Dr Roderick Bain MBBS FRCA FANZCA
Gentlemen and Ladies,
I enter the discussion, at this time, with some trepidation. Despite my determined efforts to gain a positive result for the Intergenerational Health Study aka V.V. Family Health Study, I will be seen by someone as an advocate for the DVA; when nothing can be further from the truth. The only client I advocate for is the serving and ex-serving person and their families. That, I can promise you, gets me a sufficiently high official disapproval rating without taking on any other causes.
Now all interested parties must be very clear in their own minds about what the VVFHS is trying to achieve and not mix it up with the way DVA has chosen to go about implementing it; as seems to be the case with a number of writers to date.
1. This is a world first study. No one has ever done this type of work study before. All previous research done on these various topics does not cover the brief given to the VVFHS group. Be very clear in your own minds about that. I could go into greater detail but you would be asleep in under 60 seconds. Be it sufficient to say we’re looking at many potential topics. Eg. epigenetics and how this could be playing a roll in inherited outcomes in service families. Go look it up!
2. $13.5M has been set aside specifically for this study and a similar prospective smaller one for current serving troops. It will be spent on this study whether we like the methodology or not and whether there is a useable result at the end or not. Be that end eight years away or whenever. I want a useable result and that can ONLY come about if we have a sufficient number of participants. Therefore go and register as requested. Pretend I’m begging you and not some government department.
3. The work will be done by tertiary University bodies who tendered for the studies and are yet to be selected. The research work will not be done in house by the DVA.
4. The Repatriation Commissioner Chairs an Advisory Committee of interested and effected persons, to which I belong and on which I intend to remain. None of us; I repeat none of us is in complete agreement with what has occurred so far but we do believe that the way forward is to work with the various research groups and DVA to achieve the best outcome possible for the family health study.
5. One of our committee members has had to resign for family reasons and took the opportunity to underline to the other members, the Minister and the Chairman what she felt were the short comings of the procedural methods so far. There is little in what she said that any of the members disagreed with; however, we MUST work through any bureaucratic rigidity we encounter and not as the committee retreat like a spoilt child.
6. To refuse, if requested, to even participate in the VV Family Health Study is unworthy of any Army person I’ve met. You can be unhappy about it, resentful maybe but belligerent, never. This study is not just about ourselves and our families, which is reason enough to be in it; but will finally be the model for the generations of Australian Defence Force personnel who will follow.
7. The advisory committee is there to be consulted, to be your watchdog and act on your behalf when you express disquiet. We will, however, not stand, idly by and squander this one opportunity, presented to us by government, that can deliver a positive outcome to long suffering military families both of this and future generations.
8. All the information you need to be aware of at this stage of proceedings for registration is available at the following site and phone in centre.
Dr Roderick Bain MBBS FRCA FANZCA