Philosophy of The Big Society

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Friday, 5 November 2010

Direct Payments. A Tale of Utter Confusion on the part of the Professionals

Viewers to this blog (bless your hearts and stamina) may remember that my ex care line with my care plan...put forward a proposal to Social Services in order for me to get a Direct Payment to help with issues around isolation, agoraphobia and depressive side of my illness.

That was Autumn 2009. Social Services agreed to fund me in December of the same year and I, eventually, got a back payment of £800 in May 2010 (in lieu of the months leading up to that point).

It took another 3 months due to MH Trust insisting I must use one of the care agencies recommended by them, only to later be informed that the care agencies they recommended do not provide the sort of support I needed (their words not mine) and me than having to (muchly supported by local Disability Resource Centre) go through process of employing a care lady (drafting job description/interviewing etc etc etc.

So, I have had 3 months of my care lady's time at 3 hours per week. Thankfully, I picked the right lady. She is brilliant. Empathetic, on time, flexible and friendly.

There are however, still a few outstanding issues such as

Central Bedfordshire Council, whom set deadlines for me to return expenditure paperwork to them but do not send me the paperwork to complete. Up until this month I had been photocopying forms and sending them back. To ensure I was adhering to their policies. However, I have been a bit strapped of late and can't afford printer the paperwork has not been returned and the file (I bought and organised to ensure everything was in its place is now devoid of some essential paperwork).

Not only are they incapable of keeping to their own policies but on the odd occasion I have needed to talk to them about things like "How come I still have £1,000 in my account and only 3 months left of my care lady's time?" along with "Could I use some of this money to pay for my care lady to attend Thai Chi classes with me?" I mean who is going to be working for somebody 3 hours per week and pay for themselves to do that? Not many people, me thinks. I have left messages on answerphones and, as yet, not one response!!!!

I am sure there are people thinking "How come this woman still has that amount of money" or "WTF is going on?" Well, firstly, I have stuck by what I thought was the original agreement of 6 months to pay for care support and secondly, I haven't got a damn clue what is going on anymore. Maybe, social services are providing the Direct Payment for a year. If so, then they should have formally written that into the agreement. Basically, I have spoken to a few people about this and their view is the council have totally lost the plot on this and are in a mess.

Anyway, Care Lady managed to hunt out 'Thai Chi' course starting on Monday. Centre needed enrolment fees by today. I rang council, no-one available to talk to me, rang Disability Resource Centre who told me it was up to Care Co-ordinator. Rang CMHT office..Care Co-ordinator, out...due back any minute....waited around for hour and then had to make executive decison to pay for care lady's enrolment fee from Direct Payment as Em only had a while to spare to take me to the centre (she is in the middle of moving into a flat share) and so it friggin' goes.

Care co-ordinator finally got back to me half hour back and is in agreement that part of the direct payment can and should be used for care lady to do activities with per mental and physical well being/care plan. He now has the ominous task of trying to make contact with the council to confirm this.

Case of watch this space become supper massive black hole.

Hell, if council has a problem with that they can sue me and I will counter sue for all the ruddy aggro they put me through. Well, actually I won't because I can't be doing with trying to get a lawyer,I can't be doing with the many layers of bureaucracy that weave themselves around and then swallow me up.... and I can't be doing with trying to get to courts....although I could ask Care Lady to accompany me. Ha! Ha! Irony my very bestest friend.


  1. Well I am glad they agreed to let you use the money I half expected your CC to say know. wouldn't surprise me. All you need now is a longer allowance and more hours mybe 3 hours twice a week at least.
    I have no faith in these people though would gladly drop them all into vats of acid. :-/

  2. With Lareve on vatting fat cat care bureaucrats ...teamwork...... but if the various Care bodies can get it together to get this enterprise to work properly and made widely available before it becomes the next cuts casualty , and personally ,think that's a big if, it'll be an improvement but bureaucracy needs to be kept to minimum as a lot of people wont be able to cope with that level of paperwork and interaction with jobsworths and it's clear Mand has also been frazzled dealing with it .Think its great Mand now has a Care Lady thats she happy with and getting out and about more with her help. Hopefully we'll get to see a pic of Mand in leotard doing Tai Chi work out? ...ok ..just wondering...

  3. Hi Lareve

    I got in such a state earlier. Poor Em being hassled mid move and bless her heart for helping. I have tried hard to keep her out of it best as and yes she is my daughter but having co nursed mum for years with dad (and the effect that had on us both) I do not want Em to go through that and she shouldn't have to.

    It was that post crisis coping freak out...gets me every time!!!

    Self medication sorted that and managed to get to town and meet up with friend (who works at care home Dad is in). She suffers Bipolar and although there is much naffness to Bipolar...there are things we can empathise with each other safe with each other to talk about.And we kinda looked out for each other at the Fireworks Display. Was good that Em and her friend turned up to. I get so little time with her that every time is spesh.

    I kinda agree on the vatting but have to wonder if they haven't got one poor sod on £6.50 per hour running the Direct Payments Department. That wouldn't surprise me. Vatting the management is fine by me. They do so little and get paid so much. Suit money, I call it.

    Have erratic views about care co-ordinator. Sometimes he is like invisible man...particulary when I hit crisis..but every so often he comes up trumps. Just gotta hope he follows up on what he has said and that results in a more appropriate agreement. We will see but have been crapped on and let down so much, I don't believe anything positive will happen until it does x

  4. Mr Gorm :>)

    Me in a leotard. You must be manic matey!¬!¬!

    It will be leggins and a baggy t with thick socks.