Tuesday, 12 January 2010

What A Disgrace

An elderly couple were found dead in the above house in a suburb of Nottingham last Thursday. They were last seen on 2 January. A concerned neighbour looked through the letter box, after she couldn't get a response to ringing the bell and found 76 year-old Derek Randall lying dead in the hallway.
His disabled wife of 79 was found dead in her bed. The house was 'freezing cold'. The couple may have been dead for five days.

Mr Randall first approached a neighbour for help on 30 November. The first calls to different agencies started on 1 December and at least 15 calls were made by neighbours. On 21 December neighbour Heather Footit feared there was a danger that the couple could die and told local labour MP Sally Keeble. She demanded action but nothing was done.

Mrs Keeble said the couple's plight would have come to the attention of the authorities two years ago when Mrs Randall went into hospital for a hip replacement. After that, she added, arrangements for providing assistance, such as adapting their private-owned home or providing carers, should have been straightforward. No improvement were made.

Mrs Footit, 73, who regularly delivered hot meals to the pair, said she had noticed Mr Randall's health had deteriorated rapidly. She said she had warned the county council, health officials and Age Concern who told her the case was none of her business because she was not a relative of the Randalls.

This is the result of a labour Britain. They boast about the services they provide for all of us but when we try to access these services they pass the buck. Let's not forget here caring neighbours continually tried to get help for this couple for two months.

As well as the behaviour of the quango Age Concern, what more did the MP do other than make a telephone call or two? Did she follow it up to ensure that Mr and Mrs Randall did receive help? Possibly not. After all she was on her holidays.

Let's not forget most of Northamptonshire County Council would have been on their holidays too from 23 December until 4 January. Age Concern's chief executive's response was, "It seems there was not enough information in that referral so the staff involved went back to the county council for more details." What more detail do these people need other than to know many people contacted them to express their deep concern about an elderly couple, one unable to look after herself, needing help?

The neighbours who attempted to get help must be feeling dreadful and guilty perhaps too that they didn't 'do enough'. They did.

The people who should be feeling the guilt are the County Council, the local MP and Age Concern. I can hear the verdict of the council's inquiry already. "Lessons will be learned." It's long past time these agencies and quangos were forced to interact with each other and treat cases such as this with urgency. Sadly it's too late for the Randalls.


BellgroveBelle said...

That's an incredibly tragic tale - and completely preventable. No one should die of the cold.

In my previous job, I regularly argued the case with various organisations to get heating installed more promptly for elderly people, even getting electric radiators lent out by the local authority on one occasion. Bureaucracy too often gets in the way of getting things done.

Oldrightie said...

If Labour did social services, war, gritting and so on?

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

They will get more attention dead than alive.

Quiet_Man said...

New Labour, New ways to die.

Doubt it will be much different under the Tories though, they love their red tape and jobsworths too.

Amusing Bunni said...

Very Sad story, Subrosa. God rest their souls. These politicians have committed murder, and the awful part is they don't even care. They are probably glad, because now if these people didn't have a will or relatives, they will confiscate the house and property.

I really hate to change my motto back to worse every day, cause I'm believing for better (in my life) but when it comes to these awful gov'ts, it is WORSE.

Vigilante said...

Wow! This is a reach! IMHO!

subrosa said...

Isn't it awful Belle. Really, we need some joined up communication between all these agencies. More and more agencies come into being, overlap with others and have no contact with anyone. All trying to protect their funding etc.

There should be one process which kicks off the system. Do hope when we're independent we'll clean up public services and make them far more accessible for everyone.

subrosa said...

Don't forget OR they had a long holiday when phone calls would have resulted in a voice mail I suspect.

subrosa said...

Sadly yes Crinkly. And to think services are supposed to have improved in the past 50 years. At least people are still caring in spite of the jobs worths.

subrosa said...

Out of the frying pan spring to mind QM. We'll not be better off, Dave is too into the EU and their rules plus he likes boxes ticked as you say.

subrosa said...

They didn't have close family Bunni, the article says their only daughter was disabled and died some years ago.

Nobody will resign of course, not even out of context.

I'm disgusted with Age Concern. I'm going to cut my ties with them because of this as it's not the first time they've ignored requests.

subrosa said...

Vigil, what do you mean? Remember I'm a simple Scot. :)

Anonymous said...

When we have to listen to the likes of Brown talk about "values", usually preceded by "British", and then you read about the realities of what we provide for the least able in our society, it highlights the gaping chasm (can you have a chasm that isn't gaping?) between rhetoric and reality.

