Friday, 5 July 2013

Guest Blog - Discrimination against the ill by Barnet Council? - By John Sullivan

By John Sullivan,

I just read your cancer blog and the update on your own personal cancer issue. My cancer treatment left me with a stomach problem, a quite acute stomach problem that attacks me at random, it should not have happened it was probably  an error on the part of a member of staff of the NHS. But I have never thought to try to sue or anything like that I am just grateful to the NHS that I am still around to enjoy my family, and support my beloved wife and daughter, and  a public free at the point of need NHS currently being privatised by stealth as is the London Borough of Barnet via the One Barnet programme without consultation.

As you are aware part of that support is my dogged determination to ensure quality of life for disabled people in Barnet, with a particular interest in the activities of Your Choice Barnet and its board of directors, along with LBB councillors and officers that are highly paid to ensure the quality of life for the most vulnerable people in Barnet. One of whom is my daughter Susan and linked to her and  important to her quality of life are her peers with a learning difficulty and some with a sensory impairment and other disabilities, and the vitally important skilled and committed support staff  we rely on and value so highly yet have no value where LBB councillors  and YCB  directors are concerned.

Even before the formation of YCB, we had from the then head of adult services Kate Kennally obfuscation misinformation and obstruction, and absolutely no attempt to meaningfully consult on equal terms with parents carers and service users on any important issue. Someone determined to get her own way, someone that thinks they know everything and parents and family carers with hundreds of years of coal face experience know nothing. As a consequence she set in train the divide and rule policy that was adopted and continued by YCB to ensure complete control of all and every decision, ensuring parents and family carers have no impactive input on any subject. Someone enjoying an income in excess of 150K per annum that has decided that skilled coal face workers that have forgotten more than they will ever know about attending disabled people, are being overpaid and as a consequence are having their already low wages cut significantly. A revisit  to the guest blogs of Linda Edwards MBE and the torrid time she had convincing this highly paid person that her daughter Rachel was not enjoying any quality of life or being treated properly will give you some indication of where I am coming from.

Last night at the BSOMC committee Councillor Rawlings was successful in his attempt to secure a review of YCB  I am pleased to say. What I am not pleased about is the rules of this committee. I wrote to them asking permission to speak to the committee in favour of the request of Councillor Rawlings, and believe it or not after having checked with the legal people, that permission was granted . I am a Barnet resident that wanted to speak in support of an item on the agenda, so what need was there to check the legality of my request ? simply because I had had the courtesy to advise them that along with other parents carers and service users we had already instructed experts in this field to undertake a complete review of YCB. Its successes and failures related to the business model it was launched upon, the future viability of all YCB services in their questionable hands, and the viability of bringing all YCB services back in -house. 

We hear the cries of  "outsource anything that moves" Conservative councillors. We hear  that to bringervices back in-house would not be viable based on prejudice not fact, so our review will allow us a few unbiased facts to consider.

One fact  Kate Kennally, LBB councillors and YCB directors  cannot overlook is the fact that after more than 40 years of action in-housethese services never finished up in huge debt, or found the need to get rid of skilled workers and replace them with cheap labour unskilled labour any Tom Dick or Harriet agency workers. As is the case after just one year of YCB, so might I suggest the return to in-house provision might just possibly be a better bet for Barnet taxpayers and service users and families , than those so determined to outsource everything suggest..

Sadly I was attacked earlier in the day by my random cancer treatment induced stomach problem and unable to make the meeting to speak in support of Barry Rawlings, therefore my colleague and co joint founder of CADDSS Janet Leifer asked to read my statement on my behalf.  It was a statement supported by many other family carers , parents and service users and the intention was quite simply to have those opinions placed on the record and Janet was denied that request.

Like Roger and everybody else that has been visited by cancer I did not choose this situation, and I find it incomprehensible that in these circumstances my democratic right to be heard and have my opinions placed on the record was denied me. Purely and simply because I am one of the many victims of cancer, and was unable to attend and afforded no facility to ensure my democratic right to  be heard via a second party was ensured.

I am so pleased that Councillor Rawlings has stuck to his task he has been continually fighting the corner of disabled people in Barnet and the call to bring YCB services back in-house ,so all we can do is hope and pray he like us is not struck down by some illness. Because that might result in his lone voice in the council chambers in defence of the most defenceless people in Barnet , being silenced  by an uninvited  illness, which I find absolutely bizarre. I ask "since when have people with Cancer been legitimate targets of discrimination and when did they cease to have the rights and dignity afforded to healthy people"

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