. The sunroom and living areas open onto a north-facing deck which wraps around the bedroom and leads to a covered breezeway and a tandem garage, which has stacker doors, allowing it to double as an entertaining area.

The second level has another bathroom, a kitchen, dining and living area, and a family room. Two decks give commanding water views.

The upper levels are made up of two open-plan zones which also have water views. The owners have the zones configured for a bedroom and an office, but they could be two bedrooms.

The levels are connected by a timber staircase which has been designed to show off the steel girders of the original warehouse.

A high sustainability rating was the deliberate focus of the owners. There is increased insulation thickness and double glazing, as well as ceiling fans throughout.

Read More

Bowler’s dream run

James Pattinson dismisses Indian batting star Sachin Tendulkar for 41 yesterday.JAMES Pattinson must think Test cricket is a walk in the park.
Nanjing Night Net

It really isn’t supposed to yield such a rich harvest so quickly, certainly not for fast bowlers.

Speedsters are supposed to do all the heavy lifting.

They are meant to toil away to exhaustion under the midday sun, like Noel Coward’s mad dogs and Englishmen, drowning in their own sweat, their blistered feet swimming in blood in their size 16 boots, while classically educated Hooray Henries at the other end play graceful strokes and get the benefit of any doubts.

West Indian great Wes Hall once described his vocation as “99 per cent perspiration and 1 per cent inspiration”.

Try telling that to Pattinson.

His Test career is just 34 days old but already he has snared 24 wickets at a miserly average, bagged two five-wicket hauls, been named man of the match twice in three Tests and man of the series in his only completed series.

He must wonder what all the fuss is about.

He made his debut at the start of the summer, on December 1, and went on to take 14 wickets at 14 runs apiece in the two-Test series against New Zealand.

Boxing Day at the MCG didn’t faze him a bit; he took six wickets for 108 in the first Test against India.

He also scored 55 runs, giving every indication that he could prove to be a useful lower-order bat, if not an all-rounder.

He struck gold with just the third ball of the second Test at the SCG yesterday, having Gautam Gambhir caught at first slip for a duck.

He then tore through India’s top order, removing danger man Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman before capturing the biggest scalp of all, Sachin Tendulkar’s.

Pattinson, 21, had not even been born when Tendulkar played his first Test in 1989.

But he was not intimidated by the prospect of bowling to a god of the game, and one who was chasing a 100th international century at that.

He was inspired by it.

Tendulkar on 41 edged Pattinson on to his stumps while attempting a square drive and the Indians were in deep trouble at 6-124 after winning the toss and batting.

Pattinson finished with 4-43 off 14 overs, taking bowling honours yet again.

He admitted Tendulkar was unlucky to chop on a wide delivery, but said: “Getting Sachin out is something I will remember for my whole life.

“If you bowl enough balls in the right areas, you’re going to get batsmen out, no matter who they are.”

The 1.91 metre Victorian is yet to experience the empty feeling of going wicketless in a Test innings.

No doubt he is willing and capable of grinding out the back-breaking days of unrewarded slog that are supposed to be the fast bowler’s lot in life.

But they will remain alien to him if he keeps taking wickets at this rate.

That won’t happen, of course.

Those horrible days will come.

How he copes with them will determine how great he can aspire to be.

Cricket is like that.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

Record heat sweeps country

BRISBANE – Australians have been asked to heed safety advice from authorities as much of the country swelters through what is already shaping up to be a record-breaking heatwave.
Nanjing Night Net

In the southern states, firefighters battled hundreds of blazes in searing heat and ambulance officers treated children who had been left in cars.

On January 1, Adelaide recorded its hottest start to a new year since 1900 when the mercury reached 41.6 degrees.

Extreme temperatures and strong winds prompted a South Australian power company to cut electricity supplies to about 3300 properties on the Fleurieu Peninsula on Monday.

The decision left many tourism-related businesses without power for several hours, prompting criticism over the lack of notice.

