We watch in horror as the NHS crisis unfolds. I have worked for the NHS for most of my adult life and this saddens me. Yet we have to have the courage to look beyond that which is immediate and easy. It is so simple to blame the government ,the doctors, the nurses for all these huge problems, yet maybe we need to look at the other side. Why are so many people GOING to hospital in the first place? What is wrong? The vast majority of people don’t go to hospital when they have flu, we have always had flu out breaks. Usually we go to hospital only when we think our lives are threatened if we don’t. This is how it should be. If, this were in fact the case ,the NHS would not be in crisis.
Now, however, people go to A.E> at the slightest whimper of sickness. Why is this? Why have people become so dependent? It is partly abdication of responsibility. People do not understand that we are all responsible for our own health and well being.The state is not responsible for OUR life choices. We are.When I had open heart surgery in 2012, I went home to my daughter to recover. This was considered the norm . I was her mother and she wanted to care for me because I was sick. Where are these children of the old, the elderly, the infirm? You may reply that they are too busy working to look after them but my daughter worked full time in a very demanding job yet she did not expect the state to take care of me. Why is it that the state is expected to care for everyone young or old?
It is clear that something fundamental has gone wrong in society as a whole. We have lost that sense of ‘caring’ for one another in good times and in bad. We have become an indifferent society, a society without compassion, without the fundamental desire to help one another and to ‘love’ one another. It is not the job of the state to care: it is the job of the individual human being, the mother, the child, the grandmother, the grandfather to care for the sick and vulnerable. The homeless wander around uncared for, unfed, unwanted, cold, lonely and afraid.This is considered acceptable, because it is the duty of the state to care that is what it is for. This is not what the state is for, it is the individual human being that is supposed to show compassion and love for these unfortunate individuals- yet we don’t CARE at all. This is the problem.
We are thrown once more into crisis. The winter demands on the NHS grown and deepen with every year that passes. I spent most of my working life as nurse therapist working for this organisation either in General or psychiatric domains. The NHS has saved my life, I had open heart surgery in 2012.
It remains a tragedy of monumental proportions that our society can not make up it’s mind what it wants the NHS to do.How much money are we as a society prepared to pay for this valuable national treasure. Do we want it to disappear without trace as it could so easily do? Can we imagine life without it? Let us all just for a moment envisage life without it. What do we see, what do we imagine will replace it? What will replace it if anything. It is time we take this problem on board, it is not someone else’s problem it is our very own problem ONLY OUR SOCIETY can fix it and run with it.
Debate is called for here, a national debate to decide first and foremost what we want the NHS to do. What is it for? Are there limits as to what we can reasonably expect from it? Secondly, we have to decide how much we are prepared to pay for it? Thirdly how are we going to pay? Should there be a separate tax for the health service or should the basic rate of Income tax be raised to pay for. Should those who earn more than a certain amount be barred from it as they can afford private medical care. Should all medical conditions be covered by the NHS. What about cosmetic surgery should the NHS have to provide that for instance. What about drug and alcohol abuse?
All These questions can only be answered by National Debate- so lets get on with it before another winter horror unleashes itself.
The idea is that drunken people will be looked after in ‘ waste bins’ to prevent them going to A.E. departments. This Is a superb idea, a place where those drink themselves into oblivion can go to sober up. There are comfortable beds, vomit bowls and showers for those who need to use these facilities. It would seem appropriate for those who are persistent visitors to these places to be ‘ helped’ if that is indeed the correct word. Rehabilitation and access to supportive networks is the way forward . It is always the way forward. There is value in having cameras installed so that users of these facilities be shown on camera so that they are able to engage with themselves and to see the result of their drinking and the horror of it. These individuals are all of us if we allow it be so, they are not foreign or alien from any one us. It is appropriate, wise and just to engage and to understand the chaos that the alcoholic endures and the misery that is inflicted upon the family and all those who love them. The world for them is as disproportionate and chaotic as the one depicted above by the painter Soutine.Art is the single most valuable medium for entering into the world of the alcohol fuelled individual. Alcohol is misunderstood by society in general and particularly by the government. It is a drug. It is as dangerous and addictive as any other drug but because it is socially acceptable it is not feared. This is the real problem, within society, there is no fear of this substance. We have got to the point where it is socially acceptable for a thirty year old woman to have a liver transplant costing the NHS. approximately £50,000.
This acceptance has to change. What if anything can change behaviour? In Scotland the price of alcohol is to be increased. Will this change the overall perception of alcohol, no it is unlikely to do so I fear. Yet monitoring these alcohol bins just might change behaviour and save the lives of countless young people and their suffering families.
I am the daughter of an alcoholic woman who killed herself when I was twelve. I have spent most of my professional life attempting to prevent the catastrophe that happened to me from happening to others.It is time that alcohol was given the same abhorrence as cigarette smoking.
Having listened to Vince Cable’s speech at the Liberal Democratic conference, I realise that he is the only politician in this country that I could support. I have been a liberal all my life, I come from a liberal family. My grandfather used to follow Lloyd George around the country just to listen to him speak and to hear the power of his oratory.
Vince spoke with sincerity, and a quiet dignity. I have always admired this man mainly for his economic acumen but also for his genuine and apparent compassion to all society- to both the young and the old the sick the weak the vulnerable. Here at last is a man I can be proud to follow, a political leader who, instinctively, I would trust with my life.
I have worked in the national health service for forty years and it has absorbed my energy, my passion and my determination to make this country a better, kinder place. It breaks my heart to see what it has become in recent years under Tory rule. I am no longer proud to be British as I once was, no I am ashamed of where we are and what and who we are. It is sad. The austerity cuts have driven a wedge into our humanity. Much of my career was spent with the mentally sick. I worked with the homeless in cardboard city and in some of the most deprived estates in London. What always moved me was the basic humanity of these people, their ability to love and care for one another. The less they had the more it seemed to me, they loved. They loved one another they cared for one another: frequently their genuine compassion moved me to tears. Now that I am retired I miss those magic moments, I miss defending them, I miss loving them.
