Those of us with an appetite for the absurd were served up an absolute treat this week by South Australian Health Minister Stephen Wade, who confidently joined the pantheon of comic greats such as Monty Python's hospital administrator who swoons over the machine that goes ping and Yes Minister's manager of the hospital with no patients.
Mr Wade was holding forth in SA's Legislative Council this week on the topic of a turnaround plan devised to extract the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) out of a $300 million budget mire it appears to have got itself into.
Pulse+IT took a trip across the ditch this week to pay a visit to the annual Health Informatics New Zealand conference, where among a terrific line-up of speakers we were lucky enough to hear a ripping yarn from the multi-talented Will Reedy, director of digital for telco Spark NZ, emergency department doctor and independent chair of the advisory committee for New Zealand's national electronic health record (NEHR) project.
Dr Reedy was presenting on the topic of consumer-held records, and it just so happened that on one particularly busy Friday recently at the Middlemore Hospital ED in Auckland, a 60-year-old woman from Boston, Massachusetts, turned up having turned her ankle on a visit to the Cable Bay Vineyards at Waiheke.
The word 'debacle' certainly got a work-out in the media and on the Senate floor this week as Labor mounted a last-ditch effort to have the opt-out period for the My Health Record extended for a full year. 'Debacle' joined 'bungle' as the words du jour, although we were mightily pleased to see at least one 'shemozzle' and the old favourite 'stuff up' joining the fray.
These choice phrases were of course launched at the government over its handling of the My Health Record opt-out process, particularly as the opt-out website and helpline began to suffer under the weight of people wanting to opt out at the last minute on Wednesday. The government was forced to cave in to pressure to extend the opt-out period, as the amendments to the My Health Record Act demanded by the opposition would not pass the lower house until the opt-out period was over.