But ETSA Utilities defended the decision, raising concerns about potential bushfires.

Victoria’s ambulance service treated 45 patients for heat-related illnesses on Monday, including four cases of children left in cars. Paramedic Darren Murphy said there was a case reported every five minutes.

”We’ve gone to patients who are nearly 100 years old, they live at home alone, wearing heavy clothes, they have an air conditioner but they’re not using it for whatever reason,” Mr Murphy said.

”We’ve gone to people who are in their mid-30s, who have been working outside all day, were drinking (water) but just not drinking enough and then we’ve also gone to young children who have either been at the beach or they’ve been left in their cars for short periods, who have been heat-affected as well.”

South-west Queensland councils directed their warnings at tourists, advising motorists to carry extra water and petrol.

”We’re expecting just shy of 44 degrees today, and even hotter on Wednesday and Thursday,” Diamantina Shire Council’s Steve Baldwin said. He said there were some minor benefits of oppressive heat, such as drying clothes more quickly and enjoying a cold beer in an air conditioned pub.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Read More

Cycle touring madness

There don’t seem to be shades of responses to touring by bicycle. At one end people will tell me I must be mad, or they’ll ask why, as in “why don’t you go by car?”, and at the other end is the wistful wish that he or she could do the same. At times, I admit, I ask myself why, and I like to assure the wistful wishers that with a bit of training they, too, can ride from one place to another.
Nanjing Night Net

Last week three mates and I rode from one place to another in northern NSW, and once again I had the sense that travelling by bike is an elemental experience, one that somehow immerses the rider in the environment. As the occupant of a car, for example, hills are meaningless, but as a cyclist hills have a special meaning! We crossed some particularly meaningful hills between Lismore and Murwillumbah and between Byron Bay and Alstonville, and the climb on dirt roads over the range of Mount Jerusalem National Park from Uki to Mullumbimby is etched in our memory banks.

We started in Grafton, a city given character by the architecture of many of its houses, pubs and public buildings, and by the fact that I was born there. The first night was spent at Maclean, the Scottish town on the banks of the Clarence River, and day two to Lismore took us through a network of bush tracks and forest roads and Coraki, which has few reminders that it was once a bustling river port. Lismore has a remarkable strip retail district, hundreds of shops stretching along a network of inner streets, and most of the shops appear to be individually owned rather than franchised or part of a chain.

Day three was to Murwillumbah via the colourful Nimbin and many hills, and thankfully we skirted around Mount Warning. Day four we retraced our steps to Uki then turned left to cross Mount Jerusalem National Park, an especially meaningful climb on rough dirt roads, and the country around Main Arm as we left the park is the lushest I’ve seen anywhere in Australia.

Mullumbimby, or Mullum to the locals, is slightly alternative and interesting, and in an old sandstone bank building occupied by Santos Wholefoods we had a quinoa salad we voted the best salad any of us had had. A raw-food lime pie at the same place was extraordinarily good. That night and the next we spent at Byron Bay, which has its attractions despite the hype. The lingering schoolies were friendly, happy and sober, although we didn’t see them at midnight!

On Wednesday we set off following whereis南京夜网 instructions to Coraki, and soon we found we were riding along farmland tractor tracks that, we assumed, had once been public paths. Coraki, once a busy river port with seven big wharves and seven pubs, now has one pub, no wharf, and a former pub, the Club Hotel, in which we stayed. The owner of the former pub has been working for six years to restore it to its former glory and reopen it as a pub, and it seems to be an especially ambitious undertaking.

Heavy rain overnight and into the Thursday made the bush tracks we’d planned to ride for much of the 110 kilometres to Grafton unrideable, and so we hired a van to take us and our bikes to Grafton, loaded up my wife’s LandCruiser and headed home. The trip home reminded us that passengers in a car miss so much!

What adventure would you plan if you could, and why don’t you?

