Tag Archives: Private Eye

The Alzheimer’s Society – Sick Joke?

In March 2011, I wrote here of Private Eye’s  disturbing piece about the way in which the Alzheimer’s Society had closed down 240 regional branch committees, merging them into large regional centres, and then apparently seizing control of all the funds in those branches, and also branch property.  (No. 1284; 18 March 2011 – 31 March 2011; page 30.)  The Alzheimer’s Society didn’t care enough to reply to Private Eye’ article Fund razing, as far as I can see.

The Alzheimer’s Society funds, operates and manages an “online support and discussion forum, for anyone affected by dementia. It’s a place to ask for advice, share information, join in discussions and feel supported.”  Allegedly.  The forum is currently sponsored by Santander, with Tesco somewhere in the background, plus a few other sources of funding.  Probably Bupa, and many other care providers.

There was quite some discussion here on the Alzheimer’s Society forum about the closure of local branch committees and seizing of funds from local branches.  168 postings in total, so a fairly lengthy thread on the forum, with many questions being asked but many soft-fudge replies being given by the Alzheimer’s Society.  Then, before you could blink, the thread was locked, closed to further comment, because long-serving and loyal members of Talking Point – the name given to the so-called ‘support and discussion forum’ – were not happy about the platitudes being dished out to them by the Alzheimer’s Society.  They were confused, upset, fed up and disgruntled.   Many of them no longer support the Alzheimer’s Society or post on Talking Point.

A few weeks later, Private Eye (No. 1289; 27 May – 9 June 2011; page 30) reported that even more volunteers were being driven away from the Charity, with new breakaway groups emerging.  One group apparently wrote to the Alzheimer’s Society complaining that it was “utterly unacceptable and unforgiveable to write in such disdainfully bureacratic terms to anyone, let alone a group of women who have given so much of their time, energy and devotion to the very society you represent”.  Alun Parry-Jones, a former Alzheimer’s Society committee member was the chair of that breakaway group.  He also said “the society should be ashamed of driving out ‘the expertise and dedication of this group of stalwarts’.”   That piece was published in Private Eye under the banner Voluntary redundancy.

Again, the Alzheimer’s Society didn’t care enough to comment.

Now, Private Eye features a piece on the £2.4m given to the Alzheimer’s Society to train one million ‘dementia friends’.  The Eye (No. 1328; 30 November – 12 December 2012; page 30) headlines its piece with the words Sick joke.  Ernie Thompson, who started the old Sunderland branch in 1987, said “That the Society is now being paid to find new volunteers as dementia friends looks to me like a sick joke.  It was what we had been doing for years – only to be summarily dismissed”.

I wonder whether the Alzheimer’s Society will care enough to comment on that one.

It appears that the Alzheimer’s Society neither supports nor wants freedom of thought and actions where dementia is concerned.  It only supports freedoms that the Alzheimer’s Society finds acceptable.  The Alzheimer’s Society is strangling its members.  There is now even an unbelievable attempt to control the way people write their posts on its Talking Point forum.  Posts are edited behind the scenes without prior discussion with the writer of the posts, and often leaving no visible trace of the reasons for editing; words are changed or removed from posts without discussion; mention of moderators’ actions is not allowed; people are gagged when they dare attempt genuine discussion.

Salaried employees of the Alzheimer’s Society are paid to delete all mention of tragedies such as Winterbourne View.  Every single mention of Winterbourne View has been edited out – and there were many.  The words “Winterbourne View” no longer appear on any post on that forum.  The disgust felt by reasonable people when the tragedy of Winterbourne View became known has been the catalyst for potentially huge improvements in the way care is provided to vulnerable people.  But it never happened, as far as the Alzheimer’s Society’s online support forum is concerned.  Terry Bryan would be more than upset, I fear, and rightly so.

Censorship has deleted Winterbourne View.  Alongside many other things deleted by the Alzheimer’s Society.

Is that another Sick joke on the part of the Alzheimer’s Society?

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The long and uncaring road to justice for those neglected in care

The latest edition of Private Eye (No 1288) arrived this morning, and a quick read plus a couple of hours spent researching and reading further have proved most revealing. The home stretch (article heading!) may be somewhat encouraging, but then you discover that the wheels of justice have all but ground to a halt.  (Sorry, no link available to the article because it’s subscription only!)  But I hope the Eye won’t object to a brief quote:

“Nine years after formal complaints were first made about neglect and abuse of elderly residents of Lynde House, run at the time by Chai “Diddums” Patel’s Westminster “Care” Homes, the case against two nurses rumbles on – occasionally.

