Archive for the ‘Our Government is a Thief’ Category

A LIFE WITHOUT MUM

February 8, 2009

At 16, Clover Stroud’s idyllic childhood was shattered when a riding accident left her mother severely brain-damaged. Now, 15 years on, funding for her care is being withdrawn. Can that be right?

By Clover Stroud

The Guardian, Saturday 6 January 2007

In the late morning of November 25 1991, my mother was riding on a disused airfield in Gloucestershire when her horse slipped and fell on a strip of concrete. She was wearing a riding hat but her head took the full impact. She was admitted to intensive care in Bristol in a deep coma, and was operated on that afternoon. Her prognosis was very bleak. The neurologist operated on Mum a second and third time over the next two months. We wish he had not.

Her reawakening, four months later, was very slow: there was never a movie moment when she opened her eyes and normality returned. Mum never came back, and she never looked like herself again either. Flaps of her skull were cut away to relieve the pressure in her brain and she had a big scar running from one ear to the other over the top of her shaved head. One of her eyes was partly shut, and has never reopened. So as she awakened she stared at us – her five children and my father – from her one good eye, looking frightened, angry, alone, because she, like us, was trying to work out what had happened, who she had become.

I am the youngest of five children. Mum had my oldest sister when she was in her 20s, and me in her 40s, and what she loved was chaotic family life. She had three children, my siblings Emma, Sophy and Tom, before getting divorced and moving to Oxford. It was the late 60s, and she and her best friend, Felicity, swapped babysitting and hotpants, wore their hair long and straight and ate a lot of cheesecake. She met my father, 11 years her junior, when he was still a student. They got married before he finished his finals and then my sister Nell and I were born.

We moved to Wiltshire when I was seven. Mum had an innate ability to create a very strong home, but would never have stressed over matching sheets and pillowcases. She filled the house with messy bunches of wild flowers and a lot of people. Everyone fell for her, because she made every day into something magic without seeming to try. Of course there must have been arguments, because that is the stuffing of family life, but even in the generically stormy teenage years, I didn’t fight with her. If I am making my early life sound romantic, that is because it was. When I feel anger or despair about what has happened to her, I remember that I was very privileged to have had her as a mother for as long as I did.

I was 16 when the accident happened and in the first year of my A-levels. Nell was on her year off before university. Life changed absolutely in the space of one morning. I can’t remember much about the time immediately after the accident, about the weeks we spent beside her body in intensive care, but someone told me that shock and trauma can make you forget a lot of things. But when she did slowly wake up, she was totally changed and entirely mentally disabled.

We all talked about what would happen when she got better. Then we imagined we would be unlocked from this awful parallel world of brain-damage units and rehabilitation centres, incontinence pads and a dribbling, confused, damaged woman who in some strange, shadowy way resembled the woman she was, but in most ways did not.

Writing this, 15 years later and Mum’s condition unchanged – if anything much worse – it seems laughable, pathetically optimistic, that we estimated her full recovery might, at the very worst, take two years. Denial, I suppose, is what we were in. And survival mode, too. When you are looking at the reality of long-term, chronic brain damage, you will do anything you can to survive.

I am now 31 and I have two young children of my own. I look back on the time before her accident as an entirely different life. Part of this is the inevitable nostalgia of an adult reviewing childhood, but what happened to Mum did profoundly change my life and my sensibilities. It is not true that every cloud has a silver lining, because nothing good, nothing positive, has come from what happened to her. It is just a nightmare, for her, for us all, that goes on and on.

Five months after the initial operations, the NHS declared that Mum, doubly incontinent, confused, disfigured, deeply brain-damaged forever, could be sent home to be looked after by Nell and me. She was awake, so they saw her surgery as a success.

A year after the accident, my sister Emma took Mum to the surgeon who had operated on her, to show him the condition she had been left in. He refused to see her. If this was saving a life at any cost, then that cost was too high.

Mum came back to live at home with a nurse. We changed her nappies, and tried to pretend that life was OK, even though the house smelt of hospitals and pee and an unnamed damage that we still couldn’t really contemplate. I did my A-levels, and Nell went to university. None of us wanted to be at home, and then a sort of late teenage rebellion set in, because it was the early 1990s and the rave scene was huge. Dancing all night in a muddy field was the most effective way Nell and I found to block out the reality of the Gothic hospital that our home had become.

But after two years everyone conceded that Mum was too sick, too deranged and damaged to live at home. So my dad sold our house, bought himself a houseboat in London and spent the change on a small terraced house in Oxford, where Nell and I both had places at university. Mum, needing skilled, full-time nursing, was awarded full NHS funding, and moved into a rehabilitation centre.

