"Can We Afford This Level Of Care?
Thursday, 15 July 2010
Reflecting on the current need to cut costs to reduce the country’s enormous debt I was drawn to an instance which bears investigation.
I live near a bungalow which has been purchased and converted to house a disabled person. I notice three staff in attendance 24 hours a day and if you calculate the cost of the house and the salaries of all these professional people, it is colossal.
Whilst I agree with the policy of accommodating disabled people within the community there has to be a limit and a sensible economic approach especially when NHS funds are stretched to the limit.
Name & address supplied."
I am a 23 year old new Mam, a lifelong Newtonian, that has recently become disabled for life. Due to it being a mobility impairment people have tended to assume, because I look... OK, that I can walk and do things like everyone else, but that is not the case.
I strongly rely on ‘Carelink’ and most of the people I know pay for the use of ‘Carelink’, which is an emergency system to which you can press a button and someone can attend your house, which I have used in instances of falls etc.
I do not appreciate your reader’s inference that levels of care for the disabled should be reduced. I personally live in a 2 bedroom house and have fought 15 months for a stairlift as I was not offered a bungalow. Luckily my husband is my 24/7 carer but not everyone has that privilege or ability and he has to do the majority of care for our 8 month old son,* a pregnancy which was not planned*(correction below) as I was self employed!
I cannot comment on this specific person but two people are needed to use a hoist. There are private companies that provide this care and if it was stopped or reduced, there would be more unemployment.
Since becoming disabled I have received abuse even at times when we have been using services. We have been shouted at directly near our baby boy which we did not appreciate. We have spoken to managers and owners of some places, where we have received offensive remarks and suggestions that my husband uses service instead of me.
We are adults that have gone from what you call a ‘normal’ and independent life to one of great difficulty. I know of another lady who suffered abuse toward her disabled child, and this needs to STOP!
There are people out there abusing the system, fraudulently receiving benefits, and I feel your reader is targeting an area he knows nothing about. Some disabled people pay for their own care and he assumes money to provide care is coming out of his pocket. His opinion would be different if he were in the same predicament.
I helped disabled people into employment prior to becoming disabled, and now I am offering an online support network to other mothers suffering from similar conditions to mine. The statements made just increase problems for the disabled. There are less services for us already than you think and we have to fight for everything.
I am still waiting for much needed services including a powered wheelchair. It is difficult for one person to push a pram and their partner in a wheelchair at the same time. Disabled people have enough problems - please don’t make more!
(MY name was printed HERE)
Correction: * a pregnancy which was not planned *:
"i have requested a correction to be printed next paper as our son was planned what i said was that
...As a disabled person living in (towns name here) I was extremely concerned to read the letter headed ‘Can We Afford This Level of Care’ in your issue of July 16th.
The writer of this letter questioned the economics of allowing a severely disabled person to live in their community, supported with care 24/7, as against institutionalised care. Institutionalised care was not directly mentioned but presumably this would be the alternative envisaged by the writer.
I feel saddened that the writer should consider that a disabled person should be excluded from their community on the basis of pure economics.
I have always considered (towns name) to be an inclusive and welcoming town, containing as it does the wonderful (specific centre with disabled facilities named here) which has done so much to promote inclusivity for people with disabilities. I’m very concerned that an individual should feel they have the authority to question another person’s right to live in the community, based on pure speculation.
In point of fact it is substantially cheaper for a person to live supported in their community than in institutionalised care. The most human and caring course of action is also the most economical, thankfully.
The 1991 Community Care Act closed hospitals and transferred care for patients into the community, because it was cheaper. (This was an Act instituted by a Conservative Government, remember.) You can be absolutely sure that the most economic course of action has already been chosen.
The original letter stated that a bungalow has been ‘purchased and converted to house a disabled person’. Purchased by whom? It may have been purchased by that disabled person, perhaps funded by parents or a legacy. If purchased by the local authority the disabled person will be paying rent and the bungalow will be a valuable addition to social housing.
Regarding the salaries of the ‘three staff in attendance 24 hours a day’ quoted in the letter. I presume the writer means one member of staff present 24/7. Who would employ these carers if they were not employed by this disabled person? Would they all in fact be claiming jobseeker’s allowance and council/housing tax benefits?
We’re rapidly descending into a country of informers and malcontents. Why don’t people go after tax cheats with the same tenacity they uncover ‘facts’ about disabled people? This country would be infinitely better off if the tax cheats were brought to book. However, I would not think of writing in to the local paper suggesting that one of my neighbours was a tax cheat.
I mentioned that I am disabled. That phrase might lead you to assume I do not work and exist on benefits. In point of fact I work both from home and in the community in a highly professional and demanding job and contribute significantly to the local and national economy via the taxes I pay.
If you are tempted to write a letter based on pure assumption, think of how hurtful and inaccurate those assumptions might be. Then do your homework and write a letter based on facts.