I understand that in the whole of the UK there are on average 30,000 (mainly old) people who die each winter as a result of cold. The estimate for this winter is 70,000. The normal figures for the Scandinavian countries is 0.

I understand that there is a cold weather payment made to those on means tested benefit (who obviously must get colder than those who are other benefits). It is based on temperature, but doesn’t take the wind shill factor into account. How bloody mean! What bloody values?


subrosa said...

What's frightening about this Tris is that so many people phoned various agencies and not one took any action. That was over a period of 2 months.

That scares me. It looks like the police are the last resort for the public in anything.

I'm lucky and have excellent police but they haven't, as yet, had their rural community spirit dunted out of them.

It'll come no doubt.

Gedguy said...

It is such a sad state of affairs when a couple like this have needlessly died because those who were legally obliged to look after their needs were too busy doing other things.

Key bored warrior. said...

Rosie I once worked for a large British organisation, until early retirement in 2000 thank God. Part of my job involved a lot of health and safety and risk assessments. I was sick to the back teeth attending monthly meetings and watching the box ticking bonus driven blinkered mentality of managers and assistant managers who always got a bonus for being completely useless, achieving annual goals that were obtainable by destroying departments and conditions of service came easy to them and that was the uppermost thought in their minds. "What can I strip out of this to lower the cost and achieve my objective”?

I myself observed it and many others that these meetings simply were about back slapping and box ticking, nothing else. Once the meeting was finished it was back to the keyboard to type more meaningless guff and send little jokes to each other. IT and voice mail are two of the modern plagues that are corroding Britain. Managers take no ownership of problems and surround them selves with lackeys who can be used as sacrificial Pawns when it all goes wrong. They think that if they have a meeting and produce lots of electronic guff about it that they are dealing with stuff, which they are not. It is now very easy for a manager to hide behind all these gizmos. And they do.

How many times do we see this with Social work and Health Boards? It is like pass the parcel. Who can forget Shoesmith and baby P?

One company in Birmingham that I dealt with had a tremendous reputation for doing the job at reasonable rates and responding almost instantly to queries. Speaking to one of them one day he said, “I will have to run that past the accountant,” knowing what that meant in my organisation I said, so next week then. He said, “No no just hang on for a minute she is right across the desk from me,” instant decision there and then.

Before this winter is out there will be more people like the Randall’s, God rest there souls.

subrosa said...

Many too busy thinking about their holiday I suppose Ged. It's the system that's all to hell not the people - most of them are decent folk.

subrosa said...

KBW, thanks for taking the time to explain that. My job, before I retired, was very much the same. Nobody was prepared to make a decision and cases were left for months in the hope that they'd resolve themselves. So frustrating and I used to get angry at the arrogance of those who were prepared to take their salary but blatantly not do their job.

In fact my boss used to keep his office door locked because he had a little sideline doing the books for a few medium sized businesses. Honestly. That's public service for you and the first time I'd ever been involved in the 'system'.

Finally I could stand it no longer and decided to get out and work for myself again. Best decision for my health.

banned said...

"at least 15 calls were made by neighbours". Unbelievable as also Age Concerns response, they act less and less like a real charity and more like social services every day. I expect that they quoted "data protection" at the friendly neighbours trying to be helpful.

subrosa said...

I used to have an interest in Age Concern banned but in many ways it's just a government mouthpiece I found out. Yes it does some good work but the funds it receives are massive.

It's not a charity really - certainly not in the calibre of SSAFA as a charity.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

You're spot on in your analysis of Age Concern and Help the Aged SR.

Neither are charities in the true sense of the word. They are in fact once removed quango's created to match the criteria of Care in the Community. Which by itself was a euphemism for - the cheapest form of care is neglect - and which Age Concern developed into - an even cheaper form of care is to charge for that neglect.

If both these 'charities' had any integrity they would be fighting for the pensioners to get a decent pension. An objective that is not included in their charitable itinerary.

subrosa said...

I'd forgotten to include Help the Aged in my ramblings Crinkly. Yes indeed, a duplicate quango set up to prop up Age Concern and therefore we pay twice for the privilege of having such non-user-friendly organisations 'looking after' us.

They're bunches of ex-professionals who miss having power so wangle a way into these quangos.

Like Health Scotland they should be done away with but will sense prevail? Too many in these setups know people in high places so I don't think there's a hope in hell.

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