“By their emails ye shall know them” 4

This is a bit off the main subject of this blog, but politicians seem to be almost the ones who have least realised how much the world has changed in the last 25 years of so – those who are supposed to be in the business of representing the people, and addressing their concerns.

They always make it as difficult as they possibly can to send emails to them, or, if you can email them, they are likely to respond with automated responses along the lines of, “Oh dear! I’m getting SO SO many emails, and, of course, I have to give preference to emails that come from people in my electorate, but I’ll get back to you as soon as I can,” and you never hear from them again.

In our experience, and that of our readers, this is exactly how Ken Wyatt responded to emails sent to him when he was the Commonwealth Assistant Minister for Health. And we have no doubt that this is exactly how David Gillespie would handle emails sent to him, now that he has taken over this job – although, to be honest, we haven’t got time to check. (Perhaps some of our readers could send some emails to him and let us all know how they got on.)

But the classical example of what we’re talking about is Geoff Lee, the State Member for Parramatta, who we could quite imagine has never responded to a email from one of his constituents in his life – all he does every couple of months is send his constituents an expensively put together brochure showing about 15 photos of himself in various photo opportunities doing this and that. To be fair to Geoff, he may be finding that that’s all he has to do to keep getting increased majorities. And, if that’s the case, those who vote for him are to blame.

It’s going to be such a different world when those most likely to be elected to our parliaments are those who are seen as the most likely to address the concerns people set out in emails sent to them – a world we believe will eventually and inevitably come about, hopefully sooner rather than later.

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“By their emails ye shall know them” 3

In the last few days the journalists at the Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC have put together a number of reports on the plight of those who have got involved with the AVEO retirement group – some of their experiences as set out in these reports are truly horrible.

Note: “Bleed them dry until they die.”

These reports can be readily accessed, of course, by carrying out Google searches.

We can’t stress strongly enough how much we believe that nobody would get involved with AVEO at all if, first of all, they sent them one or two emails asking them a couple of questions, as we believe that AVEO have probably never provided an upfront and honest response to even one email in their entire existence, which should have put them off – that’s, of course, if there was/is any way in which emails can be sent to them.

In regard to this, we went to their website, and the only thing we could find about contacting them was this – “Corporate Contact” – (why “Corporate Contact?”) and when we clicked on this we were taken to an email form with four “required” fields.

We’ve found that whenever a phone number is “required,” that the very best we can expect is a phone call in which we are fed rubbish, and so in these circumstances we always enter a wrong number to try and ensure that we get something in writing, which, of course, never works with organisations like AVEO. This is what we did in this case – 3 days ago, when we asked AVEO a question – of course we’ll never get a reply.

In circumstances like this there are always calls for things like Royal Commissions blah blah.

In the meantime, the developments in communication technology in the last 25 years or so, have given us all the opportunity to surround ourselves with only the best in experts and information – by following these simple rules.

  1. Don’t contemplate for a second dealing with people and organisations that aren’t relatively easy to contact by emails.
  2. With those that are, send them an email about something or other and see what sort of response you get – only deal with those who provide you with reasonable responses.

Of course, in the end it’s all about competition – perhaps all the retirement organisations are the same???!!!

One thing is for sure – it will be a different world if people and organisations in all sorts of fields can only survive if they provide reasonable responses to reasonable emails.

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The power now with “the people” 2

Part of a letter sent today by email to a certain specialist Dermatologist:-

Because the above is a copy, the links in it don’t work, but these ones do – https://www.ratemds.com/ and  http://www.medicalquestions1.info/6281/6281.01.html.

We’re not expecting a reply.

Can we tell you this specialist’s name? Again No! For all sorts of reasons. You’ll just have to send your own emails out – it will only take you 2 or 3 minutes per email, once you’ve composed your email and you’ve got the email addresses.

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The power now with “the people” 1

Many years ago, perhaps 30 or 40, someone told us, “If you want to know what someone’s like, get them to write something down.” Of course this is so true it’s obvious.

But what has changed, in the last 25 years or so, is that modern communication technology has made it so easy to ask people to write things down, and so easy for them to do it, that’s if they want to. To us this is SO exciting. The only problem is that so few of us people seem to have realised it yet, and so few others seem to have realised it too.

One of our readers recently sent a letter by email to a medical specialist outlining some medical problems he was experiencing and asking whether he could provide a yes or no answer as to whether helping people with these problems was within his areas of expertise – this is the answer he got back.

We feel we’ve learnt SO much about this specialist from this answer.

Firstly, if he’s not going to provide a yes or no answer to the question that’s been asked, which we would have thought would be incredibly easy and take just a few seconds, it would seem extraordinarily unlikely that he would answer any other questions if we became his patient. (He could have come back with requests for the problems to be described in more detail, if he needed that information to provide an answer – but he didn’t do that.)

And what are we to make of his excuses for not answering our question?

That it’s a clinical question??? Dozens of other specialists have been asked the same question and he’s the first one to say that he’s excused from answering it because it’s a clinical question??? Has he treated the author of the email as stupid? Has he lied?

And so what, if there are “sham” emails being sent out to gather information as to how long it takes for replies to be provided? One would think that it’s incredibly unlikely that any specialist is going to be getting an average of as many as two emails a day, and how long is it going to provide two yes or no answers per day. So is this a legitimate excuse?

And what about the other side of the coin – how “disappointing” it is for “busy” patients to find out that they’ve wasted not inconsiderable time and money on having a consultation with a specialist who hasn’t had the expertise to help them. The specialist has lost nothing – he or she has still collected their money.

But perhaps specialists like this one are dependent on collecting money from patients who they can’t really help, because they’re not getting enough patients that they can really help.

