Unsung heroes and heroines…

I was recently asked to name a person who inspires me as part of a little interview exercise. Me, being me, I interpreted the rules creatively and named people not a person, the people I currently work with in the caring ‘industry’. No doubt exists in my mind that these people are unsung heroes and heroines who give so much for what is far too often so little reward. This is not to say caring for people, vulnerable people, is un-rewarding in itself but more that the sacrifices people are asked to make are too great and should not be asked of any worker, be they in a profession they love or loath; being caught between financial penury and exhaustion and illness brought on by a deeply unbalanced ‘work/life’ existence are not things that should be an issue in our modern, supposedly, ‘civilised’ society. For example, nobody should be asked to choose between work and seeing their personal relationships put under strain or to choose between scraping by and seeing their social life dwindle into nothingness. All-to-often staff end up effectively paying to work in the industry due to travel costs and other factors; all too often I hear of people being pushed to the limits of human endurance, exhausted by a physically and emotionally demanding job with ridiculous hours piled on-top and then, of course, they end up being ill, increasing the burden on others and even here I am barely scratching the surface of the industry-wide issues that exist.

It is however typical of our media that they are interested in these issues only when things go wrong, never mentioning the sterling and worthy work done in care every single day; it is however, sadly a constant battle many fight against the odds of a poorly run and ethically disoriented industry. The implication of the stories like the one circulating today regarding Serco is clearly that it is a few ‘bad apples’ that spoil the broth but nothing could be further from the truth; it is the broth itself that is already noxious and mouldy. The underlying cause of the much-touted ‘crisis in care’ is the private ownership of care companies and the consequent drive to maximise profits; the rest of the world be damned and until this boil is lanced, tragedies will continue to happen and good people, service users and staff will continue to suffer. Private enterprise simply has no place in the healthcare sector at all; too much is at stake for things to be left to the untamed whim of the market and no matter how ‘different’ agencies intend to be they are all, inevitably, at some point caught in the privatisation race-to-the-bottom and to maximise profit.

Radical times demand radical measures and the solution for service users and staff ultimately ends up being the same thing. If you want to solve the ‘crisis in care’ the only viable, sustainable solution is to drive the market and private ownership out of the industry altogether. A National Care Service is the only way forward as a fully integrated part of a National Health Service rescued from the yawning abyss of privatisation by a Labour government that celebrates the virtues and underlying ethos of public service. I hope I live to see the day when our Party, being true to its great radical socially transforming traditions, can make this a reality and finally all the unsung heroes and heroines I have met in the last 7 months get the recognition they deserve.

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About darrellgoodliffe

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3 responses to “Unsung heroes and heroines…”

  1. Kieran Gormley says :

    I have just read your tweet regarding you being suspended from your job after your employers read your blog unsung heroes and heroines. Comrade, please allow me to begin by sending you my utmost sympathy. The company you work for should be absolutely ashamed of themselves, I was left asking myself one simple question. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH!!! I wish you all the very best in your disciplinary hearing.

    As well as this, speaking as a former carer of many years, I agree wholeheartedly with your blog, in fact it was just like listening to me!! The workers in the caring profession receive very little thanks and an awful lot of stress and abuse and all this for a minimum wage or very little over. This was the reason why both my wife and myself ended up leaving the caring profession.

    My current employers alike yours are unable to listen to the truth and I am also forced into silence about things that are wrong about both my company and my job. Once again all the very best with your future meeting with your employers and I hope it all goes well for you.

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  2. @yrosered says :

    Hi, I also saw you had been suspended. My sister works as a carer. Minimum wage, no travel time so constantly short changing the people she cares for as she tries to get from one end of town to another, working 7 days a week, starting at 6am, finishing at 10pm but unable to make ends meet, no sick pay. Tired all the time, broke all the time, yet providing vital care to the elderly and sick, many regular patients who adore her. Her job makes her ill but when she took a day off – unpaid – her supervisor came to her house to check up on her. Her car is old and falling apart but she has to go out in ice and snow down country roads and ungritted lanes. She has no pension, no savings, no fun. And yet she does an amazing job. She should be publicly employed with full working rights and benefits instead her employers make a profit out of her hard work and her clients’ needs – many funded by the council who have put the work out to tender to the lowest bidders. It disgusts me.

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  3. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Kieran thank you for your support….I have been pondering exactly that same thing all day to be honest, it is sad when it has come to this and doesnt say much about the depth of democracy and freedom we actually have in our society….

    yrosered your sisted sounds exactly like one of the many amazing people ive met in my time in care…it disgusts me too and i can assure you both I am not going to be cowed by all this….my time in care has made a deep and lasting impression on me and its one i will carry with me for the rest of my life…

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