Remember nearly 4 weeks ago when an urgent re-assessment of MsF by Health and Social Care was cancelled at 27 minutes notice? (read Carer With Attitude: “Not bitch!” A woman of no importance!)
It has taken the Social Worker this long to find another time she could agree, even though I gave a list of times we could make ourselves available as long as my arm. (I would believe more in this delay if she hadn’t cancelled our last meeting because of a ‘prior appointment’ – but I caught her in her office at the very moment she was due at ours.)
We thought briefly that we had arranged an appointment for 2 weeks back but she rang up shortly afterward saying “I’ve just discovered I have a hospital appointment – so of course that won’t do.” Not like anyone else’s hospital appointment, clearly.
Anyway, for three weeks – THREE full weeks -the date has been fixed for today, Monday 19th May 2014 at 10.00 am. I have the letter in front of me, dated 30 April, confirming it.
I was just tweeting the fact at 9.45 when – guess what – the phone went!
Yes, that’s right. We’re sitting here, poor helpless, hapless, flaccid, unimportant people of no importance. We have nothing better to do
CANCELLED. Again. This time with 15mins notice!
“There’s really no need to take that tone, I’m only passing on a message,” said the disembodied voice at the other end of the phone huffily. Like that matters to me. To Ms F.
Isn’t it the department on the phone? WHO is taking responsibility for this appalling discourtesy, I demand?
The social worker’s boss. But she’s off sick too. Can I have your name?
Here I pull my secret weapon out – for, dear readers, I have one – and the tone changes dramatically. This makes me even crosser than ever.
WHY should ANY secret weapon be necessary for a public servant to fulfil their employment compact with the vulnerable and disadvantaged people they are employed to help?
Here is a S-H-R-I-E-K on behalf of Mrs F, on behalf of myself, on behalf of all these millions of disempowered, unimportant carers who are clearly seen as worth no more than to be treated as invisible people by disrespectful workers who are very keen on exacting respect for themselves and their working lives.
Tell me, if we were paid more than 0p per hour, if our time had any meaning, would they behave to us like this?
As I said last time – the vocabulary of public services is stuffed with ideas of ‘respect’ for ‘service users’. But when will they realise that they get judged by their actions rather than their words? And cancelling a three-times cancelled appointment without backup minutes before it was due to take place says loudly and clearly that your client (the young woman with epilepsy) has obviously nothing better to do with her time, and her mother (the carer) is doing it all for free so what does she count for anyway? Its not like they were going to be going anywhere, is it?
Yes, I am sure that working life as a social worker is stressful, I am sure she may have been ill, I am sure she feels overworked. But she is dealing with a woman (me) who has worked nearly 60 years of EWTD weeks since the millennium – a lot more more than my entire calendar age, for goodness sakes, unpaid. A woman who finds it difficult ever to be ill and ‘off work’. A woman with two chronic and dangerous diseases brought on by over-work, who is now being investigated for a third. I’m not missing any appointments, this end. I’m not taking any days off work. And if ever I am too ill to care for MsF I have to find someone else to do so. Surely the Social Worker could have made the same arrangement at her end? Its not rocket science.
It is precisely because family carers are not paid and therefore not valued, that a comparatively well-paid social worker is able judge her own relative importance on what she sees as purely financial grounds and behave with disrespect to what she sees as the impotence of those she is employed to look after!
Join the Carers Virtual Strike on 21 June. Show everyone – social workers, as well as bankers – that family carers MATTER . Yes, they really matter, in the real world..
Oh, and a copy of this blog is going to the Social Worker in question. And her boss. And her boss’s boss too