Rapidly heading towards the sunset of my life, I write this article with much sadness in my heart. Not because of the natural onward march of time, nor any real angst at the fact that my body is rapidly deteriorating. Whilst I have no real gauge of how long I must walk this path – years, months or weeks – the trajectory is clear. It is totally pointless to be bitter, angry or even disillusioned, for death is something we must all come to terms with, be it a protracted arrangement or a virtually instantaneous event. One thing is clear however, as I have become older, I seem to be surrounded by death so much more now, than when I was younger.
Maybe it is just the fact that I am indeed older. Maybe it is down to the fact Mrs R works in care. Maybe people are just dying off at a more rapid rate of knots now than before. I know I have lost more close friends over the past 15-20 years than in the preceding 40, apart from a close school friend in my teens and another acquaintance, both through suicide. That said, I am convinced in my heart that the Good Lord takes us when the time is right, and I know the loss of recent friends is indeed a form of blessing, for I doubt if they would have coped well with our current global tyranny.
All of that said, I want to make it abundantly clear that death and dying does not depress me. Why should it? What does anger me almost beyond the point of self-control, is the way we treat our elderly, infirm and genuinely disadvantaged. This of course, is a historical problem. Even the early Christian church was condemned by the apostles for the way they gave preferential treatment to the rich and influential, whilst shovelling the unclean peasants out of view. In truth, we are embarrassed by infirmity, for it is far too close to the reality check that we may end up in a very similar position a generation or so down the road. We consider ourselves invincible, immortal, indispensable, forgetting that nature will require one last duty of us to fertilise the soil from which we came. So please do not get down or depressed by what I am about to say. By all means be revolted, let your conscience be pricked, and your natural sense of justice flow to the surface. But please do not allow the wickedness I am about to share overcome you.
By the middle of November, one of two things will have happened. Either this evil and morally repugnant government will have backtracked on mandatory vaccines for care home workers, or Mrs R will be forcibly unemployed. Despite my support and protest, she is currently trying to find another job that will not require vaccination. This, I personally believe, is a fools errand, as any employer in the current circumstances will be adjusting their contractual employment conditions to accommodate a “No jab, no job” policy. As per usual, the slime-coated, gutless wonders in Westminster are using others to execute and police their laws by proxy, thereby keeping their hands clean of any blood or indeed any responsibility. This is “Plausible deniability” gone mad, and the sooner the British public see through it the better, but I am not going to hold my breath any time soon. This ploy has been used for years, the best example being the roll out of Council tax, where local authorities were charged with collecting and policing this levy, whilst only receiving a small fraction of this in return, while central government makes more and more demands of the organisation with ever decreasing subsidy. We are now in the position where most LA’s are utterly despised by their residents, their thinking being that all Council Tax pays for is bin collection and street lighting, forgetting the plethora of other statutory central government requirements from planning and building control, to homelessness, social care, food poisoning and burials. Whilst a lot of criticism is rightly due for financial mismanagement and corpulent bureaucracy, this factor is often overlooked by a politically illiterate public, who are quick to lash out at the first available official. What is not so clearly known is insane level of statutory responsibility and red tape embedded in local government law, so much so that there is no clear definition of exactly what services are required by law and what are not. The only reason I can confidently say this, having being employed by a local authority during many “Restructuring” exercises, was this was always a major stumbling block. The situation may now have changed, but certainly during my tenure there was no definitive list. Hence the ongoing political paralysis and navel gazing.
Mrs R, quite rightly, has sworn me to secrecy insofar as she knows that I am an outspoken and “Controversial” contributer to GP. It would be more than my life is worth to break her professional confidence, so I’m afraid I cannot share the more disturbing and personal anecdotes I know of. All I will say is that after one particularly disturbing event, it took both Mrs R and Ms R desperately pleading with me not to go and share “Words of advice” with certain a care manager and service owner. Some of these people are the utter scum of the earth, and to allow them anywhere near the care of vulnerable individuals is a total travesty. For they are only interested in how much money they can take out of the disadvantaged, their families and the system as a whole. Pretending to dispense care and compassion, they are in fact leeches of the most dangerous sort, for they know every wrangle and move that allows them to quickly disconnect from any semblance of personal or corporate responsibility. Rather than lovers, they are users.
