I took this photo myself one morning.
I wrote this almost a year ago, and never got around to putting it up because there wasn’t much of a perosnal connection. Then, over the last few months, someone very close to me had their support massively cut. I helped fight it, and all the time we fought it, we knew that if we won, it would only mean that some other borderline case would have their support cut. We won, but I feel deeply deeply sad about the whole thing.
In my younger days I lived with someone who had the worst job in the world that I could conceive
She worked for a particular admin branch of the NHS. Doctors can give eight weeks notice to take leave, but patients were booked into their clinics about 12 weeks in advance. So doctors would take leave and the clinic would flag up as cancelled and my friend had the job of ringing people to tell them the appointment was cancelled.
All day. Every day.
And the thing that she found really sad, where the people who just accepted it. Who just meekly said “okay”. The people who shouted and screamed until they got transferred to a manager would eventually be given a better slot, but the people who accepted it would get nothing.
We’ve ended up with a health and social care system that bribes its way out of change. I’m not cynical enough to suggest that there are people actively engineering it, but the organizational organism best reflects the set of factors it works under.
We as a country have a lot of social care to do and not enough money to do it. Going bankrupt is not an option. So we cut every corner we can, pay the bills on the final demands, remove safeguards and drop the standards far beyond those required by our social responsibilities.
That’s terrible, but it’s not the worst bit.
The darkest bit is that people can fight. They can dig in heels, shout and scream and go to war over what they are entitled to. There are systems for dealing with ‘grievances’, and those systems redirect and frustrate – not because they were designed to do so, but because there is little motivation to change.
…and some of us get though. Because we were loud enough, because we worked out the right people to call, wrote to MPs, threatened legal action in a way that was credible, and gave off 100 other signals not that we were desperate or deserving, but that we were likely to cause problems at a high pay grade. And those of us that get though we get the payments that are statutorily required, the facilities that are needed, the support that helps. And we go quiet, because we’re exhausted by the process and we’ve fought for ourselves or the family member and now things are moving.
But the people who got though – they were exactly the people who could cause real change, the people who have the power to change the system. As so the system identifies these people, gives them what they need and continues cutting everyone else. It’s an evolution of a bribe. A bribe that lets the system avoid change.
(relevant to current affairs is that the people who have the power are influence to make a difference to public health and education are the ones who find it a lot easier to pay for private health and education.)