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The Vision for a Revised System

This is an article which I’ve written from personal experience and relating to the current political predicament which the UK has now found itself in after the recent election. There was a huge number of us throughout the United Kingdom that were extremely opposed to the Conservatives being the new elected government after the recent election. According to the news bulletins, the situation is set to get worse because the coalition is going to consist of Conservatives and the DUP (an Irish Unionist Party). This coalition is quite unusual. There is a vast amount of negative reactions being expressed from the general public about certain things that the DUP may bring to the coalition on top of the criticisms already made about the Conservatives. This is something we’re not going to go into because there has been so many others talking about the issues expressed on social media etc.

In my opinion, any coalition or government consisting of the Conservatives is something I am against. The area I grew up in (and now still live in) has had the same useless Tory MP for the last 30 years. This county is an area of extreme backward political thinking and a complete lack of common sense. I have lived in other areas that haven’t treated me in the same manner as this county. I would be completely willing to help change parts of the system here because I’m that type of person. However, they are reluctant to think outside the box and come up with alternatives to the strict punitive system they currently have in force here. The attitude that someone has to be ‘normal’ (act normal despite a disability) or face being ripped apart by the system (eg. Legal or psychiatric) is completely wrong and isn’t adopted in most of the country. This could very well be the fact that there are targets within the police, legal system (eg. Courts and legal aid) and CPS in this county. There are noticeably fewer convictions in areas of the country that are known not to have these targets. These areas do not go straight into sorting situations out via official channels at the first opportunity because they do not have the monetary incentives. There has to be more monetary incentives to keep things out of court, especially when it involves those who need help, not punishment. The current legal system is certainly not ‘Justice for all’. The legal aid system is worse than it’s ever been. This isn’t designed to defend those labelled as offenders, merely just to make sure the targets are met by someone being told they have to plead ‘guilty’ regardless of intent. The underlying issues don’t get sorted out but left to carry on and produce more monetary income for the system as a whole. The elitists (those that can afford non legal aid solicitors, private education and health services etc) seem to be the only ones winning in this system.

The system as a whole (throughout the country) cannot stay in this current state. The NHS is slowly crumbling due to cuts and the staff are under so much pressure that they’re ending up on sick leave or leaving because they just cannot work in that environment. Then there is not enough staff, which leads to potentially life threatening mistakes occurring. There have been cuts in diagnostic services in relations to conditions like Autism. In any case, regardless whether you’re diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder or any other condition, there is a need to be diagnosed as soon as possible. There have been patients that have died of Cancer because they were not diagnosed before it progressed. In many of those cases, those people have been visiting their GP on many occasions but they aren’t given tests (also due to lack of resources and funding). Unfortunately, many do not get diagnosed until it is far too late and in many cases after hospital admissions. These people have children, grandchildren and other family members that rely on them. Children are getting left orphans (or displaced with other relatives) because the NHS doesn’t have the resources to make a diagnosis at an early stage. Then there are those that have to rely on the NHS because of ongoing health issues/disability. They should not be told ‘Sorry we cannot help you because we don’t have the services funded here’. That adds to the stress within their daily life. Stress has been proven to worsen health issues. The lack of resources and funding isn’t helped by the fact that we are living longer and having children, which both adds to the amount of people relying on the NHS. The original concept of the NHS wasn’t designed for the way that it is now used. There is a lot more disability and long term sickness today. This results in groups of people having to rely on those services to basically survive. It could be linked with the chemicals added to food and drinks or environmental affects on us. However, this is a separate issue which also needs investigating. In my opinion, the world is poisoning people and it is leading to illnesses. I limited the amounts of chemicals I ate while I was pregnant with my son. He still developed Asthma though (a genetic family condition). However, in my Father’s case, his Asthma turned into a lung condition which progressed to COPD. He had to rely on the NHS the whole of the 62 years of his life, and much more towards the end of his life. I watched him get worse knowing that in the end it would be a death sentence. I was still young when he passed away. Therefore, I know what it’s like for the children of those that have to rely on the NHS. It is a kind of emotional torture that they go through knowing that their relative is never going to recover despite accessing services. These long term services are suffering because of the funding cuts and privatisation plan.

