At last we are seeing the fruits of cost slashing in community care. (Another rant brewing)! This is a care issue; we are after all not solely about cure on the forum.

In the UK, publically funded care provision is, at least in the South West, being abolished. The idea is that private companies (rackets?) will take up the reins. Our carers currently work out at about £100 p. c. month. They are excellent, but the only reason we still have them is because we do pay. Those who rely on Social Services have been given the elbow, and it is only a matter of time before we also lose their services. In the meanwhile, their hours have been cut hugely, directly affecting their earnings, which were not spectacular before! A very worrying time for them, and their clients.

The opposition will not charge by the quarter hour, the quantum being half an hour – (how long before the hour we ask?) They also charge more, with the possibility that our costs could rise to £300, for the princely attention all week of 1.75hrs. That is not all.

One private carer has provided a client with six totally different visitors in a week, and the wife of the client found one individual having a lounge on the sofa playing games on a mobile phone. In another instance, in three weeks a client had just three visits, with no explanation or warning whatsoever.

One of our carers went over to a “rapid response” unit, and this is run from a hub in Exeter. His day starts with a trip there, 20 miles+ each way, just to find out who he has to visit. At the end of the day, he has to repeat the whole insane process to provide feedback! I wonder who pays the £1.40 per litre for the fuel? I wonder how they can justify wasting at least 1.5 hours of his time in needless commutation?

I mentioned to the nurse that expendable items ought not to be wasted, (rather as a tease) and she said that a packet of “inco pads” costs £60. I said this was a rip off, and she said she quite agreed. (A slide sheet, - not full length – casts £70). Where the hell do they get these prices? Yes anything that is medical carries a price tag way beyond that necessary, and the very people supposed to be “helped”, or the NHS, are ripped off unmercifully. It's the same with pharmaceuticals. When a local Boot's rep made a routine call to see me, she said that they were running a month's holiday trial, where a patients withdrew from taking medication, that was not obviously vital, with the GP's or consultant's permission. The number of patients taking costly, (with potentially harmful side effects), that they simply do not need is a matter of concern.

It's one thing to rant about research for cure, which is not simply a cost issue on account of the huge technical problems, but another to insist, rightly that what clearly is well within technical possibilities is done correctly and efficiently. The question that must hang in the air about the quality of what is dished out, is are the instigators 24 caret cretins, or are they criminals, or maybe both? Not much cause for comfort either way.