Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Plane whistleblowing


Flying by Seat of Pants by, er, Pants


It was a dream headline - Flying doctors illegally shipped drugs for 20 years.

Oh joy, oh glee. Finally some intrigue. I'm smacking my lips with narcotic delight at the thought of our esteemed aerial medical service being exposed as the catalyst for drug addiction in remote communities and a major player in international crime.

It makes perfect sense. They're flying around the country with Class A impunity. And, well, it would certainly be very convenient to blame them since nothing seems to be going right in outback health services. I read on eagerly,

'The Federal Government has stepped in after it was revealed the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has been in breach of the federal (sic) Crimes Act for the past 20 years.'

Mmm. Well, it is the 'Royal' Flying Doctor Service we're talking about here. Perhaps there's a particular protocol that kicks in when one of Her Majesty's special services falls foul of not-quite-rightness in the legal sense, like over-cosiness with certain Latin American-based cartels for e.g.

We are prepared to extend courtesy. We can never know when we ourselves might be stranded on a quad bike on an insanely ill-conceived media junket in the middle of a desert with the Leader of the Opposition and might need, and indeed be grateful for, some RFDS Mercurochrome, or maybe even something a little stronger. We continue reading with the openest of minds,

'The organisation was unaware it was illegal to distribute high-grade painkillers such as morphine (sic) and pethidine (sic) via Australia Post.'

Illegal to send narcotics via parcel post? News to us here at Seat of Pants. Barney - are you streaming?

'The Government will make changes to the Act to allow the service to re-stock (sic) its remote medicine chests.'

Jolly good show that. Hang on a mo, isn't this news story about planes and drugs? Apparently not,

'The Federal Minister for Rural and Regional Health, Warren Snowdon, said it was imperative the Government acted (sic) swiftly to ensure people would be looked after in medical emergencies.'

Oh, so the story is about hospitals,

"We needed to get a change to the Crimes Act effectively to make it OK for Australia Post to handle these sorts of drugs on behalf of the RFDS," he said.

And Postman Pat.

Now, I'm really lost. You mean to tell me that it would take an Act of Parliament to allow our Royal Flying Doctor Service to pop a few Pethidines in the post for registered doctors to administer to people who'd been half-eaten by a crocodile?

So, how exactly do drugs legally get to surgeries if not via a registered delivery service? Just asking.