Having worked in care for almost four years, and now with her second employer in the sector, Mrs R has had enough. Thankfully, this one actually means well, and despite the government laying down the Covid law, we both believe they genuinely have their residents and staff best interests at heart. Certainly, Mrs R has come home more than once with a smile on her face, rather than the frequent tears and despair of the previous posting. The big difference is the level of support, and the overall attitude when things go wrong. Whereas her current employer will genuinely go out their way to help, and understand even if genuine mistakes are made, the former was only interested in blame allocation and expected staff to know everything, despite little or scant documentation. For instance, one client was missing critical paperwork which emerged during a blue-light paramedic call. Who exactly was responsible for this omission, the previous care assistant, the NHS discharge team, the previous visiting paramedics or indeed the client themselves, is immaterial. Mrs R got the blame from all sides for not knowing this. What exactly she could have done under the circumstances would have tried the wisdom of Solomon, never mind somebody thrown in the deep end in the wee small hours in a dark, strange house, in the middle of nowhere.
Despite the character rewards for caring for your fellow man or woman, the job, or more accurately, vocation, is a thankless, stressful one. Staff subsidise their employers by using their own vehicles, receiving a paltry mileage allowance which doesn’t realistically cover costs. Mrs R encountered colleagues who put themselves in debt as they needed a new, reliable car. This might seem extravagant and foolhardy, but when your employer threatens to sack you if your car breaks down during working hours, you really don’t have much of a choice in the matter. You are also required to have the latest mobile phone, as you need to be in contact 24/7. It is important for your own protection as well, as photographic and video evidence is useful in supporting any disputes. You then have all the responsibility and heavy lifting, not just physically, but emotionally as well. You have to be all things to all men, please everyone, yet at the same time remain composed, professional and detached. Mrs R does not wear her heart on her sleeve, but I have rarely seen the poor lass so emotionally and mentally exhausted as when she has come off a hard shift. I know for a fact how torn apart inside she has been by what she has encountered, and it has opened her eyes wide to the harshness and reality of life and death.
So this move to “Protect” the vulnerable by enforcing compulsory vaccination of care-home staff will not end well. Many who are worn down by the stress of the job will just resign themselves to another hoop to jump through, another legal requirement to follow, another burden to absorb. Forget about the implications for your health, or indeed having a family, as many in the care sector are women. Should the number of adverse reactions be as severe as we think, this will cause a major reduction of capable staff, already stretched to the limit. Then of course, you have the departure of “Refuseniks” like Mrs R. Instead of taking a sensible risk management approach, also known as “Never place all your eggs in one basket”, the sector has no fallback policy should any extensive number of adverse reactions occur. All of this means one thing and one thing only, the vacancies will be forced filled either through the tightening demands of the Universal Credit system, or offered as “Good deeds” in return for a Universal Basic Income. The former is a frightening prospect, do you want to be looked after by someone forced into a job they don’t care for, and are only doing it – and the absolute bare minimum at that – as they have to? At least the latter option holds out a little hope, insofar as it could potentially free up immediate relatives to care for their elderly family, much in the way that women were encouraged to, and frequently did, prior to the sexual revolution.
Realistically, I am not encouraged though. With the care home scandals, clear impropriety in the NHS when it comes to DNR and the controversial use of Midazolam, it is clear that the elderly and frail need more protection than ever. Having seen with my own eyes how dismal the state of social care is when handed over to those who do this just to earn a crust, with the twin raids on pension pots and elderly home ownership, it is clear that this sector of the community are just regarded as a burden to be exploited. The shocking thing is how quickly this has caught up with us. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “7-year rule” when it comes to paying for care when a council investigates “Deprivation of assets”, they can, if desired, go as far back as they wish. Combined with increased stamp duty and inheritance tax, it is clear that government is as determined to fleece the dead and dying as they are the living.
This fiscal and economic injustice pales in comparison to the mounting problem we face when we have an increasing aging population, but few human resources to deal with it. AI is not going to help us here, and while the rich, naturally, will be able to employ individuals to support them with a decent salary, those further down the economic food chain will be much less fortunate. It is becoming clearer that part of the green agenda will focus on the “Cost” of the infirm and elderly, with little consideration for one of the most important factors, warmth. The old feel the cold, and bedsocks and bobble hats will only go so far. Many pensioners today have to make a stark choice – “Heat or eat”. How this will pan out in the great reset remains to be seen, but as they are already trialling the liquefication of corpses to be used as fertiliser for human food, I am not convinced that dignity has any future.
This perfect storm – the green agenda, the pandemic, lack of experienced and dedicated care staff alongside a tightening fiscal approach towards the elderly – does not bode well. Exactly how our most vulnerable will be looked after in the coming generations remains to be seen. Selfish or not, hopefully, I will not be around to see the worse excesses of such deliberate and callous policy, but I dread to think what the future holds for our children. There is clearly a revolution occuring in the social care sector, and it is not a loving and compassionate one.
© Rookwood 2021