Thursday, 13 December 2012

A Midweek Special - More Tools Than B&Q

It's quite liberating this blogging lark.  This post is a difficult one.  I am passionate about person centred planning, but sometimes it's used, by me as well, as a kind of stalling mechanism or can deflect us from the real work, blind us to the real issues, we've got some tools and we are going to use them!

One day, a few years ago in my job as a person centred planning coordinator, I googled 'WHAT IS THE POINT OF PERSON CENTRED PLANNING' It wasn't a good day.  The first google sponsored link was Castlebeck Care.  Top of the page.  Oh my word.

In a world of SNQs, HAPs, TLAP etc even person centred planning developed it's own alienating language, illustrated by this lazy cut and paste from an email to a friend a few years ago, on another bad day! 

.....Don't get me started - I knew about the 4+1 questions, then somebody mentioned the 4+2 questions and being the true professional I am, I decided to find out. To my relief - it was just the 4+1 plus another question. Perhaps it should really be called the 4+1+1 questions. Which of course adds up to 6. Then I saw that there were another set of questions called the 3+3 questions - I thought momentarily "I must find out what they are (other than the obvious answer of 6)" - that thought passed while I carried on with the almost superfluous work of trying to help people rally their allies and struggle towards an equitable life in the community....anyway then I discovered the '5 whys and the what' and just thought FECK IT.
Maths never was my strong point. I think the 5 whys just means asking why, a lot, to get to the heart of the problem.....Tom Jones would be quite good at it, although that particular 'thinking tool' would be called the '3 Whys and a Delilah'....

There I've said it.  Better Now.  Next week a little corker about something or other.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Using a Nut to Crack a Sledgehammer

Here’s another tale from serviceland. A funny picture, but like a lot of these tales not that funny really.   We do weird things, absurd things – they often follow a familiar pattern.  An injustice is uncovered, in this case people not getting equal health treatment.  So the well intentioned wheels of serviceland grind painfully into action.  Everyday solutions are considered but then quickly brushed aside.  We come up with a neat alternative;

We set up a working group which eats up months of people’s time, we invite some self advocates and family carers to give their time for free,  and spend the next year deciding on the best template to use for Health Action Plans, which we call HAPs (get in the bag).  11 months in we end up stealing one from the neighbouring local authority and changing the logo on the bottom. We’ve got a template, but who’s going to fill it in? Better employ a HAPs Co-ordinator........over lunch we leaf through ‘Death by Indifference’

Outside of serviceland we'd go to the General Medical Council, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the European Courts of Human Rights but sometimes in serviceland they are eerily quiet......

That was a bit preachy, I’ve certainly played my part in building this weird land, and I’m not dismissing the changes brought about by health action plans.   Perhaps I shouldn’t write this on a Sunday.

Well the pressure is on! One a week, that’s 52 a year.  At least when I made my infamous ‘Sweary Poster Alphabet’ there were only 26........Next week the insidious genius of capitalism, or something like that.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The CQC series

Here we are again with another tale, a double header!  Poking gentle fun at the futility of regulating people's lives with a set of minimum standards, often too minimum in my opinion. Regulation didn't uncover the horror of Winterbourne and neither will it solve it - people caring enough to act uncovered it and perhaps there lies the solution.

Next week, who knows, I'll rummage around in the old hard drive and blow the dust off another cartoon - perhaps something about; 


or something like that.  

Monday, 26 November 2012

There's a rabbit off...

I've always tried to use humour to point out the absurdities of our health and social care system.  Recently it hasn't felt like there's been much to laugh at, however stumbling across these tales from serviceland which were made at Skills for People, I was forced into a wry chuckle.  If there was a spare minute (there seemed to be a lot!) my colleague Mark Conlin and I would create a quick picture which illustrated the latest absurdity.  Many of these tales were created in the early days of self directed support, looking back at them now I was either a fortune teller or a monumental cynic - too many of the flippant, throwaway comments in the pictures have come home to roost. Sadly they've come home to roost with people and their families, who arguably are less 'in control' now than they ever have been.

The phrase 'there's a rabbit off somewhere' is a common one in my tales - a geordie expression roughly translated as 'hang on - that can't be right!'  The use of it stemmed from a fantastic weekend at an old monastery in the Cleveland Hills with Jack Pearpoint, Lynda Khan, Kate Fulton, Heather Simmons, Kellie Woodley, Derek Birtwhiltle and many others - our unfulfilled idea was to create an underground campaign which would stealthily leave a little pile of rabbit droppings and a 'there's a rabbit off somewhere' calling card at the scene of the latest social care absurdity.  In some respects it is a good job we never got the campaign going, we'd be knee deep in rabbit droppings.

Next week's tale sees the beginning of the CQC series...