Caring in England is out of date.
Take the case of one particular housing society, based in Cambridgeshire, which, a few years ago, persuaded vulnerable tenants in residential schemes to become de-registered - promising them more staff and better support standards if they did so.
The tenants then found themselves in the hands of an odious Government organisation called “Supporting People”.
Now, December 2008, a residential home for the elderly is to be axed - by orders of the Primary Care Trust, whilst in other establishments, under the auspices of "Supporting People", staffing has been slashed, "sleep-in" cover has been abolished or is under threat (Supporting People, the "Mental Health Commission", the Primary Care Trust and certain members of the housing Society office staff collude so that tenants are not even consulted, whilst spouting nonsense about "social involvement/inclusion" and “recovery”) and residential staff are in terror of speaking out, having been forced into signing secrecy clauses.
It should be pointed out that Supporting People has no real interest in tenant welfare. For all their waffle and jargon, the organisation is simply interested in cutting budgets.
Sleep-in cover is basically a staff member sleeping at an establishment so as to be on hand throughout the night in case of problems.
In some of the housing society's schemes where staff sleep-in cover has been abolished, residents have fallen and broken bones and suffered severe mental breakdowns.
Vulnerable tenants are also at risk from burglars and drug abusers. Most are on medication for their conditions and some of these drugs are highly sellable amongst the criminal fraternity.
To recap - Supporting People cuts budgets and tells lies about "recovery" and "social inclusion", and some housing society office staff are in cahoots - gleefully pursuing money and promotion - selling the tenants up the river and bullying residential staff who question what is happening.
One of the saddest things is that one of the axe swingers at Supporting People began as a volunteer in the housing society's residential homes many years ago, saying he wanted to do something caring and relevant to the lives of others worse off than himself.
The housing society's supported tenants are vulnerable people with histories of severe mental illness.
These are frightening times.
It should also be noted that the present system of social care in England is heavily based on "regions" (78% voted NO to regionalisation in the referendum in the North East, the only area allowed a referendum) and is heavily tied in with various unelected UK Government quangos across England.
E-mail from SARA:
You're quite right of course. The UK Government has taken a corporate attitude to health and social care provision in England. And that is why we have "Supporting People". The very name of the organisation is a lie.
It's all competition and tenders. We all want value for money, but with Supporting People the game is to save money and disregard the residents wishes entirely.
Is a service necessary? It doesn't matter - Supporting People will cut it if they can to save money. COMPETE, COMPETE! Your service is crap? Your residents unsafe? It doesn't matter - we'll call it "enabling", we'll call it "recovery", we'll call it "social inclusion", we'll call it "choices".
It must be remembered that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are pursuing other, better ways.
And it must also be remembered that the likes of Foundation Hospitals were foisted onto England by non-representive MPs from Scotland whose own constituents will not be having them, and that "our" Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is not accountable to his own constituents in Scotland for 75% of the legislation his government passes, as they have their OWN parliament!
So, in England, secrecy clauses are forced on care staff, and swinging cut backs enforced whilst the likes of Supporting People tell bare faced lies for the reasons.
And residents are not given a say in much of what happens - despite Supporting People's pledge to offer choice and to empower them!
I have no time for this evil Government and nothing it does surprises me. But I do wonder how Supporting People, Mental Health Commission and PCT staff sleep at night.