A sense of entitlement?

Recently I has a conversation with a patient who had asked me to redo a Centrelink Certificate.  According to the copy he brought in he has chronic back pain and depression that prevent both gainful employment and him actively looking for work.  Horatio (not his real name) tells gets a sore back, sometimes feels a little sad and spends most days in a variety of non-productive pursuits.

I see in his record from a few years ago a psychiatrist letter that deferred making an Axis I diagnosis until he stopped multiple substance abuse. He tells me he has quietened down a little in the last few years.

He tells me he hs given up on beer because it gives him diarrhoea! He has substituted spirits. He was  bit vague on the actually quantity in standard drinks. So I asked how much would he spend on alcohol?

Depends he said on whether he goes to the pub or just visits a mate. Finally after much umming he settled on around $100 a week.  Then add in cost of the tobacco! He hints that it is criminal that the price has risen so much recently. At least he says he doesn’t have to pay for his cannabis as he grow his own.

That would be fine (well not really) if he was gainfully employed. Except he isn’t.

He thought that it was quite alright to use his Centrelink benefits to support his non-nutritional intake and lifestyle choice. I consider whether it would actually achieve anything to challenge his view or should I just copy the previous form and move onto the next patient…….

Government bails out 20,000 tonnes of chocolate……but no fruit

Employment Minister Eric Abetz has defended the Coalition’s decision to provide chocolate company Cadbury with $16 million of taxpayer’s money in the wake of its rejection of SPC Ardmona’s bid for government assistance, arguing the Cadbury funds will be good for regional tourism in Tasmania. Read more

To quote the Minister

“There is no doubt that the Cadbury tours were very popular. People of my age [he is 56 years of age] remember them and talk about them. And it’s great if they can be reinstituted and will add to the total tourism experience for Tasmania, beside, might I add, this expansion of Cadbury’s in Tasmania will see the dairy herd grow by 6,000 head of cattle. So that is a substantial boost in Tasmanian terms. And, of course, we will be exporting an extra 20,000 tonnes of block chocolate from Tasmania.”  ABC Insiders 2/2/14

Both are foreign-owned companies but both provide an employment opportunity to local families. Both have been operating in Australia for a long time., having started in the early 1920’s.

Political machinations aside I wonder what kind of public health message this recent bail out sends to the community.

May I offer my opinion….

It is fine to underwrite 20,000 tonnes of obesity-inducing chocolate confectionery on the pretext of encouraging a tourist-driven factory visit revitalisation  for Tasmania. But it is not okay to use tax payer dollars to assist the fruit & vegetable processor, a much healthy option in this obesity ravaged country!

Now I am not saying that SPC Ardmona products are all healthy but I would rather have my kids eat a Goulburn Valley fruit salad rather than a Caramello koala, or a serve of baked beans than a block of Dream.

May I suggest if SPC Ardmona introduce a tour to its Shepparton factory!


For the health message go Crunch and Sip

No conflict of interest. I offer no bias as I have eaten both company’s products. And I even visited a Cadbury factory albiet in Dunedin, New Zealand.