Seven years ago, she moved again, to an EMI – elderly and mentally infirm – unit in Norfolk. All of us have visited her as much as we can over the past decade. After I finished university I got married very quickly and had two children, now three and six. I got divorced almost as rapidly, and now live in Oxford in the same house that my dad bought, which Mum partly owns.

Visiting Mum is difficult. She cannot speak, write or communicate. She is epileptic as a result of the accident and doubly incontinent. She is disfigured, her head swollen, and now both her eyes are half-closed. She had to have all her teeth removed last year, she dribbles a lot, her tongue lolls and she is on a largely pureed diet. When she eats, she chokes, her tongue out. She does not recognise me, except for a moaning sound of sadness that she sometimes makes when I come into her room. I find it quite hard to remember the person that she was, the sound of her voice, the things we laughed about. She used to love babies, but when I first arrived with my son, she sat on her hands and wouldn’t look at me or touch him. I don’t know who she is.

Mum would have hated the idea of what she has become and the life it has created. There is no doubt that death would have been preferable. It would have been dignified, and you couldn’t construct a more sad living present for a person than the one that Mum lives in. Eight years ago, when she was a little more mobile, she got hold of some medication and took an overdose. She went into a coma, again, and in hospital her stomach was pumped. For what? To perpetuate this living death? When she came round again, her brain damage seemed to be more profound, and she has deteriorated even more since then.

Knowing that she was getting the nursing she needed was the one consolation after her accident, but recently that has changed. Early last year, Wiltshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), part of the NHS that had granted Mum full funding 15 years ago due to the severity of her injuries, informed me that within 28 days they would cease her funding. They claimed she no longer fulfilled the Continuing Health Care criteria to qualify for funding. No social worker has been actively involved with Mum in the past decade, even through her suicide attempt, and later an allegation of abuse at the rehabilitation centre involving a police inquiry. So the first time in many years that a social worker or member of the PCT had come to see her was to assess her for the removal of her funding. When we appealed against this decision, she was visited again by a PCT nurse who didn’t meet her, as she had been rushed into hospital that night, but he looked through her notes, talked to one of her nurses and me, and then filled in a form in which he stated that her needs were no longer “intense, unpredictable or complex”, three of the key criteria to qualify her for ongoing funding. After that the PCT relinquished responsibility for her without any formal discharge of responsibility. She was just dumped, even though social services never accepted responsibility for Mum.

Events became even more critical in late November, as we were told her nursing home was closing in early December. I found another home in Wiltshire, and stopped work, spending a month on the telephone with the PCT, pleading with them to reinstate her funding, pending the result of the appeal in January 2007, so that I could move her to a new home. Their refusal was categorical and felt deeply inhumane, as within days she would be homeless. I was advised they were acting unlawfully by ceasing responsibility for her while the appeal was in process, but I was also powerless in the face of the bureaucracy of the NHS. So they were acting unlawfully, but what could I do? Call the police?

When the PCT nurse told me that he would be going on leave for a week, and with her home closing within three days, I realised I would have to take dramatic, practical action. On December 1, I left my children with a friend in Oxford, and my sister Emma and I drove Mum to the offices of the PCT in Wiltshire, where I was prepared to leave her, because I did not have an option. The sight of Mum – damaged, frightened, vulnerable – forced them to concede, and Alison Knowles, Director of Performance Improvement and Commissioning, agreed that the PCT and social services should jointly pick up her funding until the result of the appeal in January.

The appeal about Mum’s funding is next week, and fighting her case has taken over my life. I have not worked since last November. I am a single parent supporting two children, and because I live in the house partly owned by Mum, I am facing losing my home. I know that this is a familiar story to a lot of people. Care for elderly or sick relatives cripples families already buckling under the emotional consequences of that sickness. Longevity is a family trait and Mum may well live for another 25 years. I don’t know how to shoulder such long-term financial responsibility, as her fees are more than £26,000 a year.

My story is not an isolated case. This is the way the NHS works today.

Care and the NHS

The 1946 NHS Act and 1948 National Assistance Act established two parallel systems of care: the NHS, which provides care free at the point of delivery, and local authority-funded social care, which is means-tested. Successive governments have exploited this division to cut costs and reduce NHS provision, redefining health care as social care. As long-stay NHS hospitals have been closed, funding has been moved from the NHS and local authorities to for-profit corporations.

Today the NHS in England has fewer than 190,000 available beds (most for acute hospital care); in 1948 there were 450,000 (which included long-stay beds). The mainly for-profit sector, meanwhile, has been subsidised to provide in excess of 360,000 long-stay beds. Today the NHS is responsible for fully funding fewer than 21,000 people with long-term care needs – most people in long-stay beds must pay until their assets are exhausted.

