Keith Hospital = Western Hospital a GREAT Union

There are few times in life when an outcome is successful and both parties and peripheral people get to benefit. This happened yesterday for the Keith Community. After the struggle (very public one) to retain its funding, and the fight to get the funding back, which it did it is now moving into a complete new phase and partnership.

This is a three-way partnership, Community / Government and now Western Hospital for the next two years. the Government funding was for three years to assist the hospital to become self-sufficient and is halfway through this agreement and the Board has been working behind the scenes to get a Management agreement with the Western Hospital for the next two years and an option for another two should it be a successful and financial partnership.

There is no downside here really, Western Hospital has experience and has walked the shoes of Keith Hospital, Keith Hospital is a bit luckier in that they did not actually get to close, Western had the doors shut and the electricity turned off before a group of Doctors, Nurses and community people re-opened it and has turned it completely around to a highly respected valuable health facility in South Australia, much like Keith Hospital is for the wider and country community.

I was invited to a morning tea yesterday at the hospital to hear the announcement and to watch the Chairs of both Boards sign the agreement. It was exciting and exhilarating all in one.  I am sure I along with many other community people including old Board and new Board members have spent many a sleepless night trying to come up with ways to keep this hospital open. We have fund raised and donated to ensure our rural services remained open and accessible to the community. I am sure I wasn’t the only one that let out a huge sigh of relief, no tears but laughter.

I am lucky enough to have worked in the health care industry  most of my working life and I miss it and know many people from both sides of this partnership and I can say with total honesty yesterday was the beginning of growth for the Keith Hospital and Western Hospital. Change is always frightening and challenging but I think what the staff of the Keith Hospital have lived through, worked through, donated hours of their time and had wage freezes for, I hope this for them is the opportunity they have wanted. This will be an opportunity to utilize the services of a high functioning community ‘private’ hospital with resources and private hospital wages, trust me the staff have earned it. There would be few people who would allow themselves to be underpaid to assist their place of work, many would have left and found other opportunities, this is testament to the caliber of the staff that work at the Keith & District Hospital, one which I have helped to fight for.

We have had community pledges, that overwhelmed the board, we have had Ute musters, High teas, water (still available) a Gourmand Best  in the World Charity Cookbook (still available) garage sales, picture evenings just to name a few, many people wanting to assist and now we have a tangible / workable outcome.


HIGH RES COVER for emailing

If anyone would like to stock the water or purchase the cookbook all proceeds go direct to the hospital. please contact the hospital direct 0887551555

Today is a Continuance from yesterday

After spending the large part of yesterday with the farmer planting trees, driving a tractor, cutting the tree packets and planting them I have decided the living with a  C is difficult and interesting (I’m not talking about the country bumpkin by the way). There is one in every household and sometime togetherness is sooooo over rated.

Still struggling with my ruptured Achilles, I have limited up and down motion, you know the motion most required when you need it to walk and the tractor seat sits high so my foot dangles, so after an hour it was hurting me. Not only that planting trees is an art. We get “trees for Life” to grow natives for us, which they do and once we get them we plant them, this involves cutting the black plastic around them and planting them. He did put the seat down so that it didn’t dangle but the pain had already set in.

Here is where the fun begins, it is hard work and tempers fray, one can drive too fast, drive too slow, the trees may be too dry so they disintegrate when planted, the tree planter (him) has made up a seat which can hold the boxes of trees and it is on the back of the tractor. As we move along the ground ripped or furrows made prior need to be followed otherwise the dirt can clump underneath and lift the seat higher than necessary. Here is where whistling, finger-pointing and yelling occurs, one must be able to keep driving the tractor (me) lift the seat up, follow the track and then put the seat down whilst keeping to the same speed and pathway. It is as complicated as it sounds.

Spending the largest part of the day doing this leaves little time to do anything else. I determined that regardless of the make up of the household, there is a C in every house regardless of the population of the house, time of day or year. You can find these in the kitchen, office, bedroom and occasionally the toilet. They like to dictate what you do, when you need to do it and can not be changed without numerous consultation.

They bring good and bad news to people and will involve many others without them even knowing they are included in the C’s sights. I struggle with them and I notice them as soon as I get to others houses, it is hard not to look at the C without taking note of what it is doing or saying. The C can change how you view people as there might come a time when you clash, this can be unpleasant and awkward. Regardless, I don’t base my feelings or friendship on this but at this time of the year I can start to be overloaded.

Please if anyone has anything else they would like to add to my calendar, email me, as it’s filling up fast. 🙂 .


Today is brought to you by the letter C

This is the one that I know people are waiting for, I have been asked, how are you going to write around this? Well it’s easy really in farming you either are one or you’re not. Many people react to being called the c word and yes it can be insulting and degrading and it certainly needs to be defended when the title is aimed at you.

There are many things on farm and off farm that earn this title and it can be said out of the blue or sometimes on people’s faces you can see it coming. I have heard it slip out in general conversations and quickly glossed over with an apology or ignored. It brings shock to people’s faces regardless of the situation and the spruker.

Farming brings with it many a thing starting with c, I immediately think of our lovely cattle, they too on occasions have been known to be c’s. they can walk up the race wrong, they can jump fences, eat energisers, break fences, find their way back to their mothers and yell loudly when being mark and tagged (requirements under law). But they are really gentle curious creatures with whom we treat with kindness, compassion and slight fear.

We have the CFS whom are fantastic volunteers that risk their lives for others to help save property, animals and vegetation. My husband is one and we have been through two fires together on the farm that have luckily only destroyed fencing and crop. Croping is another c word that can bring out the ire in a farmer, on a tractor / air seeder / boom spray / day and night, sore hips, knees, necks and these things ache for over 2 to 3 weeks and those around them know about it. Then we can throw the combine harvester into the mix, this machine is used with the reaping of all crops and is a dangerous tool in the hands of amateurs and farmers. They can cause fires, catch on fire and cost large amounts of money to maintain them.

Lets not forget the cats & chooks who live on farms, useful animals, chooks for eggs and cats to catch mice, rats and company. We have 4 cats that have all been caught by my husband as kittens in the freezing cold of winter, the first 3 he used to use welding gloves to pick them up and pat them as they were so feral, now they are house bound and quite nice cats. Gatsby the 1 year addition to Caloundra Station (our property) never had the feral scratches he found warmth and food on his first night and decided not to go.

Today we are going out to plant 2000 trees and no doubt at some stage the c word will rear its ugly head. Regardless of what people say we live in the COUNTRY, the COUNTRY throws obstacles much like the CITY. Call me what you like but never a COUNTRY BUMPKIN, now what were you all thinking I was going to write?