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Crisis in care. Who cares?

Journalist Alison Holt investigated the crisis in care in a 2-part panorama programme in May.

This devastating exposé focused on four families in Somerset, living with someone with complex care needs and the problems of the local council in fulfilling its duty to meet them.

The lives of the people she met are being ruined by government cuts.

Their stories in brief…

 ‘Martine is only 37 and confined to bed from Arthritis that has flared up after she had triplets a few years ago. Her uncomplaining husband, David, has been ground down by constant caring for his wife and their three children. Because he is self-employed, they need more help during the day, so he doesn’t have to come home every two hours.’

But there is no money for that!

‘Rachel’s mother has severe dementia, and the one place that could manage her for two days care a week is closing.’

Budgets cut by two thirds, so no money!

‘Katy is fighting for her 558-year-old uncle, Paul, who has Down’s syndrome and a variety of other conditions. He really needed the specialised placement he was granted after his mother died. However, the placement was withdrawn.’

Again, there is no money!

‘Michael has dementia and encephalitis and requires round the clock supervision. Council carers come in for 42 hours a week (6 hours per day at £18 per hour). The rest is provided by his devoted partner, Barbara, whose health is now suffering. She recently needed to be admitted to hospital but wouldn’t leave him.’ As a comparison, we charge £16.50 per hour which includes fees & vat!

No money to help them.

‘By the end of the year, this Council is having to find savings of £13m out of its already meagre budget of £140m.’

This is happening everywhere!

David Attenborough has decided to stop presenting the ‘Wonders of the Natural World’ in the hope that humanity will stop destroying them. Instead, he is now speaking out against environmental destruction. Are we not now at the point when social affairs programmes must go beyond raising consciousness of the latest horror and start calling the perpetrators to account?

There are precious few other ways, it seems, for increasingly vulnerable victims to fight back. Those of a certain age like myself will recall The Who singing ‘I hope I die before I get old’ in 1965. It was written in the spirit of rebellious affectation but now sounds, for their generation, like a heartfelt prayer.

 Article taken from Lucy Mangle 29th May – Guardian Newspaper


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