The GLF (Greater London Forum for Older People) supported by AGE uk organises a yearly Question Time at the House of Commons. This year the speakers were:
Segun Oladokun – Head of Inspection Adult social Care, Care Quality Commission and Professor Martin Green OBE – Chief Executive Care England
Paul Burstow MP chaired.
While the sessions the previous two years (see links below) made me angry, this time I came home deeply depressed. When my partner asked me what was the point of these sessions, I was at a loss to say anything.
Segun Oladokun would have been insulting had he not mentioned the lack of trust we have in the caring agencies but instead of giving us facts and figures about the situation he talked to us about the purpose of the CQC and the change of approach to their practice. His last words were that the services were variable. A member from the floor commented that indeed there are very good homes if you have the money but there are no resources to fund good care for all. One contribution summarised the situation. The government delegated the social care services to local authorities and the local authorities handed the responsibilities to lowest bidders care agencies. The contributions from the floor were testimonies of appalling conditions rather than questions. At no point were we given facts and figures about the state of the quality of care present at the moment. At no point was the question of local authorities’ resources raised, and at no time was the government blamed for an austerity programme that penalises the vulnerable.
Martin Green Chief Executive Care England. He started his speech by accusing the local authorities of lacking creativity. He carried on later with the argument that there is inequality between the treatment of old people and the treatment of children/people with learning difficulties. The question to be asked he says : “Are old people treated the same as children?” and that we as members of the GLF should fight for equality of treatment. He invoked society’s ageism for the fact that old people with dementia are neglected. To me his judgement is flawed. The question is not the equality of treatment within a ring fenced limited budget between two sections of the population who have no voice but enough resources and finances in this budget to fulfil the needs of both groups. Mr. Green OBE seems to have discovered ‘ageism’ and urges us to combat it. Did he not realise that his argument itself is ageist by its very nature of comparing groups on the basis of age rather than needs? If he considers that the needs of children/people with learning difficulties are well met, shouldn’t he fight for an adequate budget that would permit old people’s care to be as good?
It is the second Question Time where we, the audience of old people, all involved in voluntary activities, all busy working on the ground are harangued by officials. We are told to agitate, to ask for our rights. But we have no power. The people who could make a difference, are people like the speakers we are invited to question. They should be our representatives, they are the ones who should hold the government, the care corporations, the share holders to account.
This site : social care in the home november 15/11/ 2011