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Interesting in The Guardian

I’m more worried about my dad spending winter in his house. He’s already living in a big jumper, a bobble hat and a woolly poncho. His place is freezing, it’s damp, it’s a health hazard, and in the middle of the city where there’s a lot of antisocial behaviour right outside his door – but he just doesn’t see himself as a vulnerable man. He has no insight into how fragile he is.

I think – I hope – he’s on some sort of waiting list to be moved with his housing association and the council. You do all the paperwork, sign multiple forms, press send, but what happens next? Nothing. You don’t get any confirmation or information. Is there a website where I can look at what’s available? Is anything going to happen any time soon? I emailed to ask, “What happens now?” but no one ever replies. You can’t get an answer on the phone. I genuinely have no idea how anyone has managed to get a transfer. If I can’t figure out the system then Dad would have no chance. If he was doing this on his own, he’d be lost.

It’s the same with his health. Dad has lost so much weight he has nothing left to lose, but we’re still waiting for tests. He keeps getting letters that say, “Your appointment has been cancelled, ring this number to rearrange it”, but when you call and say that he didn’t even have an appointment, you’re told the letters are automatically generated and there’s nothing to rearrange. For some reason, my job is running after these people, spending hours on the phone, trying to work it out. Does he have an appointment? Can he get one? What’s wrong with him? Will he die before he gets his treatment? All that good stuff.

So, the state’s shit at doing stuff then, we agreed?

17 thoughts on “Interesting in The Guardian”

  1. So this bloke is living as he should, saving energy and enjoying the beauties of a socially diverse community right outside his front door.

    And this wicked wacist doesn’t like it.

  2. So you’ve got a landlord, while your frail elderly dad has “his house” in the middle of the city.

    Just wait it out, love, and it will all come good quite soon.

  3. “but he just doesn’t see himself as a vulnerable man. He has no insight into how fragile he is.”

    But as a true Guardianista I shall infantilise him for his own good.

  4. Temperature nowhere near cold enough to turn on heating, but wearing thermals, more layers, extra duvets on the bed – Dad clad in woolly poncho and bobble hat? She’s in her 30s and has been a (full time?) ‘carer’ for him for ten years? Most girls do this while simultaneously rearing their own children, pursuing a career and cooking hubby’s dinner ever night.

  5. The heat or eat diaries – a new, evidence-free series.

    As always, the article is full of holes. The article suggests he is in a housing association flat, which means action is straightforward if it is indeed substandard. Her tales of disappearing appointments and submitted papers suggests she actually hasn’t really tried. It is indeed a pain in the hole to get anything out of the useless British state and the only way to do it is to be patient, bloody-minded and resist the urge to bellow ‘fucking useless cunts’ down the phone at people.

    If she is, as intimated, her father’s full-time carer, why do they not get a place together? Why is she so concerned about the time these things take?

    For some reason, my job is running after these people For some reason!?

    I wonder what relationship she thinks there is between the top rate of income tax and her situation….

  6. I think – I hope – he’s on some sort of waiting list to be moved with his housing association and the council

    It would be interesting to know Siobahns views on the large numbers of new arrivals to our shores immediately being put up in hotels before occupying free housing (in the city of their choice) which just magically becomes available.

  7. “I wonder what relationship she thinks there is between the top rate of income tax and her situation….”

    If you raised the top rate of income tax to 50 per cent and gave it all to the NHS I doubt the fundamentals would improve. Huge organisation…too many moving parts…screw-ups inevitable. “Still waiting for tests…” “Your appointment has been cancelled, ring this number to rearrange it.” Par for the course. Bit of bad luck recently with the nearest and dearest. Three top-notch consultants, but lot of dross in the subordinate ranks. All manageable, however – it’s the machine that is the problem. Paperwork regularly goes missing/never arrives, appointments missed. That and the sheer demand for the NHS, not least post-covid. Unless you are the pushy sort and keep on top of things, ‘tis easy to fall through the cracks.

  8. He could always share her house
    He doesn’t want to. He’s clearly said that he doesn’t see himself as a vulnerable man.
    Even if he’s stubborn or a bit daft in his old age you don’t try that.
    Bit of persuasion might work – saying that childcare for your grandchildren is awfully expensive, and I would be better off if you came to my house.
    But don’t use the line of persuasion that it’s better for him. Make it that it’s better for you ‘cos parents rather like to help their kids and grandkids out. Imv of course.

  9. Bernie G,

    And none of that is about cost today.

    I recently built a system for the Scottish government that went surprisingly well. Mostly, that was down to a good project manager on the user side and a good IT manager. About 5 development staff, a couple of testers. It had sign up, request a thing, and a system to manage the thing. All with email notifications and progress history. It even had a feature so that you could allow other people to do it on your behalf.

    And it pays for itself very quickly because your don’t need staff answering phones.

  10. Far be it for me to defend the almighty state and its bureaucratic systems, but you can get much the same experience by calling the support desk at any big company. Broadband on the blink? They’ll make you listen to “your call is important to us” for 45 minutes, then an Indian call handler will hang up on you. Similar for insurers, banks, etc. Once they’ve got your money, they do their best to ignore you.

  11. Back in Sheffield we had this sort of online thing up and running over a decade ago. It shares information with all the local housing associations, so it’s a one-stop-shop. As Bloke says, it’s fundamentally a simple thing to do. It’s essentially a bus station for housing.

    We also had online taxi companies with booking almost a decade before Uber was a twinkle in some tax-dodger’s eye.

  12. As ever Tim you miss the point. It’s not ‘the’ state that’s useless it’s a Conservative state. A Labour state of course would be the very height of efficiency.

  13. Siobhan is in her 30s and has been “Carer” for her dad for ten years. How old was he when she became his “Carer”? Why has he needed a carer if – ten years later – he still doesn’t think he is fragile?
    If Siobhan is a full-time carer, why doesn’t she move in? Her Dad is more likely to fall and injure himself in the dark than the daylight…

    Does the Grauniad ever check its rants for plausibility?

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