The 1990 NHS and Community Care Act was designed to reduce funding and restrict eligibility for NHS-funded care further through the formal assessments of need. In 1997, the incoming Labour government established a royal commission on long-term care, but rejected the core recommendation that personal care be free. Since then, the health ombudsman, health select committee and the Law Society have published reports drawing attention to the unfairnesses and confusion in government policy and the distress caused to thousands, yet nothing has been done. Now the courts have stepped in. The judgments highlight that government policy and procedures are being applied unlawfully, and that people whose primary need is for health care should receive fully funded care.

More than 4,000 complaints have been received by the health ombudsman – complaints can only be made once all avenues have been exhausted.

· Allyson Pollock – author of NHS plc: the Privatisation of Our Health Care (Verso)

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THIS EVIL COUNTRY – STATE DEPRIVES CANCER BOY OF MOTHER

July 10, 2008



Yes, It’s Britain I’m talking about as
Moronic Social Services Tear Cancer boy away from Distraught Mother

I have just heard of a story from a very reliable source. I know this story is completely true; but if I say too much about, if I give any details which can identify anyone involved, I will be sent to jail for exposing the criminal secrecy of the Family Courts.

But if ever a case needs to be exposed (and it can’t be because the State says anyone exposing it will be imprisoned) this is one terrible injustice, artificially constructed by ignorant, nasty, people.

In a nutshell, a small boy of about seven years old is taken to hospital with vaguely flue like symptoms by his Mother. He is diagnosed with Leukeamia – a form of deadly cancer.

Of course any Mother in this situation is likely to become fairly agitated. In this hospital, staff, notably one Doctor B…., reported the mother to social services simply because they found the mother difficult to deal with and took against her ‘attitude’ to their sloppiness.

Astoundingly dimwitted, ill educated and incompetent social services staff then constructed a completely imaginary case the mother was not able to properly look after her son.

The basis of this seems to be this mother’s ‘attitide’ to hospital staff and social services. So social services forced the woman to undergo a psychiatric report which said that as the mother was contemptuous of people in authority, she must have a personality disorder and this would make her unfit to look after her own child.

Now, co-incidentally, I once had a similar experience of social services threatening to take my child away from me and have it adopted ‘if I didn’t co-operate’ with them. This was said to me by the Director of Children’s Services in front of my solicitor. This is no figment of my imagination, therefore.

I too was forced to undergo a psychiatric examination where the report announced that as I was such an individualistic person with a disregard of those in authority ( presumably social services) I too had a ‘borderline personality disorder’ which might make me unreliable in looking after my own child.

I was sufficiently articulate to fight these nasty minded people at their own game in court. I won, but it was always touch and go as to whether the bastards were going to rip my child from both his parents and condemn him to a life in abusive foster homes.

He had already been placed in foster care illegally by social services – without any justification at all, and against the order of a court that the child be looked after by me – and had been thoroughly physically abused. He was beaten black and blue by the foster parents poking him with a stick. Although this happened just before his third birthday, my child still remembers it years later.

So social services recommend to the (secret) family court that this Cancer boy be looked after by his criminally inclined Father with a history of violence and abuse and with the Mother only being allowed to see her son infrequently for just over an hour under the ever watchful and controlling eye of social services in one of their bleak ‘contact centres’.

Meanwhile, the boy angrily tells social services he doesn’t want to live with his father and sadly says “where’s my Mummy …. I want to go home to my Mummy” to hospital staff who refuse to allow his Mother to see him while he is still in hospital.

We know for certain the whole case was based on fantasy, as a psychiatrist examining the mother as part of the social services fabricated case reported to the family court that, if the mother had not taken her boy to hospital to be diagnosed and treated for his deadly disease in the first place, no accusations of possible future bad parenting would ever have been brought against her as it was clear she had always previously looked after her son very well before he came to the hospital.

It was only social services fantasizing about the mother possiibly not being able to properly look after her child at some vaguely undefined point in the future that mysteriously gave rise to the evil minded family court, knowing they were completely unaccountablt to anyone owing to complete secrecy, forcing the boy to live with a father he feared and disliked.

Meanwhile, the boy pines for his Mother, and his Mother has been driven to distraction by having her son torn from the family home by small minded, ignorant State employees without the slightest justification.

MILKING THE MOTORIST SPEEDING CAMERA SCAMS

June 6, 2008

Like many others, I have a problem with speeding tickets , my first ever in forty years of driving !

Of course it was a camera – and a con trick to gather money.

