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Chilling… October 29, 2012

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.
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One small quote from the Winterbourne View care home case where care workers acted in frankly savage ways:

The judge condemned Castlebeck for the way Winterbourne View was run. “It is common ground in this case that the hospital was run with a view to profit and with a scandalous lack of regard to the interests of its residents and staff,” he said.

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1. CMK - October 29, 2012

Take a bow, JP, John, Denis. You did us all, eh, proud! Now doubt once the private sector provision of care for complex disabilities is fully operational here we’ll have our fair share of similar stories. We can’t say we haven’t been warned!

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2. Michael Carley - October 29, 2012

Interesting comment here:

Taking concrete steps at local levels towards the establishment or revitalisation of Trades Councils, which task themselves not just with the business of co-ordinating resistance and mitigating the worst effects of the current assault by government, but also with the creation of new class-conscious agreements between service provider and service user. In other words, labour activists should be seeking to develop, for a new age, the civic guilds envisaged by Cole:

http://www.newstatesman.com/staggers/2012/10/private-sector-greed-didnt-cause-winterbourne-view-abuse

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3. ivorthorne - October 29, 2012

Is it not the case that there are no inspections of residential facilities for people with intellectual disabilities in Ireland?

Given what’s came out about our industrial schools, the laundries and St. Patrick’s Institution, how bad do you think the abuse in these institutions will turn out to be?

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CMK - October 29, 2012

I don’t think there is a culture of abuse in residential facilities for the intellectually disabled here. If there was the whistle would have been blown by now. You have to understand that most of the publicly funded care facilities for the intellectually disabled have a throughput of hundreds of student nurses every year. If there was systemic abuse I think we would have either seen the whistle blown or it would have begun to emerge over the past few years on social media. Added to that the religious, for all their profound and unforgivable faults in the industrial schools, laundries etc, did and still do seem to have a particular emphasis on and softness towards the intellectually disabled. Not saying there’s no abuse; just saying that if there is it’s not systematic (yet!).

Of course, as austerity intensifies and the Troika mines down into social provision here there will be extreme pressure to privatise care for the intellectually disabled. And the Castlebrook boyos will be there to cash in, you can be sure of that. So, where there was previously two trained nurses to a unit, along with several care attendants with years of experience; you’ll start to see one nurse and one or two care attendants more or less off the streets trying to cope with a dozen or more extremely demanding patients. In such a situation abuse is inevitable. The Castlebrook boys will be charging the state top dollar per capita to provide care and will be ruthlessly cutting costs (i.e. cutting the wage bill) at the same time. Faced with the possibility of putting an intellectually disabled love one into the ‘care’ of Castlebrook and their fellow travellers or leaving them with the Daughters/Brothers of Charity, I’d take the latter even as a secular socialist. Obviously, a properly funded public care system should be implemented but something tells that’s not gonna fly in the coming years.

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ivorthorne - October 29, 2012

“I don’t think there is a culture of abuse in residential facilities for the intellectually disabled here. If there was the whistle would have been blown by now. You have to understand that most of the publicly funded care facilities for the intellectually disabled have a throughput of hundreds of student nurses every year. If there was systemic abuse I think we would have either seen the whistle blown or it would have begun to emerge over the past few years on social media. ”

Is this any different to the situation in the UK? I’ve heard stories for years about various institutions – some of which have good reputations and have featured on TV as “good” institutions who have adopted “progressive” policies.

Last year, we had the Prime Time “Behind Closed Doors” documentary. That was an investigation of a single institution. That story hadn’t come out through social media or the like, and many student nurses, doctors, carers and even family members would probably have been aware – to one degree or another – of the neglect those residents were subject to. Often, people just tend to accept practices as “the done thing”.

The bottom line as far as I’m concerned is that if you don’t have independent inspections of any institution, then you’re creating conditions where abuse and neglect are likely.

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ivorthorne - October 29, 2012

From the RTE blog about the Behind Closed Doors documentary:

“A whistleblower willing to raise his head above the parapet is very rare in the intellectual disability sector. During the research for this programme we spoke to many people working in the sector who had stories of very poor care, but only one would go on the record.”

http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0616/blog-16june2011_primetime.html

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CMK - October 29, 2012

OK, I might be off point here. I don’t work directly in the sector but know plenty who do. Perhaps there is a culture of silence. But also with ‘Prime Time’ there’s often a tendency to exaggerate things and imply that there is a big conspiracy out there that Prime Time’s doughty journalists are working to expose if only more people would come forward. But, again, maybe there is massive abuse that’s not being reported. In any event, if there is it will likely intensify if there is privatisation of care here, like in the UK.

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CMK - October 29, 2012

I agree with your final point. However, was ‘Behind Closed Doors’ not about the mental hospitals? That’s a whole different dimension with its own realm of assumptions, prejudices and secrets. The mental hospitals (a de facto gulag for thousands) were a completely different phenomenon altogether where abuse, condemnation, sequestration and punishment were the whole purpose of them. My point is that the intellectually disabled were viewed differently by the providers of care here; that is the religious orders and those orders were softer towards them. I suppose in the thinking of the time they were regarded as less capable of sin and did not bring outright shame on their families, unlike those locked up in the psychiatric hospitals. Incidentally, both the intellectually disabled and those with mental health difficulties are going to suffer immensely in the years ahead. It’s not something that will trouble the Cliff Taylor’s and Stephen Collins’ of this society who will doubtless regard that suffering as justified in the ‘national interest’ and the recovery of our ‘economic sovereignty’. But if even a fraction of what’s unfolding in Greece is replicated here then we’re in for some profoundly distressing situations.

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