For once, the Daily Mail‘s indignation is right on the button.
It reports today that district nurses are being asked to encourage elderly people to sign their lives away.
These ask if people have a preference to die at home when their time comes – and go on to suggest: Do you agree to a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) notice?
In other words, if they suffer a life-threatening health risk and doctors could bring them back, will they tell the medical professionals not to bother?
Nobody knows how long an elderly person might live after having their life saved. Some might say the Mail is simply trying to protect its readership – but this does seem to be a cynical attempt to save money – not only on health care but also on pension payments.
“The Royal College of Nursing says its members, most of whom will be meeting the patient for the first time, should not be put into the position of asking the elderly to sign their life away, particularly since they may be confused and not have a relative present to support them,” the Mail‘s comment column states.
It quotes a healthcare expert who said “the question itself is ‘callous’ and potentially disturbing, since it might leave the frail or vulnerable wondering if the visiting nurse ‘knows something they do not’, and death is imminent.
“Doubtless the NHS will say there is no malice intended, but this approach is as deeply troubling as it is insensitive. Don’t forget the Liverpool Care Pathway – under which patients judged to be dying were left without treatment, food or fluids – similarly began with supposedly humane intentions, only to be scrapped after… fears that it was being coldly misused to free hospital beds.”
Slightly less believable – on the face of it – is a plan reported in the Daily Mirror to force children in a central London council estate to use a play area underground.
The Conservative-led council that runs the Churchill Gardens estate wants to use current play facilities at the primary school to build an elderly people’s home, the paper reported.
Land marked out to accommodate the elderly will instead be used – get this – “for luxury apartments overlooking the Thames and the multi-billion-pound Battersea power station development. Flats that no-one in the overcrowded Churchill Gardens estate will be able to afford”.
Yes – it’s social engineering. Bring in the super-rich; bury the proles (and their children). Ensure enough Conservative voters live in the area to keep the Tories in control there.
Does anybody think the council has any intention of building children’s play facilities underground? It seems a bizarre effort, considering this council’s desire to do anything rather than spend money on the poor. Also, it would open up the estate to the possibility of terrible crimes, as children who are out of sight – as Tory councillors seem to desire – would be prey to criminals.
Both stories highlight the attitude of Conservatives in power in the UK today. They don’t care about anyone but their own.
They deprive the poor to save money, and then lavish it on those who have too much already.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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