The road was a minor A road completely empty except for me. It was 9.30 p.m. ish on a dark winter night and it was raining cats and dogs, relentlessly.

 Because of atrocious weather conditions  and a very bendy road it was impossible for me to drive particularly fast. Driving at all in those conditions took all my concentration. If I had driven fast, I would simply have skidded off the road. I also had my nine year old son in the car.

 Suddenly, going around a sharp bend I saw a 30 mph sign. It was obscured from being seen at any maximum sort of distance by virtue of being partially around a bend.

 The very second I saw the 30 mph sign I braked as hard as the wet, greasy skid encouraging road surface allowed.

 While my foot was still firmly on the brake holding the car on the edge of a slight skid  – around a corner – in a semi emergency stop sort of way, the camera flashed.

 It was so close to the 30MPH sign it was impossible to slow any faster from what had been a reasonable speed prior to the sign.

 The record showed me doing 38 mph.

 The case has yet to go to court where I wish to fight it.

 I am even considering refusing to pay any fine etc if found guilty and would be prepared to go to prison.

 If everyone was prepared to do this, refuse to pay and willing go to prison, the law would change pretty damn quick, I should think.

 I now always make a point of never paying for parking, and just throw all the tickets away, as I have had some breathtaking experiences of being robbed blind with parking tickets. I even lost a newish car illegally taken by bailiffs.

 Two recent tickets have instantly expanded to over a thousand pounds each because I didn’t pay them. The utterly disproportionate way in which an already extortionate penalty charge of £40 instantly escalates to this sort of figure is a national scandal.  

 

WHY do we all put up with it ?

 

This Totalitarian Government under Gordon Brown is simply a thief.

Motorists are being deliberately milked of gigantic amounts of money to prop up an incompetent, repressive  and failing Government of inadequate control freaks.

 How did they ever get into power ?

Any advice would be very welcome. And might I suggest giving consideration to organising a national campaign against extorting money through the excuse of ludicrously high parking fees.

 If everyone just threw their parking tickets away and refused to pay for parking, the whole rotten system would grind to a full stop.

 Just to point out a little truth that few people seem be aware of. Most council parking parking fees add up the cost of a parking space being more than enough each month to pay for a substantial mortgage.

 Yes, that’s right. Each parking space milks the motorist of a monthly sum sufficient to pay a large mortgage. Some spaces wrack up to being worth thousands of pounds per month to the council in extortion money.

 When criminals specialise in extortion it is a crime. How come it isn’t a crime when councils and the government do it ?

 Can someone tell me ?

 

http://ticketappeal.co.uk/

Child Abuse

June 4, 2008

As a single parent it has become abundantly clear to me the whole idea of both parents having full time jobs and still somehow managing to bring up their children is a complete joke.

 

I have brought up two children who are now adults. We were a two parent family and there was always one of us at home and not working. Now I have been bringing up my nine year old boy alone as a single parent since he was three.

 

What a different experience.

 

It is a full time job; and if I was to have a nine to five job, even locally, around the corner from my house, no matter how I arranged things, it is clear my boy would suffer immense emotional neglect as well as a considerably impoverished way of life.

 

I am finding it seriously difficult just trying to find enough time to work at home from my computer. There just never seems to be enough time to either get on with a decent amount of work,  or to spend adequate time with my boy.

 

How on earth does this ignorant bunch of morons who comprise our government think any single parent is going to be able to bring up children and somehow magically fit in a full time job as well ?

 

Of course,  it is possible to have that full time job and farm out the children to some dipsy child minder. But even if the child minding situation is as brilliant as it can ever get, it will still impose enormous problems on the child and parent.

 

It is hardly surprising the whole country is complaining about the dysfunctional youth of today; a vast and increasing proportion of who are becoming addicted to drugs, alcohol and crime.

 

It is the inevitable consequence of  the Government structuring an economy which forces both parents out to work, effectively ensuring virtually the entire nation simply abandons all it’s children.

 

 

The culture of fecklessness and disinterest in getting a good job and getting on in life is encouraged and nurtured by  children been left with childminders for most of their childhood while their exhausted parents go out to full time jobs, only to come home to a mountain of domestic chores for which there is not enough time to deal with.

 

The nation’s children are simply being abandoned – left to their own devices while their parents slog it out on the treadmill of Gordon Brown’s poisonous economy. 

Taxed to the hilt, working for half the year for absolutely no pay whatever to feed the insatiable coffers of Gordon Brown’s greedily officious  taxman. 

 

And where does all this money go ? Why, to an army of nasty little bureaucrats employed in ever increasing numbers by the government to interfere in every part of our lives and spy on every citizen so they can be controlled in the minutest way.

