Elderly Commodity

Two headlines in the Sunday Times on 25 October grabbed my attention:-

  • “Revealed: how elderly paid price of protectingNHS from Covid”  was the front page story of an investigation onto how older people were treated by the NHS during the first wave of the Coronavirus.
  • ”McCarthy & Stone bid raises alarm over buyouts” was another front page story,  but this time in the section on Business & Money.

At first sight they are unrelated, but they are curiously intertwined.  They are both about the value of older people in society, or maybe I should say the lack of value.

The first article is an Insight investigation into the Governments actions and NHS response to the first coronavirus shock wave.    In a hindsight review it is easy to be cleverer from the sidelines and tempting to point blame, but we should also remember the heat and fog of the battle.   In February there is no question that we were ill prepared and not sure what we had to deal with.     So after dithering for a month we made the problem worse.    The “ just in time” philosophy had run out of time.

The long standing problems of the past had caught up with us.     A pandemic report written three years previously had not been acted upon, so we were caught with our PPE pants down.   Equally important was the bed blocking in the NHS by older people unable to be discharged because of the emaciation of community care and the poor standard of residential care.    The lack of a plan for Social Care over many years all added to the problem.   These are deep roots which the Sunday Times investigation didn’t go into.
It is certainly true that when the fire has started it is better to concentrate on putting it out first.   So that is what the Government/NHS did.     They put out the old people!      A decades long issue solved in a few weeks, created instant capacity in our hospitals.     What is even more impressive is the building of the Nightingale hospitals in an instant.   What a shame they couldn’t have responded years earlier by providing Patient Hotel accommodation for the ‘bed blockers’.

Next we come to where they put the old people.  Half went back home and half were sent to residential care homes.     None were tested for coronavirus nor was there any extra health support.    Then came the Catch 22 solution – it was important that they didn’t bounce back into hospital, so new more stringent admission criteria were concocted to make readmission almost impossible.   This was the NHS washing its hands of older people.

A Final Solution with empty Nightingale hospitals instead of gas chambers!

This is a very dark place which nobody would consciously wish to get to, but if we don’t  watch out we will walk into to it again with our eyes closed.     These are attitudes to ageing which should have nothing to do with access to health care.

I have not singled out any individual because I think we are all to blame for allowing the prevarication over Social Care to persist for so long.

This story will continue in my next post …..

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7 Responses to Elderly Commodity

  1. Buffers
    Stop, think! We have all metaphorically hit the Buffers, and been derailed, out of our normal thinking? Whether we are in a mechanical train following the crowd or listening to some governmental scientific officer, talking us gently through are next actions, and out of Corvid-19.
    John’s passage above is most sobering, and thought provoking: I just wonder as I do, and ask the questions in my mind, such as:-
    1What is the average age of the population in the individual countries of-
    a)England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Island { Including the Channel isles and the Isle of Man}.
    b)What is the collective average age of the UK & NI and CI, IOM.
    Then what is the average age collectively of those over pensionable age, working age, school age 1/18 and those in further education 18/26?
    2Then the same break down for the individual countries of the EU, not including the UK
    a)Plus the break down collective age of the EU as a responsible nation [excluding the UK]
    Then what is the average age collectively of those over pensionable age, working age, school age 1/18 and those in further education 18/26?
    Once having reviewed such information, the facts may become clearer that the Northern European nations have a more elderly population than that of the rest of the world?
    What is needed in my mind is some grey suits/skirts in a cupboard somewhere in the corridors of Whitehall studying such information and if they asked proposing a group of polices, of:
    A How the UK & NI keep a population gainfully employed in earning a living and income, for the benefit of all the registered residents within the UK & NI?.
    B How we as a nation regulate the immigration policy for long term prospective residents of the UK & NI to help increase the nations earning capacity, per head of the population, and yet serve the existing population of the Nation, should the average age be near too or in excess of retirement age?
    C Again our social fabric of housing, and care, support, and the National Health Service, should we as a nation have a more radical or realistic view, on who and whom do we support as a nation, and ;-Dare we ask what is a god given natural life span [years]? Can we have expectations in science? Or do we revert to our own faith and ‘God’? I assume here monies and services for support and NHS Services are available equally to all UK & NI residents/citizens.
    I just wonder if BORIS {BODJ} has such thoughts in mind, and such a collection of minds, is in fact in one of the ‘Whitehall Cupboards’ or is it to be more of Dominic Cummins-? I just wonder????
    I suggest we have hit the ‘BUFFERS’ are we in fact in the middle of a train crash, with no Guard to guide us, only to the cross channel ferry service and ‘Hurrah’ ‘’BREXIT’’. We may sink while crossing the Channel or North Sea ‘Glug glug’, I am drowning in all this LONG corvid -19!!