Read More

Journalist joins East Timor peacekeepers

Herald journalist Ben Smee is on an East Timor peacekeeping mission alongside Hunter members of the defence reserves and their day-job bosses.
Nanjing Night Net

Today the Hunter woke up to another Monday morning. Many of my colleagues were, no doubt, nursing Christmas party hangovers. And I was on a plane to join a peacekeeping mission in East Timor.

At 3am I was on my way to Darwin Airport.

For those of you whose morning sleep-in was disturbed by a hyperactive alarm clock, please think of me.

While you’ve been at work today, probably watching the clock tick as it rolls towards the end of another year, I’ll have been put through my paces with Hunter members of the defence reserves and their day-job bosses.

We’re on a regular exercise knows as “Boss Lift”. Employers, who have given their workers up to a year away to spend time in the reserve forces, are here to get a taste of life in Operation Astute.

Over the next few days, I’ll spend time with Hunter bosses and their employees in East Timor. They will include the former workmates of Craftsman Beau Pridue from Speers Point, who tragically died in a heavy vehicle crash while serving in East Timor in September.

The reservists here are from the 8th Brigade, which contains mainly forces from Northern NSW.

The brigade was formed in Egypt in 1915, and soldiers from Cessnock and Merewether were killed in action at Fromelles during the later stages of World War I.

The soldiers here are engineers, tradesmen, teachers and transport workers.

We’ve been promised Black Hawk helicopter flights, experience firing military weapons, tours of defence bases, hard-core personal training, and other experiences typical of the peacekeeping forces in East Timor.

Australian reservists make up a large proportion of the International Stabilising Force that assists the local government and the United Nations to maintain order in the young nation.

Check back tomorrow to find out how Ben has fared so far.

Read More

Sa’u slims down to make tight squeeze in centres

SLIM: Junior Sa’uNEWCASTLE Knights fans can expect to see a lot less of Junior Sa’u next season.
Nanjing Night Net

Not that the Kiwi international centre has any plans to vacate his favoured spot on Newcastle’s left edge, but Sa’u has stripped five kilograms from his chunky frame and aims to play next season at the lightest weight since his NRL debut in 2008.

‘‘I’ve trimmed down a bit and it’s helping me move a lot better around the park at training,’’ Sa’u said yesterday.

‘‘I can definitely see the change … I’ve lost five kilos.

‘‘I’m about 97 or 98kilos at the moment.

‘‘I’m normally about 102.

‘‘Playing at 102, I thought it was my best weight, but that was sort of like extra fat I was carrying.

‘‘They’ve trimmed me right down and I feel much better and a lot sharper.’’

Sa’u attributed his transformation to hard yards during the pre-season and a new-found diligence to what he eats.

‘‘It’s just doing all the little things right,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve given up fast foods and I’m paying more attention to what meals I’m having before training and after training.

‘‘We’ve got a dietitian and the plan she has made for me is basically working.

‘‘I’ve just got to stick to it.’’

Sa’u is capable of trampling any defender when he has a full head of steam and he is confident he will still make an impact next year despite his reduced body mass.

‘‘I feel like I haven’t lost any strength when I’m running the ball at our skills sessions,’’ he said.

‘‘In the gym, I’m feeling probably the strongest I’ve ever been. It’s heading in the right direction but I have to keep knuckling down.’’

New coach Wayne Bennett and high-performance manager Jeremy Hickmans have insisted on lowering skinfold levels since arriving in Newcastle as they set about creating a leaner, meaner team.

Sa’u, who has been a mainstay of Newcastle’s backline for the past four seasons, admits he will have to be in peak condition to fend off a host of challengers eyeing his position.

Wes Naiqama played the best football of his career last season before suffering an elbow injury, and rookie Siuatonga Likiliki showed potential in his two top-grade games.

New signings Timana Tahu and Alex McKinnon add to the competition Sa’u will face for the berth he has occupied for 78 NRL games.

‘‘That will definitely be good for me and good for the club,’’ Sa’u said.

‘‘I think competition brings the best out in everyone. We’ve got people there like Timana and Wes and Likiliki and they’re all good players, so that will keep me on my toes.’’

