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Locking down NSW: Go harder Gladys. Now.

By Jonathan J. Ariel - posted Monday, 9 August 2021

Here's a question.

What do folk seeking a diagnosis and treatment plan from certain medical specialists have in common with those living under lockdown in parts of Sydney and are acting socially irresponsibly?

More than you'd think.


And I should know, having recently emptied my wallet seeking advice for an illness from a specialist in a leading Sydney hospital for a sleeping disorder, only to be blithely offered a prescription for a benzodiazepine (Tamazepam). Rejecting that offer, as the drug can become addictive, I was then recommended a tricyclic antidepressant (Amitriptyline), which I was told in low doses would lead to some shut eye.

The above two drugs were prescribed after some cursory questioning and without a formal inquiry into my sleep architecture, let alone investigating why I sleep very poorly. That is, how long does it take me to get to sleep and how long do I stay asleep? Why do I awake no less than half a dozen times at night? Eschewing the physician's suggestion that I take either drug daily for a month and only then if I still have a sleeping problem would he consideran investigation to get to the root of the disorder, I decided to find a less lazy physician who, if opposed to my request for a diagnostic sleep study, would at least review my clinical history thoroughly in addition to my current symptoms and then pony up robust, verifiable and defensible reasons why he's/she's decided to deny me the sleep study.

In the event, I found another sleep physician, who agreed that an inquiry was warranted and arranged a sleep study at Sydney's very fine Royal North Shore Hospital. The study confirmed my suspicions: I sleep for 4 hrs a night and am up 8 times a night. Why, is the question.

The first physician's assessment of my illness was, frankly, a non assessment. It was a lazy, cut and paste job in prescribing one drug and then another which may resolve my symptoms. No different in application to the generic clampdown imposed on say, SW Sydney. A clampdown similar to that which was earlier shoehorned on the burghers of the Northern Beaches, but with wildly different results.

Both the first physician (and Team Gladys) did not ask the right questions: what is the unique history of the patient (and community) which if known, may well yield a different diagnosis and require an alternative treatment plan? In the case of "heavily" locked down SW Sydney, the virulent Delta strain coexists with the lowest vaccination rates in Australia's biggest city: 14.6% (fully)and 33.1 (first dose). Why, is the question.

Ideally bureaucrats will ponder what it is about the demography of SW Sydney that is responsible for the appallingly low vaccination rates. Compare that with say Sydney's very Anglo Northern Beaches citizenry whose vaccination rates are 20.9% (fully) and 47.7% (first dose). Is the gulf between Sydney's NE and SW communities:




The contrasting attitudes to government and/or to those enforcing the law?

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About the Author

Jonathan J. Ariel is an economist and financial analyst. He holds a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management. He can be contacted at

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