  2. While I reflect upon my piece above? I require now to gently ask my ‘GOD’ how long have I got? on my mortal coil, in this world of ours, and ask the men of knowledge for advice, who or whom ever that maybe?
    The archbishop of Canterbury, The Chief Rabbi, The nearest Cardinal, the nearest Jehovah Witness leader, Christian Scientist Minister, the nearest Quaker retreat, or nearest Mullah, Buddhist Priest, or person / leader of the HINDU. or other world Faith: or then the local White Witch, or VOODO specialists. It is all in the spirit of things to do?? Just which One is My God???

  3. Trick or treat!
    It is almost the time? My body is in lockdown, my mind is in space, and my soul is in freedom, with mind, and I have many a ‘’penny to spend’ when you may ask of me -Penny for them?-
    I need to call up the LLLP, and the 3 men in white coats to ensure I am talking sense!
    I just went back to my childhood and mischief night, and before then ‘’duckapple night’’ It’s all a dream now in my dotage, as the new fangled ‘’Trick or Treat Night has taken over?’’
    My trick, to enjoy my memories of life, my treat is to remember them with pleasure and a smile on my face.
    Last Night I was in Burtersett, remembering where dads schoolboy friend Frank Chambers Lived, and Mrs Johnson, Mums befriender. I was just 3/4 years old. Then there were the Metcalf’s the local farmers and the dairy where I would walk to with my metal milk container for the days milk. The farm and byre were up the top of the village, and often I would watch the cows being milked in the evening. Another walk in the village was with the families ‘wet cell-battery’ to Dick Blades for recharging. Dick had a diesel generator small power for the job, and charged all wet cells within the village.
    No trick of treating here in Wensleydale, just living out the bombing of Liverpool and London, my grandparents home. As I say just a treat of a memory, no reason, just for a smile!!!!

  4. Burtersett in those days until 1958 was off the electrical grid, and all cooking was by the fire or oil, and lighting by oil. Dad had installed a gas lantern, so we had gaslight and those funny silk things that were at the flame edge, and one had to be gentle with these elements [filament?], as a heavy hand with a match would put a hole in the element and render it useless.

  5. While I have drifted and dreamt, I see reality has caught up with the political world and the party politics of Westminster, and views are being expressed by current leaders of policies of yesterday?
    Who or whom is right, I support an open court of enquiry to resolve any bigotry, and mis-conceptions of race creed and life style. I as always wish to support fairness even in the extreme of beliefs expressed by person{s} looking for power and popularity of rightfulness, in the corridors of parliament.
    The agreement at Runnymede with king James is a resourceful document- Magna CARTA!

  6. Princethorpe court story.
    John’s achieves on this wet day in Corvid-19, are a considered read, and the discussions of why the concept of a ‘Retirement Village was born, and then at the turn of century became a live idea! At the turn of the century The average age of death in the elderly, was lower I suspect than it is today? [All those government papers/bills/regulations increasing and normalising the age differences in pensionable age.]
    The concept of a retirement village was novel, and offered a way of life for the forward thinking prospective resident-An active live style with strong support.
    Now in 2020 and the average age again of retirement being maybe in the 70 age bracket, the views have changed slightly. Maybe they feel worn out, and in need of a rest, and look more particularly at the care and support in latter years of life? The prospective new residents to a retirement village may view, mobility/dementia as more immediate problems, and when they see an active retirement village they embrace it wholeheartedly where the similar average age group are leading may be a proactive life style.
    Herein lies the danger, management and staff plus the residents of an active retirement village rely upon each other to undertake and support care/activities/ craft and physical, Plus mental-dementia functions, of which mobility and age have a part to play, as well as a good mental attitude. With the now average age of a village being 79 years, and the younger physical/mental element of residents becomes more important, as while one may be young at heart, one is not physically able to help in some of the social and other village activities, and one as a village society become more reliant on staff support- I.e. the village gradually becomes an old peoples retreat/ care home? Which as I approach my 80’s I may appreciate: However I do miss the vibrancy of the concept of a mixed age group Retirement Village.
    Watch this space the concept of PRINCETHORPE COURT, is not lost on me!

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