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16 Feb 2017

We all know this concept. It usually means something bad happens, and a door we wish stayed open didn't and it slams closed. Sometimes trapping our fingers, hurting, as that treasured door closes. There usually is an element of surprise, lack of control, unfairness and pain.

A door closes: Health Minister Sussan Ley is forced into resignation last month, someone dear to us dies or leaves us, we receive a life-threatening diagnosis, a critical appointment is missed.

During these painful events, it is hard to see the upside. Instead we feel loss, betrayal, grief. We live in the spiralling thought loops of what if and if only. We mire in the past. We go through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief (denial, bargaining, anger, depression, acceptance).

One door closing: Sussan Ley, such a public and painful door going SLAM. This surprise, it caught her at the side of her face. It caught us all by surprise. The pain of leaving a ministry with projects on the table, her heart in those projects. The pain in the altruism of stepping back so the distraction of an inquiry would not glue up her Ministry. The disappointment for us in the AMA and rural Australia for losing a Minister with a strong rural background.

A door opens: something better happens, events that could not possibly occur if that other door did not close. It does not feel like it right now but through the open door there is safety, laughter, optimism, a new adventure. During this phase, we cannot see much past the door, it is uncharted territory. Hindsight is 20-20 but the future is like looking through a mist.

The Health Ministry door opens: new Minister Greg Hunt. We have gained the man who received last year the Inaugural Best Minister in the World award at the World Government Summit. The criteria for this award is innovation, leadership, impact and reputation. He has a vested interest in mental health, has played a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions, he is passionate in his view to create the best health care system in the world.

A collateral consequence of this Ministry shuffle is new Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt. This heralds the appointment of the first Indigenous person to be appointed to the Commonwealth Ministry. Congratulations Ken.

Rural Doctors note: Gastroenterologist Dr David Gillespie, our champion, the Assistant Minister of Rural Health has now been titled Assistant Minister of Health.

In the meantime, the Farrer electorate gets Sussan Ley's undivided attention, hopefully less stress in her own stomping grounds. Thrive, Sussan.

For those of you who have had a door closed, I wish for you a future a hundred times better when you pass through the new open door.

BY DR SANDRA HIROWATARI, CHAIR, AMA COUNCIL OF RURAL DOCTORS

 


Published: 16 Feb 2017