Politics, until the arrival of Vince Cable, as leader of the Lib Dems seemed an alien environment filled with ‘creatures’ that lived in their own worlds. Separate, always and for ever from the needs of the ‘ordinary’. This was nowhere more apparent than in the aftermath of the disaster of ‘Grenville Tower’. As Vince so rightly said the poor are not listened too- it seems as if the absence of money equates to the absence of intellect and intelligence. I was truly ashamed to watch my Prime Minister Theresa May actively avoid the victims of that horrific incident: to be unable to approach these people: to shake their hands; to demonstrate even a modicum of compassion. I do not want to be governed by these people. I want to be governed by a real human being like Vince Cable.
Thank you Vince for existing and for caring. You gave a great speech, you are a great man.
Mollie Lord.B.A. RGN/RMN. Dip;University of London. Cert;philosophy of the Body(University of Lampeter).
First and foremost alcoholism is a family disease in a way that that is unique. First and at the centre of the stage is the alcoholic, but around him are those whom he infects. The interdependency develops insidiously, slowly and without warning. Suddenly almost all are emeshed in the web of addiction. All are determined to maintain the status quo and protect the alcoholic from himself and from the consequences of his drinking. Initially this is perceived as both love and loyalty by all the close family members. The alcoholic is a secret, fragile creature who is sick and must be cared for. The purpose of this behaviour is to maintain a cohesion when in fact there is no cohesion, it is a delusional state that the family enters into.All the relationships within the family network are attachment disorders. All are addicted to the alcoholic as the alcoholic is addicted to the alcohol.
I am the daughter of an alcoholic who killed herself when I was 12 years old. My son is an alcoholic, my first husband was abusive and drunk himself to death. I have survived by spending much of my life as a psychiatric nurse/ therapist learning about this terrible disease. I have run alcohol groups both for alcoholics and for the families of alcoholics. I have a particular interest in supporting the children of alcoholics.
My novel ‘ Paradise Lost’ is the story of a woman who eventually kills her alcoholic mother after years of child hood abuse. She gets away with it. The central question of the novel is:’Do some people deserve to be murdered?’ Every reader must decide this for themselves, and I have been criticised by some for writing what is essentially an immoral novel. Is it immoral to get away with cold blooded murder? Yet there is the guilt, and the guilt is as destructive and dangerous in it’s way as the alcoholic. There is no escape: not for anyone. Guilt is the predominant emotion for every alcoholic and also for the family that supports him.
Guilt is the legacy of alcoholism.It is this emotion more than any other that sets the stage for the collapse of the alcoholic family and the destructive nature of the relationships therein. Eventually the family members blame each other for what has happened to the alcoholic and to the catastrophic nature of the collapse.
Jung thought every patient unique and it was this uniqueness that made them valuable.Mental illness he beleived to be essentially a disunity of the personality. Few diseases ,if any, cause more disunity of personality than alcoholism. Children of alcoholics repress their feelings especially those of fear because of the dynamic to defend the alcoholic and to protect him from himself.
‘ If I’m a good girl he won’t drink’.
“He drinks because of me.’
‘ If he loved me he wouldn’t drink- he does drink therefore I am unloveble’
‘It’s my fault’.
The child of every alcoholic is insecure, and frightened because their world is chaotic.Sadly the children of alcoholics are damaged people. They suffer a self possessed agony which maybe compared to either suffocation or drowning because of the total immersion that is the hall mark of every alcoholic relationship. The person they love most in the world cannot be trusted, the person they need most in the world cannot be trusted, so they grow up without either self belief or confidence.
Image by Picasso:
M.Lord. BA, RGN/RMN. Dip:mental health/University of London.Cert:philosophy of the body/University of Wales.
Author of Paradise Lost(Mollie Bach)
This is a child. A beautiful thing, a loving thing.Suicide is an ugly thing, it is the scar that never heals:
“TIME Does Not heal,
It makes a half stitched scar
That can be broken and again you feel,
Grief again as total as in it’s first hour.
Why I wonder does no one understand that very simple fact about suicide survivors? No amount of love from other people can help. No advantage of a caring family can help. No passionate love from any person can help, no matter how strong, no matter how deep, can make it’s way through the well of loneliness.Those who are left behind in the wake of suicide are left alone to deal with what is the anger and the guilt. Trying to understand that which is inexplicable, the survivors who always wish they had not survived, to deal with the loneliness and the despair- to try to comprehend an inexplicable act, an act of betrayal for that is what suicide is more than anything: it is an act of betrayal. Betrayal of those who love and who are left to comprehend the incomprehensible.This is what lies before the survivors a life time of incomprehension. Most of all they are left to to miss a parent whose life was woven into their own from the very beginning.
Suicide is indeed a death like no other and those who are left behind must confront a pain that is like no other. It leaves a hole in the heart that nothing and no one can ever fill.Corrosive pain, abandonment: suicide rips apart families like nothing else.Everyday the survivor wakes up and wonders why. Why did they do this to me? How could they do this to me? The incomprehension is what rips neural networks apart, that shreds them that destroys links and synaptic connections. Suicide shreds brains. Brains are what we are , brains are who we are. Brains are us. Yet brains cannot deal with the volcanic eruption of suicide. They cannot recover from this irrevocable damage .They fracture, they dislocate, they change into shattered glass. Shattered glass is the legacy of suicide, the twisted nerve the ganglion gone wry.