Thursday, 8 December 2011

Tickboxes, module 2

Module 2 is about enhancing quality of life for people with long term illness. This module contains to my mind the vaguest, most imprecise and ill defined objectives of the entire document. A catalogue of sound bites with no substance whatsoever.

.....2.1 Ensuring people feel supported to manage their condition.
“Feel supported?” How is that for a nice, crisp, scientific end point. Bearing in mind the wide differences in inherent self sufficiency, and the huge variability in peoples’ willingness to complain this is going to be impossible to measure with any reliability. I have no doubt that those involved will be able to throw up some figures but these will be utterly meaningless.

.....2.2 Improving functional ability in people with long term conditions. 
What a good idea. I am surprised none of the physiotherapists, occupational therapists, remedial gymnasts, speech therapists etc etc already employed doing exactly that have not already thought of it. A slightly different sort of sound bite this, exhorting us to do something we are already doing. This one emphasises getting these patients in employment. So it’s primary purpose is to get people off benefits.

.....2.3 reducing time spent in hospital by people with long term conditions.
Well of course we can’t have hospitals full of nasty sick people who need looking after. It will make the hospitals less attractive to private sector investors.

.....2.4 Enhancing quality of life for carers
I am fully aware that long term carers have a raw deal in Britain. But this is a problem for government, not the NHS. Your problem boys, not mine. Financial and social support for these people are not something I can do anything about. And if you want to give carers a little time off you are going to have to put the patient in hospital, contrary to 2.3.

.....2.5 Enhancing quality of life for people with mental illness.
I touched on this in module 1. And again the primary aim here seems to get these people in work, and off benefits.

.....2.6 Enhancing quality of life for people with dementia.
This is the first of a number of points which carry the rider, “An indicator needs to be developed” What this means is that the bright spark who thought up this noble objective has not the faintest idea even how to assess quality of life in these patients, let alone how to identify areas and means of improvement. We all know care for these patients is often poor, but that is not the fault of the over stretched and underpaid carers. It is a matter of resources. This objective will be used to berate staff who are doing the work of two for not doing the work of four. The demoralised staff will hand in their notice, and the problem will get worse.

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