Last week I received a desperate call from a dear friend who had been visited a few days earlier by two such young men. They questioned her at great length and asked what she considered to be highly personal and inappropriate questions. They were she felt impatient and discourteous; they made her feel very uncomfortable and ill at ease and she eventually asked them to leave.
The result of this unfortunate visit, was that my friend who was last assessed eight years ago when it was considered that due to her severe disability following a serious accident, she should receive 24 hours home care each week, is that now her support has been cut by 16 hours at the recommendation of these clearly inexperienced young men. She will now only receive 8 hours help and assistance which prompted her distressed call to me.
Neither she nor I can understand why when she is considerably older, frail and less able than she was eight years ago, that this latest assessment indicates that she requires less help. This is a lady who can do little for herself; since the accident she walks with great difficulty, much pain with the aid of a Zimmer frame to get around her small bungalow.
I know we are living in the age of ‘equality’ but I believe it is quite unacceptable for a situation to arise such as this. One of the assessors should have been a woman, and it would surely have been more appropriate had one been of a more mature age. It is quite inconceivable that these 20 and 30 year old young men could have any idea of the needs of a severely disabled elderly lady in her late eighties.
Councils and agencies do need to make severe cuts to their annual budgets. However, I do not consider it appropriate that the generation who worked so hard throughout their active lives, saved and until they reached a mature age have cost the National Health and the country very little, should be treated in such a cavalier manner. There are plenty of areas where cuts can be made but this generation should be ring fenced as untouchable.
*I hope that among the recommendations which Lord Young of Graffam made when taking a red pen to the Health and Safety rules was one which will stop councils requiring ridiculous assessments before towns, villages and any other public body or organisation are allowed to erect a Christmas tree.
To hear reports that some councils are demanding a 32 page risk assessment, official maps indicating the location of the trees and the number of lights on them, letters sent to local residents informing them that ‘a tree will be erected at such a time and date’, plus a copy of public liability, is a complete nonsense. Such rules and regulations help nobody, make no one safer and should be scrapped.
I suspect whole departments of councils and other authorities are devoted to policing such ‘hazardous’ events and I think these would be a very good place to start ‘cost cutting’!
*The recent snow caused all kinds of difficulties and the authorities appear to have been caught out once again. I have sympathy for those whose job it is to keep the roads, rail and airports operational; it is unusual here in the south for so much snow to fall so quickly and heavily.
It is not economically sound planning to have all the appropriate costly snow moving equipment ready and waiting for such an event. It would be hugely expensive and we could well face years without such conditions occurring.
It is difficult for everyone to deal with the adverse conditions and I feel very sorry for those who have not been able to get to vital engagements, holidays, interviews, take exams and miss vital hospital appointments. However, we should I think realise that we cannot always expect instant service and assume everything will at all times run like clockwork. When we occasionally face difficult days with hazards and delays it does make us appreciate modern conveniences when things return to normal.
When councils reassess their options and requirements for future years, with the possibility of heavy snow, they could purchase snow blades which could be distributed to the local farming community who will willingly fit them to their tractors to help to keep the roads clear. This would be far cheaper than purchasing mechanical snow ploughs which could lie around unused for years.
There have been reports of farmers being told not to clear snow from the roads as their tractors run on red diesel. Surely if they are offering a service to their local community this should be overlooked. I wonder if the people from these obscure departments who are preventing farmers offering a valuable service realise that there have been local farmers working throughout the recent frozen nights helping to clear the runway at Gatwick Airport! I think a little more practicality and common sense is required at certain levels of government.
Carola Godman Law
8th December 2010