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Bonkers Blog May 2017

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20 May - Where do care workers come from?

So the Red Tories are going to tackle the care problem head on by robbing the thrifty of their houses with a Dementia Tax. Something has to be done about the problem but discouraging aspiration may not be the best way. Mrs. May will no doubt lose quite a lot of votes. I am still very much in floating territory if that is not a very mixed metaphor.

What concerns me about the Conservative’s big idea is that the home care services we will be asked to pay for are intolerably poor. I once thought my Aunt in East Ham might benefit from domiciliary care and Newham Council arranged some for me on a trial basis free for six weeks.

The care workers never arrived on time and lots of times the morning visitor arrived after the afternoon one and sometimes the later one would arrive after my Aunt’s normal bedtime. They also didn’t do anything which was in part my Aunt’s fault because she would usually tell them she didn’t need anything done.

All they did was fill in a log book - which I later managed to get hold of - with all the many jobs they supposedly had done. It was a work of total fiction. Approximately two and a half hours of help per week was going to cost very nearly £200 after the initial six weeks.

Is that what the Conservatives plan to inflict on those in need?

RowbothamCare services in Bexley are no better.

I spend one afternoon a week with a friend who is unfortunately confined to his orthopaedic chair or bed. He gets a care package provided by Bexley Council. When someone turns up to make his evening meal I usually leave because to watch these females (all those I have seen have been ladies) is embarrassing. Well it would be if I said what I feel like saying.

Where does Bexley find such incompetents?

My friend has very simple tastes, he is quite content with the plainest of meals. Scrambled egg on toast is about as sophisticated as things get. However his requests are well beyond the capabilities of the visiting females. One week I heard him say there were waffles in the freezer but they didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. It was the same the following week when he asked for toasted crumpet.

By coincidence he submitted a blog on the subject just 24 hours before the Dementia Tax was announced. This is it…

I last came out of hospital two months ago almost immobile and a care package was set up. I was to be given assistance with breakfast, lunch and evening meal all within a specified hour-long time slot.

Not once has anyone stuck to the schedule, lunch was often after 2 p.m. and the evening meal was usually around 4 p.m. Bexley Council tried to get things back on schedule but didn’t achieve much so I started sending them away and telling them to come back at the agreed time - after 17:30.

Breakfast should be easy for them. All I ask for is cereal and milk or orange juice. Lunch should also have been simple but I began to think Bexley’s contracted staff hadn’t any brains. Certainly they can’t read and don’t listen.

They simply couldn’t seem to grasp that my best crockery is not microwaveable and the plastic cereal bowls most certainly are not.

spaghettiA couple of evenings ago I asked for spaghetti hoops which can be heated in the microwave; the nearest they ever get to ‘cooking’. I asked the carer to empty the tin into the square plastic microwaveable dish which I knew was on the draining board and put it in the microwave; then to read the instructions for the cooking time.

I guess you are ahead of me, she emptied the tin into the plastic cereal bowl and put it in the microwave. Although my chair is close to the kitchen door I can’t actually see in there to correct mistakes.

From the kitchen came a plaintiff “how do I set the microwave?”. OK there are many different types but mine is an old one with a simple mechanical timer. I called out the simple instructions and heard a ping after about ten seconds. It should have been 90. I suggested stopping and starting again. This time I say everything very slowly and ask her to tell me which light comes on. All goes well - or so I thought

After it pinged again the spaghetti has to be stirred and given another minute. The oven pinged for a second time and in it came - in a plastic bowl melted almost beyond recognition. Needless to say the spaghetti was uneatable. Not a word of apology for wrecking the dish.

Total incompetence is almost the norm. Where do care companies get the staff from?

Err… maybe it comes from paying front line staff less than the minimum wage and putting the boss on £122,000 a year. Incidentally, the new man in charge of Social Care at Bexley Council has now been in post for four months and has yet to say a single word at any Council meeting. But maybe he is a dab hand with the spaghetti.


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