Sunday, 20 February 2011

Hope I die before I get old!!

When Roger Daltrey bawled out his lyrics to "My Generation" it was in a post Cuban Missile Crisis world and one where the old folk definitely did not understand the younger generation.  Roger is now a multi-millionaire pensioner, did not die before he got old and lives in the lap of luxury, unfortunately most old people have been fucked over royally by the State and this needs addressing and redressing.

Take old people born in the 1920's, between World Wars One and Two, now in their eighties: Most of the men born then will have either fought in the War or provided effort for the WW2 fight, some of them will have been wounded, some captured but all of them "doing their bit" for the UK. They then came back to the "Land fit for heroes" and went through times of austerity during the 50's as the UK tried to recover from a crippling war with massive war debts courtesy of the Americans which only got paid off in the new Millennium.
These men and women raised families, paid their taxes and National Insurance all the time believing that the new National Health Service and Old Age Pension would cater for them when they got sick or old.
These people were frugal and had a saving ethic in the main, during the War they had bought National Bonds and they put their money into National Savings and also into Banks and Building Societies as a safe way of saving for their children so that they could have better lives.  These people actually believed that Governments do not lie and that being prudent and careful was the best way to be to provide for both their futures and their children's futures.
However political winds of change were blowing and all of the Nationalised Industries were being eyed up by fat cats who wanted more cream and so one of their puppets, let's call her MT to keep her anonymous, got elected as Prime Minister and immediately sold off the Gas, Electricity, Water and Telecommunications to the City of London (Mainly foreigners in sharp suits who for some reason are allowed to leach off the UK citizens). At the same time she started trying to dismantle the Welfare State and partially succeeded however in the process managed to carefully conceal all evidence that people had actually contributed for decades to the Welfare State - she also put the propaganda out successfully that using the Welfare State was the province of scoundrels, slackers and ne'er-do-wells and it was NOT for decent people, "Decent people" had Private Medicine and Private Pensions and owned stocks and shares, and were called "Sid".

The next changes were were for all the very best of reasons (The chief amongst them being that if you can privatise Medicine you make an absolute killing) targets and over management were brought in to a very badly managed NHS.  Instead of replacing bad management with good management, three more layers of bad management were added to make the NHS even more top heavy and even worse managed than it was in the 60's.

Added to this mix was a tacit agreement that inter-departmental warfare was not only allowable or acceptable but also to be actively encouraged.

This meant "Silo-Based" Government departments that caused tragedies like "Baby P" to happen undetected and unchecked even though in total the authorities had all the information necessary to save him.

It also brings us back to the point of this Blog today.

So, our Fred, the octagenarian who has fought and bled for his and our country, who has paid his taxes religiously, who has soldiered on for decades without state handouts and even avoiding doctors and hospitals because of his "stiff upper lip" and who have saved as much as he could from his meagre income in order to "leave something for the kids", has a fall, or he gets a urine infection or similar and ends up in our much vaunted NHS Hospital.

Well, I say "ends up" as sometimes even getting one of our privileged class Doctors off his arse and out to visit is a herculean task to say the least of it, however let's assume that this happened on a weekend and so the normal Doctor is on a weekend skiing in Aspen or similar and so Fred gets seen by an on call Locum who is not rich enough to have his own practice and is still keen enough to be a good caring Doctor and so an admission is arranged.

Fred's first day in hospital will be taken up mainly with giving a history. This is his medical history, all of which information is already held in detail and triplicate by the NHS and allegedly on a Computer system that links the entire country. However they still ask for it again, not in order to catch Fred out lying or indeed to find out new knowledge but in reality because although they have all this information, they haven't a clue how or where to access it.  (Maybe if some of the new Managers had been Staff Training Managers??? - Nah, too obvious). The other part of the day will be taken up by being prodded, punctured, weighed, urinanalysed and measured in what they term an "Assessment Unit".  This is a fancy name for a holding area while the hospital "Finds a bed"!!