 

You can’t even leave your dustbin lid slightly raised without the Government spies noting it down in minute  detail and prosecuting you to brand you with a ‘criminal’ record. I mean, what a surreal joke to describe someone whose dustbin lid is slightly ajar as a ‘criminal‘ ! What kind of obscene Orwellian  nightmare has this Government brought to this country?

THE LABOUR GOVERNMENT IS A THIEF

May 27, 2008

 

Talking about bailiffs, I have just had a visit from one of these idiots trying to recover a parking fine.

 

This is the first time he has called about this parking fine, originally for the standard £40. The note he left says his fee for calling just this once is £595.34p.

 

I happen to know the fee is a complete fiction and a blatant attempt at fraudulently extorting money from me, and entirely illegal. 

 

The last time I actually saw a bailiff I told him to p**s  off because I wasn’t going to tell him who I was – whether I was actually his intended target or not. 

 

I snarled at him he was a parasite. He seemed to come over all hurt and aggrieved, almost tearful, and said ‘You don’t have to get personal. I’m only doing my job.’ 

I replied no decent human being would doing that job; ie going around extorting money from perfectly ordinary law abiding people this  authoritarian Labour  Government brands as criminals for simply using their cars.

 

Then reason I know the fee is illegal is because I  have learnt about it at the CONSUMER ACTION GROUP forums – very useful. Do have a look. There is bound to be something it can help everyone with.

 

 

As a currently unemployed full time single parent my only income is about £100 per week of state benefits. Parking fines of £40 for completely ludicrous circumstances, rapidly escalating by hundreds of pounds is a monstrous act of extortion by the government. It is time we all did something about it.

 

What about everyone simply refusing to pay any parking fines at all. That would sort the thieves out because there would just be absolutely nothing they could do about it except change the law.

 

This government is rapidly making Britain into a totalitarian state – just like those wacky dictatorships like Burma etc.

 



JUDGE VOICES HIS CONTEMPT FOR BAILIFFS

May 23, 2008

DRAKES GROUP and a FORM 4 COMPLAINT.

This complaint was made to Middlesborough County Court in February 2008 by a disabled lady, who is confined to a wheelchair.

The bailiff’s certificate was revoked and compensation awarded to the lady.

A parking ticket had been incurred and a bailiff from Drakes Group ( now Marston Group) had visited her home early in the morning and clamped her car BEFORE knocking at the door. The car was clearly displaying a disabled blue badge and the warrant in the possession of the bailiff was in the name of Motability Finance. It was therefore clear to the bailiff that the vehicle in question was a disabled vehicle. The bailiff charged £553.36.

The bailiff also maintained that he had visited the house the previous afternoon which was denied by this lady as the family run a business from their premises with staff. Drakes Group, in attempting to prove that a previous visit had taken place provided satellite navigation print outs which the court dismissed as they only proved the bailiff had been in the vicinity….not at the house.
At the hearing, the Judge was critical of the bailiff, but in particular was most critical of the company; Drakes Group Ltd for the following:

RE: THE CAR BEING CLAMPED BEFORE KNOCKING AT THE DOOR.

“There appears to have been absolutely no reason to do that except to bump up Drakes’ fees…..which had already been bumped up, it seemed to me, by a heavily unjustified charge the day before”.

RE: THE ALLEGED VISIT THE PREVIOUS DAY.

“I regard it as significant that there is no copy of the letter left (the previous day). I am told that this is a system of Drakes, but Mr X is the only person who can carry the can for an unsatisfactory system.”

RE: THE CHARGES OF £553.36

“Looking at that document ( breakdown of fees) which contains five figures, there is a maximum of one which is accurate , all the others are excessive”. He also said that “it seems to me that Mr X is trained to seek excessive amounts by is employers”. The Judge confirmed that the “correct figure would probably have been something under £200 made up of the original £95 (PCN), letter and two visits if one took a favourable view about the first visit, certainly NOT £553.36″

RE: SUMMING UP, THE JUDGE SAID THE FOLLOWING:

“All in all, this is a disgraceful performance, which I find particularly disturbing since it seems to be in accordance with the policy of the employers Drakes Group Ltd. I find it a matter of considerable regret that there is no body which governs the company rather that the individual bailiff. If there had been, it seems to me that Drakes Group ought to be taken before it and deprived of any licence it had”.

“It seems to me that it is perfectly clear that firms of this sort ought to be licenced and ought to operate under a statutory code of conduct rather than regarding themselves as……having a licence to rip off debtors”.

Posted by Bailiffadviceonline