Friday, 26 December 2014

Nanny Knows Best

According to the BBC, "Relatives of elderly islanders in care have been told to list items bought with Christmas vouchers from philanthropist Sir David Kirch."

One letter tells them to keep itemised receipts and make these available to the “States of Jersey Registration and Inspection Department"

Apparently these letters have been sent out at the instigation or approval of Senator Andrew Green, who has said:

“I think it's perfectly reasonable if someone is spending money on behalf of someone who a third party has a responsibility of care for, that we must be able to account for their assets.”

Perhaps so, but this seems to be an initiative from the Health Department without consultation with Sir David Kirch. If Mr Kirch has made no such stipulation, why should pen-pushing bureaucrats take it upon themselves so to do?

It does seem a very high handed way for the department to behave, and it assumes that most people cannot be trusted, and may use the vouchers for themselves rather than their relatives.

And what, precisely is, the “States of Jersey Registration and Inspection Department"?

Nursing Homes are registered in Jersey under the Nursing and Residential Homes (Jersey) Law 1994 and the associated Orders which are the Residential Homes (General Provisions) (Jersey) Order 1995 and the Nursing Homes and Mental Nursing Homes (General Provisions) (Jersey) Order 1995.

Citizen’s Advice notices that details of current registrations are available from Mrs Christine Blackwood, (Registration and Inspection Manager), Public Health Department, Maison La Pape, The Parade, St Helier, Telephone 445798.

This is a part of Public Health, not a Department in its own right. No such department can be seen on the States website. So the letter itself is highly misleading, citing something which does not in fact exist, although perhaps the bureaucrats who initiated the letter have delusions of grandeur.

Lack of trust, and a desire to control, are evils which can so easily beset government. The Nanny State is alive and well, unwilling to accept that most people are responsible and trustworthy, and burearcrats become mired in a culture of suspicion. We do not want a system where overprotection and intrusion become too overbearing. I am very disappointed in the Heath Minister's attitude..

I heard on BBC Radio of one elderly lady (quoted often) who could go and visit her relatives at Christmas because of the vouchers. Clearly, they enabled her to spend less on food, and use the money saved to travel to visit her children and grandchildren in the UK, whom she would otherwise not see in the year.

So she wasn’t using the money for food that she otherwise would not have, to supplement her purchases of food, but instead of usual expenses, so she could use the money saved for air fares. In effect, she was able to convert the vouchers into a means of paying for travel costs.

Thank goodness there is no official telling her she cannot do that.

“God bless him”, she said of Sir David Kirch.

1 comment:

James said...

"Charity ain't giving people what YOU wants to give, it's giving people what THEY needs to get."

Albert (to Death): "Hogfather" (Terry Pratchett)