Thank you, Tim Farron Lib-Dem MP, for your recent use of the word ‘toxic’ when describing some Tory MPs and parts of this peculiar Coalition government for which we did not vote and so did not elect. I share your concerns, also about the ‘behind closed doors’ arrangements that failed to feature in the pre-election sales pitch to which we were treated. And, yes, I think you have already been ‘politically compromised’, Mr Farron. There’s a far less politically correct phrase I could use, but were I to do so my language would sink to the low level attacks that flow from the mouths of some Tory MPs – Michael Gove and Andrew Lansley to name but two – in their attempts to respond to questions in the House of Commons.
So, Tim Farron’s unexpected prompt to consider the word ‘toxic’ and the various definitions of ‘toxic’ and ‘toxicity’ is enabling me to see more clearly. To see and to understand better what happened in my own experience of dementia care in the UK, courtesy of a well-known local authority and a well-known care provider.
- A toxic substance is one that is capable of causing injury or damage to a living organism, especially one that is vulnerable.
- A toxic substance is one that can cause death, abnormalities or disease in an organism, especially one that is vulnerable.
- Toxicity is the degree to which a substance is able to damage an exposed organism, especially one that is vulnerable.
- Toxic assets played a fairly significant part in the recent and ongoing financial crisis, resulting now in proposals for drastic changes to everything some of us have ever cared about, and over which we will have no democratic voice.
- Toxic = poisonous = deadly.
And my own favourite and particularly personal definition:
- Toxicity = toxic or poisonous quality, especially in relation to its degree or strength.
As long as you remember that the word ‘quality’ can just mean a characteristic, rather than a measure of value, and as long as you remember that ‘strength’ is one of those changeable qualities, you’ll see where I’m coming from. But maybe not where I’m heading.
Tim Farron’s ‘cover’ is also something with which I can identify– except that I might need to add the word ‘up’. There’s not much difference though; they both conceal.
Anyone up for a ‘toxic contract’? This time in Derbyshire, at the Barlborough Treatment Centre, where “NHS bosses have been forced to pay out more than £8m to end a contract with a controversial independent Derbyshire hospital.”
“Over the last five years it received £21.9m from health trusts in Derby and the rest of the county – but carried out only £15.1m-worth of surgery on local patients.
The Telegraph revealed in January this year that the NHS had decided to end its contract with Barlborough operators Care UK and seek a contractor who would be paid on a patient-by-patient basis instead.
Last month it was announced that the new deal – for 30 years – had also been awarded to Care UK.
But now the Telegraph has discovered that the NHS is paying a further £8.2m to Care UK to buy the centre, with Care UK as a tenant.”
Yes, I’ve mentioned this contract before; it will no doubt surface again at some point in my future.
The words ‘not fit for purpose’ are words I’ve used often in my as yet incomplete struggle to understand the peculiar world of dementia care in the UK, as experienced by my relative and by me. Toxic would have been a far more fitting description. But when there emerges a peculiar coalition of potentially destructive forces, each in their own right, then you may achieve a toxicity that had not previously been envisaged.
- Take one toxic local authority;
- add an enormous dose of a toxic mental health care of older people team;
- add months in a grim and extremely toxic assessment unit, where the toxic staff could have done with a full assessment;
- stir fiercely but don’t shake yet;
- then add an unexpected dollop of a toxic care home provider;
- the real shaking comes in a toxic care home,
- with the lethal brew administered by the toxic staff.
As I continue to understand the toxicity of it all, so I will begin to remove the cover.