Johann Hari, journalist and columnist at The Independent, has come up with a 10-point manifesto to transform the shabby system of care of the elderly in place at present.
Very recently, he wrote an extremely moving account of the last ten years of his grandmother’s life in care, as she suffered atrocious treatment in various care homes. His article – My grandmother deserved a better ending than this – was apparently the catalyst for the tsunami of emails he received from relatives of people in care homes and from care workers, all sharing their own experiences.
Today Hari cries out again in The Independent, with a list of proposals that some people may think are unnecessary, judging by some of the fatuous comments on his previous article. But sadly, some of us know only too well how essential this manifesto is – and how long we have been waiting for it.
I do so hope that he will attract more attention than those of us who have been pleading for years now, begging the ‘authorities’ to take positive action to improve the care system. But our cries were bootless.
Please listen, world, please listen now. Trust us, believe us, listen to us, hear what we have to say and improve the system once and for all.
It’s not necessary for me to comment on the ten ‘Acts’ of Johann Hari’s plan. But I applaud each and every one of them. If I could add just one further point to your plan, Johann, it would be one single acronym for the care system to acknowledge and to live by:
HOT as in HONEST OPEN TRUTHFUL
Be honest – be open – be truthful. Because so far, our so-called care system has been far from HOT. It has been frozen into inactivity. Heartless, uncaring, and deaf.
I’ve tried to do my bit to improve some of the Acts too, as have so many people before and since. I failed miserably in part, because the might of the local authority is great. As is the might of the mental health care of older people team, able to engage and pay for massive amounts of legal advice when I challenged the shoddy standards of that particular mental health care of older people team, and their ‘convenient’ interpretation, use and abuse of the Mental Capacity Act. (I’m still working on ‘others’ involved.)
That legal advice was all paid for from the public purse, of course. The tax payer and the Council tax payer paid the price of that. All to preserve the dignity and reputation of the local authority, the care home provider, the CQC/CSCI, and the reputation of all the other weasels involved.
My relative paid the ultimate price.
I would have preferred the ‘authorities’ to have spent that money on care, rather than on legal advice to protect their puffed-up selves – and to protect the puffed-up care provider.
Where were you then, Paul Burstow? Neither you nor your predecessor was willing to listen then. You are all there when it comes to talking about money and funding, but you’re strangely absent when it comes to the discussion of care standards and quality of care.
The CQC/CSCI is blind, deaf and toothless.
The policy in place to protect vulnerable adults from abuse carried the name ‘No secrets’ – but secrets is precisely what the authorities operate, preserve and protect. In their own best interests – but not in the best interests of the vulnerable adults.
We should be ashamed that such a manifesto is necessary – but it is absolutely essential. We are supposed to be civilised – but we are not.