The LBBill & Dr J Evans Pritchard
On 18th July I wrote the blog post, “a plan”. Within days, the suggestion I made grew like Topsy into the LBBill. It was a serious suggestion but I didn’t really expect anyone to take it seriously. In a nutshell, the idea was that there should be a statutory presumption that everyone should live in their own home of their choosing. Because the original post was about people trapped in ATUs, some people have assumed that the Bill would only apply to people with learning disabilities. That was never the intention as I believe the Bill would protect not just the learning disabled, but people with physical disabilities, the elderly and people with mental health issues. Everyone. The overwhelming response is that it is a good idea but as the discussions that have followed have shown, there are lots of potential flies in the ointment.
Two major issues that keep being raised are: 1) Where is the housing going to come from? and, 2) How is this going to be funded? My responses around this are rather simplistic and I’ll leave it up to others to debate more thoroughly. To the first question, I would say, in the most part, the housing is already there. A person is already living somewhere before officialdom deems they should be living elsewhere. Let’s look at what it would take to enable the person to continue to live in that home. For others, I would argue that housing is out there but it needs a quantum leap to see the possibilities. Many professionals talk the talk about independent living but have a real resistance to turn that talk into action. As for the second question, I think this is just as much about will and changing cultural patterns, as the austerity argument that always seems to be shoved at us. This is the time for all the Personalization talkers to step up to the plate and prove that it can be done.
One thing that is fascinating me is the amount of tension the idea of the LBBill is creating. How can something that most see as a great idea be causing so much wobbliness? I can see already for all those the Bill might benefit, there are those who might lose out. Those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Those who make a lot of money out of the present shambles. So, not the people using services – more the interested parties. Never mind. Tough titties.
Last night we were up till 3am as Steven is not sleeping well in the heat. We found ourselves watching Dead Poets Society. In one of the opening scenes, the boys are reading the book ” Understanding Poetry” by Dr J Evans Pritchard. Robin Williams rips out the opening chapter,arguing that art, poetry, love, life can not be expressed as a scientific formula. I feel a bit the same about social care – the words, the systems, the ideas have no relation to the people they are meant to be about. Lives are minimized. Lives are sterilised. Human beings become objects.
So let’s turn the status quo on its head and let the human beings take charge of their lives. Capacity? We’ll see. My instinct is that most people, Ill, non verbal, in mental decline, still have a pretty good idea what they do and don’t want from their lives. The trick is to listen hard.
From → Social Care