"Finding a bed" entails a great amount of management and many many phone calls but no-one knows by and between whom (As an aside, when I was taken in to hospital with a heart attack two years ago I was kept in an assessment unit for 8 hours whilst they "tried to find me a bed" - After 6 hours I got bored, rang the hospital on my mobile phone, got put through to the Cardiac Ward and asked them if they had a bed spare for me and found they were expecting me.  I then dressed, picked up my bag and notes, left the assessment unit by tailgating a junior doctor who was going for coffee and too tired to keep an eye out for absconding patients and walked to the Ward myself. I was then undressed, checked, given a cuppa and put in to bed and then after another two hours the ward rang the assessment ward to ask if they had "lost Mr Khan?" ). NB, if you need to "find a bed", look in a fucking Hospital Ward, there are loads of empty ones there all unfilled!
However after this mysterious rite is performed Fred gets a bed (This is normally in a large ward with loads and loads of empty beds and he is tucked up cheek and jowl with a couple of loony old ladies to left and right and three dying old me opposite him in various stages of dementia.
At that point, the first thing the Ward Staff do is SET A RELEASE DATE FOR FRED whether he will be well or not by then.  When challenged on this, the staff's defensive response is that by setting a release date it gives everyone something to aim for.  Indeed it does, because come hell or high water and including if Fred is half dead on that date, the NHS want him out of "their" hospital and into the community.
The rest of Fred's stay in hospital will be punctuated by a great many tests to chart his progress or lack of it, some visits by Doctors and Registrars but very little care to see that Fred is actually eating the food that is delivered with clockwork regularity by very lowly paid workers with no healthcare training and who take away uneaten meals and dispose of them without too much comment.
After Fred has been in hospital for two or three days and providing no major surgery is scheduled the NHS will do their level best to bully Fred into agreeing to either going home or somewhere other than an NHS facility.  If he is in need of care that will probably involve the Social Services.  However IF the Social Services can either prove Fred does not need care or that his care needs are very high, then they can either not pick up the tab because he does not need it or they will not pick up the tab because the NHS needs to do so.

And herein lies the rub.  Two Government Department who, if Fred is ill, will fight each other tooth and nail to shove his care costs on to the other, actually have a vested interest in proving that Fred is actually totally OK and should be released home to the tender mercies of his Fat Cat GP who gets paid for looking after Fred even if he never visits Fred at all.  So Fred is right royally fucked by the system.

Now, let's say Fred develops Dementia due to his untreated infections whilst in hospital and the arguments over getting him out of the hospital.  In that case he will be transferred to a Nursing Home which will cost in the region of £700 per week and if Fred's house and or is savings are worth more that £14,000 yes fourteen thousand - less that a saloon car, the state will not pay all of that.  If they do pay all of that then he will have his State and Occupational Pensions taken and he will be allowed to keep approx £22 per week as "pocket money".  That's not all, if he has any living relatives, the local authorities are instructed to morally blackmail those relatives into "topping up" his care home fees instead of the State on threat of Fred being take out of his "nice" Home and put into a "nasty" Home. (And let's face it, the "nice" ones are pretty bloody horrible unless upmarket private ones).  Maybe instead of bleating on in his upper-class Toff, call me Dave, half-baked way about some form of nebulous "Big Society" that even with his Landed Gentry, Eton and Oxford background and education he cannot articulate so even his peers, let alone lesser folk can understand it, he should hark back to his penultimate predecessor with a similar background and instead espouse "Joined Up Government" (Departments at least) and start considering the fact that people have been paying in to the welfare state for decades with little complaint or demurral and in their time of need they need to be treated with respect, afforded dignity and indeed loved by the Government that inherits their support for all those years.

Fred and his ilk are heroes and the salt of the earth and should NOT be considered or discussed as a burden or a problem.  They have paid all of their dues.

So Fred, when you were listening to Roger Daltry singing "Hope I die before I get old!!", did you ever think that maybe when they asked you to fight a war to save this bloody ungrateful country you should have just told them "Why don't you all FFFFFFFFFade away!!"  ??

Ghenghis 2011

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