Having represented New Zealand in nine Tests, Sa’u, 24, said he had no regrets about turning down an opportunity to pull on the Kiwis jersey during the recent Four Nations series.

‘‘Towards the end of the year my body needed a rest,’’ he said.

‘‘It felt like it was starting to break down a bit. I had an ankle injury and I needed to get my body right for next year.

‘‘It was hard for me to pull out of the squad but it’s something I needed to do.

‘‘This is my first proper pre-season in three years and I just needed a break to freshen up a bit.’’

Read More

Football tragedies demonstrate need for care with Jets defender’s heart problem

CONCERN: Byun Sung-hwanTHEY are three names that will mean little to most Australian sports fans – Marc Vivien Foé, Phil O’Donnell and Anthony Van Loo.
Nanjing Night Net

But as Jets defender Byun Sung-hwan awaits the result of medical tests that have cast a cloud over his professional career, the stories of three fellow footballers warrant close consideration.

Byun was stood down from training on Tuesday after an electrocardiograph (ECG) test, which all players underwent in the pre-season, revealed he had left ventricular hypertrophy, or an enlarged left ventricle.

The condition can occur naturally as a reaction to aerobic exercise and strength training. But it can also be a symptom of a rare genetic disease known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which in extreme cases can cause heart failure, especially during intense exercise, and prove fatal.

Jets officials did not want to speculate on Byun’s condition or jump to false conclusions until they had considered all the information available.

CEO Robbie Middleby said Byun’s welfare was their primary concern, but if he received appropriate clearances, there was a chance the Korean could play against Central Coast tomorrow in the F3 derby in Gosford.

The 32-year-old has experienced no episodes that would suggest he has a potentially life-threatening condition.

But neither did Foé nor O’Donnell, both of whom are remembered more for the tragic circumstances in which they died than their impressive careers.

Foé was a Cameroon international who played for West Ham and Manchester City in the English Premier League.

In June 2003, while representing his country in a semi-final of the Confederations Cup, he collapsed on the pitch and died, despite attempts to revive him.

An autopsy revealed the 28-year-old had unwittingly suffered from HCM.

O’Donnell was a former Scotland international who played for Motherwell, Celtic and Sheffield Wednesday.

In December 2007 he was playing for Motherwell against Dundee United and collapsed just as he was about to be substituted.

The 35-year-old father of four was rushed to hospital but died. A post-mortem indicated his death was caused by left ventricular failure, believed to be as a result of HCM.

After the deaths of Foé and O’Donnell and other such tragedies, football clubs around the world started to test their players for heart defects.

It was such a screening process that may have saved the life of young Belgian defender Van Loo.

In 2008, when he was playing for Belgian second-division club Roeselare, the 20-year-old collapsed to the turf unconscious. But as teammates rushed to help him, Van Loo visibly jolted on the ground and slowly regained his feet.

He was taken to hospital but returned after the match to join in his team’s victory celebrations.

Van Loo’s life had been saved by a defribillator, implanted in his chest six months earlier when he was diagnosed with HCM.

Defribillators contain a small computer that detects when a heart loses its rhythm, often causing a blackout, at which point a life-saving electric shock is delivered.

After the remarkable incident, which can be seen on YouTube, the club doctor said: ‘‘There was a moment of panic, but the device saved his life.’’

Van Loo, a Belgian under-23 representative, now plays in Belgium’s top football league.

There has been no confirmation that Byun has HCM.

Middleby said the Jets would wait until they had received all medical advice.

‘‘Then we will sit down with all the doctors and specialists and consider all the options,’’ he said. ‘‘If there is any risk, we want him to know what it is and do the right thing by him.’’

He said communal heart screening had been ‘‘recommended’’ by Football Federation Australia, but the Jets ‘‘haven’t done it in the past’’.

This year, the club decided it was a better policy to be safe rather than sorry.

And at least one of their players may have cause to be grateful for the rest of his life.

Read More