Then there is the Social Care system. This subject has been quite heavily debated. In many cases there are people accessing NHS and Social Care together. These aren’t always coordinated properly. This leads to shortage in hospital beds because of waiting on social workers to organise the arrangements for care at home. Social workers are also leaving the profession because of the problems mentioned above in the paragraph about the NHS. The Social Care system that we currently have isn’t working because it isn’t ‘fit for purpose’. I have been a service user of the Social Care system. I found that it made my life worse. I found out many things that happened behind my back recently. I had Social Care fuel my fears and insecurities by the things that was fed back to me. This has had an extremely negative affect on my life. The services do not function the way they are supposed to do. The views expressed here aren’t personally directed at anyone that has been involved in my case. There is a vital importance that these Social Care services are designed to be constructive, rather than destructive. It is not ethical to tell mistruths to Social Care service users. There are some people who definitely shouldn’t be support workers or involved in a support system whatsoever because they have the wrong attitude. I have observed some extremely disrespectful behaviour towards myself and others with disabilities. The worse was a paid support worker mocking their wheelchair client to their friend after they had just finished working with them. Then there was a popular photo that went around the internet which showed a support worker using someone in a wheelchair as the equivalent of a trolley on a shopping trip (this was in the county I reside in). These aren’t caring people. The job is just a source of money for them. Those whom work with people who have additional needs must have compassion and a caring nature. These are essential qualities. However, I’ve met a vast amount of people that work in NAS etc that do not have any sort of empathy for those with any kind of disability. It’s extremely upsetting because these services are meant to be there to help those with disabilities. The logistics of how the system is run as a whole is completely set up to work against any potential successful Social Care system. The lack of coordination and cooperation is becoming alarmingly apparent within our society. This is needlessly making the lives of many people miserable. I used to be a shy person. I had to rely on support workers etc to communicate on my behalf. I now realise that as a disabled disadvantaged person, you cannot be shy. There is an absolute need for you to speak up otherwise so many misunderstandings can potentially happen. There comes a point that you get fed up of being made to look like an awful person due to miscommunications caused by third parties (support workers etc).

Then there is the benefit system. I’m rather fortunate in this department because I’m registered as severely disabled due to multiple health issues alongside my Asperger Syndrome. In general, to receive housing benefit for a flat (not single room rate), you have to be over 35 now. It used to be 25 up until about 5 years ago. This is something that I do not agree with because not everyone can stay at home with their parents or other family members due to their circumstances. Single room rate will never get them even a small one bedroom flat. There are youngsters having to stay living at home until their late 30s and sometimes beyond because of these changes. In some cases, couples move in with in-laws while they’re saving up to obtain a mortgage. Benefit changes are putting a stress on everyone who cannot work due to health problems. The conversion from DLA to PIP is quite daunting for all of us because the criterion has changed. There is only one PIP assessment worker for the whole of this county. I was told this by the council themselves on the phone recently. This is again lack of resources. How is that one person supposed to judge the circumstances of several individuals on their own and not make some kind of mistakes? In order to appeal any benefit changes, appellants have to attend a court and have to convince a judge that they are worthy of being offered more money. This is something that is truly degrading. The majority of genuine people on disability do not want to live off hand outs from the system. Most of them, like me, would love to work and earn their money. The lack of jobs and poor education system, alongside the over use of labelling people with criminal records, complicates these aspirations. I am one of the ones that have paid privately (distance learning) to make up for the gaps in my education. I had to save up for the opportunity to do the extra GCSES that they do not offer after compulsory education ends.

There needs to be a serious revision of all these systems. They need to be interlinked because there is too much disjointedness which is causing issues for us all.