Pictured at the Horses Helping Humans property in the Gold Coast hinterland are (l-r) Narelle van Egmond, Scottish born jockey Gina Mitchell, badly injured in a race fall, and program founder Sue Spence.

Equine therapy is becoming an increasingly popular support for young people who have experienced significant trauma, neglect or difficult life circumstances. Robin Osborne meets the ‘horse whisperer’ who helped found the program

Apart from talking horse Mr Ed, star of a 1960s sit-com, horses are not known for their conversational skills, but they are astute readers – not of books but of human emotions.

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village
Joanna Nell
Hachette


The main characters of this romantic comedy set in a retirement village are 79-year-old widow Peggy Smart and her love interest the debonair Brian. Their quiet lives will be changed dramatically when Peggy’s old school friend, Angie, turns up.
The author, a Sydney GP, extracts genuine humour from everyday health issues: “Naturally, a professional man like Brian had had both his knees replaced in a private hospital under a double-barrelled surgeon. On the other hand, Peggy had gone public for hers. Her specialist had had only one surname, and she’d shared a bay with another lady who screamed all night.”  

International comparative studies put Australia near the top of OECD nations for health care systems. The 2017 Commonwealth Fund study ranked Australia second after the UK, using five parameters. We led the other countries on administrative efficiency and health care outcomes, and ranked second on “care process”.

Health has been the fastest growing sector in the economy for over 15 years, accounting for 10% of GDP and 13% of the total workforce. Despite this, government health care expenditure is only slightly above the OECD average.

A few days after the Lismore script-in-hand reading of a play about bullying and other abuses faced by health care professionals, the NSW government released a damning survey showing the state’s public health system is stricken with exactly the problems discussed in the play.
Grace Under Pressure was developed from in-depth interviews with doctors and nurses about their experiences of training and working in hospitals. It was written and directed by David Williams, with dramaturg Paul Dwyer, in collaboration with the Sydney Arts & Health Collective.

A NSW government survey of more than 65,600 public health employees has reported a “toxic culture of bullying and harassment” that has seen more than one-in-three staff witnessing bullying in the past year, one-in-five (over 13,700 health workers) experiencing bullying behaviour, and one-in-20 being subjected to physical harm and/or sexual harassment or abuse at work.
These alarming statistics were reported in the health cluster focus of the NSW Public Service Commission’s “People Matter Employee Survey 2018”. However, according to NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard the results were “better than ever” [dropping four percentage points since 2016] but showed “more needs to be done’’.