Some weeks the world doesn't make sense. This has been one of them. In an Orwellian twist of logic, health districts across the state have been ordered to cut their spending so the NSW government can pay for promised - wait for it - improvements to health.
"Freedom is slavery." "War is peace." "Ignorance is strength." These were the slogans employed by the regime in Orwell's 1984. "Less is more" was the reasoning trotted out to justify taking a scalpel to health districts' budgets.
We saw one of those cuts in action here in the Shoalhaven, with a mean spirited instruction to hospital staff to no longer order toothpaste, toothbrushes and shampoo for patients. Regular reports would be generated, staff were told in a head office memo, to show if such items were ordered through online suppliers.
Yet, when we asked straighforward questions about how many new nurses had been hired since the state election in March, we were told it was too early to break down the numbers and, anyway, the health district doesn't keep track of election commitments.
Essentially, the health district is telling us it can track toothpaste purchases but not how many staff it pays each week and whether that number has grown.
When we questioned the planned Christmas shutdown of the sub-acute mental health unit at Shoalhaven Hospital, the director of mental health said she was unsure of the exact numbers but was confident only one person needed the unit during the 2018 shutdown.
When we asked how many patients were transferred from Shoalhaven to Shellharbour for acute mental health treatment, that data was not available.
When we asked about the expansion of mental health services in the master plan for the hospital upgrade and the figures on which the business case was based, we were told that data was unavailable too.
So on the one hand, we're told there's insufficient demand to keep the mental health unit open over Christmas but there's enough demand to expand mental health services as part of the much-touted hospital upgrade.
Toothpaste and shampoo purchases can be tracked but patient demand can't? It doesn't add up.
If, as it would appear, the health bureaucracy is taking an ignorance-is-strength approach to firewall itself from scutiny and criticism, it is mistaken.
The questions will just keep coming.