As for the the last sentence in the reply, we are getting more and more feedback indicating that the knowledge of GPs as to which specialists it’s best for their patients to see is “scratchy” to say the least, to the point where we think it’s madness for patients to see specialists if they have’t got it from them in writing FROM THEM that their problems are within their areas of expertise, irrespective of what ten GPs may have told them.

And as for this particular specialist, or anyone else who provides similar answers – we’d be avoiding him/them like the plague!

Can we tell you this specialist’s name? No! For all sorts of reasons. You’ll just have to send your own emails out – it will only take you 2 or 3 minutes per email, once you’ve composed your email and you’ve got the email addresses.

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Dr Michael John Forster Hunter ENT Surgeon

  1. Dr Hunter has 17 ratings on the RateMDs.com website, in 13 of which he gets the lowest possible ratings for “Helpfulness,” none of which he’s responded to, something he could easily do.
  2. He’s already been officially reprimanded once for various aspects of his dealings with a patient, and certain restrictions have been put on to his practice.
  3. According to his entry on AHPRA’s Registers of Practitioners he would be 77 years old if he was 23 when he got his Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery qualification, which is about the usual age.
  4. He doesn’t appear to have an ordinary email address or email form.

Rather off-putting stuff one would have thought – yet he still seems to have a busy practice!!!

It would be easy to ask, “How does this sort of thing happen?”

But there’s an obvious answer. People are not going to the internet and taking the 4 or 5 minutes it takes to put together the information we’ve set out above, before they start using doctors. Readers, it’s never going to get any easier to do this sort of “homework.”

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RateMDs.com 2

Some years ago, the organisation based in Toronto, Canada, which is behind the RateMDs.com website, was taken over by a new organisation.

Before that takeover, health care providers could provide responses to ratings on them on the site, but after the takeover, this seemed to be no longer the case – something which we regarded, at the time, as a very bad step backwards. But now it seems that this is the case again – see this example.

We regard the fact that this seems to be the case again as EXTREMELY significant, for two reasons.

Firstly, it’s obviously a much fairer system this way, health care professionals have much less reason to complain about the site. But secondly, it seems that we can take much more notice of poor ratings if there has been no attempts to respond to them, and perhaps much less notice of them if there has been good responses.

Query: Is this how it is with Google ratings?

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Choosing a Sydney ENT Specialist

These days, when looking for the best specialist for us to at least have an initial consultation with, we ourselves send out emails to a number of those who we think may be able to help us in which we outline the problems we are experiencing and asking whether they could provide us with a yes or no answer as to whether helping people with these problems are within their areas of expertise.

Of course it’s important to us to get a yes or no answer – we think it’s madness to consider consulting a specialist if we haven’t got a yes answer to our question from them, in writing. But we also think that getting good answers to our emails from specialists indicate three things that are also VERY important:-

  1. That they are into communicating and are capable in doing it – many doctors aren’t good at communicating when you’re sitting right in front of them.
  2. That they or someone in their employ has the job of providing reasonable responses to reasonable emails, EXTREMELY important if you are to go on and become one of their patients.
  3. That they are prepared to stand behind what they do or say – it’s much harder to not stand behind things that have been put in writing.

We’ve found that if we send out 20 such emails, we’ll get 1 reply, if not 2 or 3, (and, of course, that’s all we need,) in which the specialist comes over as perhaps well worth having an initial consultation with, and that almost invariably this is how it turns out.

To help ourselves and our readers to do this we’ve started putting together lists of specialists with their email address, our latest one being for ENT specialists, which you can view by using this link. You can go to it and use it to send out your emails.

We find that, when you’ve got the email addresses, it only takes about half an hour to send out 20 emails . And, of course, it only takes the specialist a few seconds to provide a yes or a no.

The Bible says, “By their deeds ye shall know them.” And we’ve also found, “By their emails ye shall know them.”

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Miscellaneous Comments

Part of an email we got today from one of our readers:-

(According to this Wikipedia article, the FDA is the US agency – with over 14,000 employees in 2010, the latest figures available – which decides which food and drug products are approved and which are knocked back.)

We read once that some tablets/pills that cost $1,200 in the US can be bought for $5 in India – admittedly a pretty extreme example.

It reminds us of an email we got a few years ago from a Professor of Economics in the US – “I’m 73 and should be retired. But, in the US, any nest egg you have can be gone in a flash if you have any health problems, and so I keep working. It’s a strange culture we live in.”

A VERY strange culture!!! if you have to pay $1,200 for tablets/pills that can be bought for $5 in India!

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Miscellaneous comments

We wouldn’t like this bloke’s job, Cameron Dick, the Queensland Minister for Health’s job, trying to convince “the people” that Queensland’s hospitals are “safe,” in the face of a report that has emerged claiming that, in these hospitals, “72 per cent of the 7613 surgical patient death between July 2007 and June 2016 were considered PREVENTABLE!” – see this article.

And in the face of these estimates on the Australia wide picture:-

But he has soldiered on regardless, telling the people, “We have a strong safety regime in place, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be stronger.”

Apparently, he has plans to include private hospitals in more reporting requirements as they “are excluded from a number of reporting requirements,” at present.

Good luck with this Mr Dick! In our experience private hospitals like Ramsay private hospitals don’t feel answerable to anybody about anything.

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Miscellaneous comments

When a letter was emailed to a particular Ear Nose and Throat Specialist asking if helping with some problems with the throat which someone was experiencing was within their areas of expertise, a reply came back saying no, that this particular specialist specialised in “rhinology”

So could it be that we don’t have Ear Nose and Throat Specialists these days – we have Ear Specialists, Nose Specialists and Throat Specialists?

(It reminds one of the old joke about, “Which nostril?”)

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