4 Aug. 2007

APEC medical planning

The Health Department denied the shutdown yesterday, despite confirmation from doctors at hospitals that they were freeing resources in the event of a disaster during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum next month.

Now this scarcely makes sense. While there is some credible belief that a terrorist attack is more likely in Sydney during APEC, the number of victims would be less than on a normal day since there will be fewer people in the city. Consequently, there should be no need to have greater than usual contingency planning. Unless they are basically certain there'll be a lot more hospitalisations – perhaps injured protesters?

The explicit logic is in fact actually belied by the revelation that doctors have been asked to take leave. This in fact means that the hospitals will have less emergency capacity – in an emergency, they can simply turn away patients for scheduled surgery, but it the doctors aren't there – well, they could be called in if they're still in town, but it doesn't make sense as an emergency measure. Rather it would seem that the aim is to reduce the number of people, doctors and patients, in the area. Perhaps it's as simple as reducing traffic that might slow down motorcades, or preventing dignitaries from seeing sick people wandering around the beautiful harbour city.

In any case, it seems clear that there is simply no good reason to deny people their medical procedures.