The adjourned disciplinary hearing is not due to resume until the end of July, with other dates listed in November and clearly no chance of reaching a conclusion until  next year.”

According to the Eye – allegedly!

Why has this case caught my attention?  Because I’m only 4 years along a similar road.

A little digging unearthed the Lynde House Independent Investigation Report from May 2002.  Plus a whole host of related information, through each year almost from 2002 to the present.

Jay Rayner from 2002 – A home unfit for heroes in the Guardian.

2005 report on Dr Chai Patel and the GMC disciplinary hearing Care home head denies misconduct – BBC

2008 Lexology allows everyone to see how long and winding is the road to justice, open to manipulation, in the best interests of ….. well, it doesn’t take long to work that one out, but it’s not in the best interests of care home residents who are at risk, their families or their supporters.

If anyone can tell me what has changed since 2002, I would be enormously grateful.

Why am I denied access to a Report produced by an Independent Consultant – commissioned by the Mental Health Care of Older People team but then snatched by the Local Authority as their own property –  into the neglect and subsequent death of my relative at risk in care?

Why is that report concealed behind the closed doors of the powerful but pathetic Local Authority?  The Lynde House Investigation Report bears such enormous similarities and is available in the public domain.

Why is a local authority able to provide such a barrier to justice, protecting itself and its Care provider in the UK?

Why is a Care provider in the UK able to provide such a barrier to justice?

Do they have more to hide than we know?

Am I likely to be required to spend a further 5 years of my life trying to achieve that thing we call justice?    If anyone reading this has any words of wisdom to offer me, I will be for ever in your debt and you will be for ever on my seasonal greetings list.

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Alzheimer’s Society – a peculiar kind of charity?

There’s a disturbing piece in the current issue of Private Eye (No.  1284; 18 March 2011 – 31 March 2011; ‘In the Back’ section; page 30) about the Alzheimer’s Society.

The article’s not available online, only an online taster:

Dementia Care – Fear and loathing at the Alzheimer’s Society as volunteers reject the charity’s new-found “professionalisation”, saying it ignores local needs.

According to the article, volunteers who have been fundraising for years via local Alzheimer’s Society branches are now leaving to start their own breakaway groups.  It would appear that the Alzheimer’s Society decided to abolish 240 branch committees, merging them into large regional centres, and the Society has apparently seized control of all the funds within those branches, and also the branch property.

If the content of the Private Eye article is accurate – and it is rare for The Eye to get it wrong! – it is shocking.

The Eye states:

In addition, some members who challenged decisions of their new managers were treated appallingly, sometimes locked out of the premises they had run for years.

One is Ernie Thompson, who started the Sunderland branch in 1987 and chaired it until it had an annual turnover of around £400,000.  His reward for years of unpaid work?  Changed locks and “everything ransacked and seized”, he says.

So much for charity!  David Cameron must  be invited to say whether this strange action on the part of a dementia charity falls within or without The Big Society.

No wonder Fund razing is Private Eye’s chosen headline.

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Care homes ‘closed’ for poor standards remain open

And then another story flashes before my eyes.  BBC News brings the chilling words that Care homes ‘closed’ for poor standards remain open.

Failing care homes which were officially closed down have been allowed to continue operating.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) claimed 93 homes and agencies were shut in the past year due to poor ratings.

But a BBC investigation has found a dozen were still open under the same ownership.

The CQC admitted errors, but said it was determined to clamp down on providers where there is a risk of neglect or abuse.

In some cases the regulator had allowed homes to close and then reopen on the same day, if the home applied to do so, which they can under the current rules. Damning reports about their past records were then removed from the CQC’s website, so potential residents and their relatives could no longer read them.

The ‘regulator’, the CQC, sanctions the removal from its own website of damning reports about the past failings of care homes, and then allows those same so-called care homes to continue to operate.  I  had little faith in the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI).  I tried to find something that would allow me to place my trust in the Care Quality Commission (CQC).    My loyalty, faith and trust in one particular Care Provider went out of the window long ago, in spite of the repeated assertions that came my way that our experience was not the ‘norm’ for that care provider. They’re all in this together, to borrow a phrase.

BBC programme this evening File on 4 at 2000 is unlikely to restore my faith in this world of care.  Care Homes: When An Inspector Calls.

For those who read Private Eye – have a look at No. 1275 – page 29 – CQC no evil – care home closures.  Read how the CQC squirmed (same Eye, page 15 Letters) when found out.  And then go back to Eye no. 1274.  Sorry, I can’t post a link to it because it’s pay-to-view only.  Thank you, Private Eye!

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