This is my Mother. She was a good Mum, worked hard. Often went without food so we, her children could eat-even if it was only a bowl of knorr packet soup with potatoes added, which was our dinner ( no food banks in those days ) She was married to a violent, alcoholic ( my Dad ) who hardly ever worked, unable to keep a job due to his ‘drinking problem ‘. No such diagnosis then of ‘alcoholism ‘. So Mum worked, two, sometimes three jobs, trying to ensure we were clothed and fed. So, we were properly ‘poor’ underprivileged is the term now used, but Mum always did her best.
When her Aunt ( who brought her up ) was seriously ill and dying in the County Hospital -some 10-12 miles away, my Mother cycled to be with her every day, no matter how exhausted she was ( I was a child at the time but remember it well ) after she’d finished her paid housework job. ( no bus service then ) a long bike ride along lanes and up hills. Such love, devotion and care should be recognised and now, my Mum should be cared for with the compassion an kindness she showed others. Don’t you think, dear Dr R that this hard working, honest , good woman, now nearly 89 years old deserves respect from you?! As well as you having a ‘duty of care ‘ .
This woman, who you’ve not even met, is the person you so easily dismissed as ‘should be in a home’ . She has Alzheimers now, along with many physical conditions, but you, rather than visit, dismiss her. Her dreadful arthritis -no doubt caused by years of working in the cold, plucking turkeys in winter, to try to ensure we had some kind of Christmas , walking over snow drifts ( in the bad Winter of 1963 ) to get to her cleaning job, a mile and a half away, ( didn’t work didn’t get paid ) then doing her other cleaning job more locally, has taken its toll. Do you know this? Of course you don’t, you’re a GP who doesn’t visit, hasn’t read her notes, doesn’t realise she doesn’t like to ‘make a fuss ‘.
You’d do anything rather than visit, get from behind your desk, go to see . A older woman now, but likes to laugh, yearns for company, but is scared. She used to smoke ( to calm her nerves from numerous beatings she endured from my Father ) so has COPD, yet you refused to visit, based on an assumption that it was related to her Alzheimers! You said you ‘received numerous calls about her’ really, from whom?! Certainly not from my Mum, or family..you said ‘you’ve no time to see her ‘ . Forgive me , but even if you did receive numerous calls about her, isn’t this your job?! She gets acute chest infections, ( she gave up smoking years ago ) so are we not to call Dr R, as you expressed this view. Which, by the way, I’ve not heard expressed before from any of your partners. Don’t you like old people Dr R? Guess what, you’ll be one, one day. My mum is a brave, lovely woman. How dare you dismiss her so easily and so readily.
The surgery practice of sending OOH Drs to calls, within normal working hours, is, I’d argue, bad for continuity, bad for patients and surely not cost effective. Nobody gets to know the patients. This is particularly bad for those who suffer from Alzheimers.
Long ago, when I was a social worker, I suggested photos of older people should be attached to files, to remind those professionals that, they, were once young people, like you. You see I made ‘good ‘ my experiences of growing up in a violent, deprived home ( no doubt influenced by my Mothers kindness to others) I graduated with a double hons in Social Work and Applied Social Sciences.
Look closely, Dr R, this is my Mother. She’s kind, generous, she was intelligent ( but left school -as most of her gernation did, at the age of twelve and worked from that age, through the war and continuously from then onwards ) loves animals and many other things you do not know. Inside her head she’s still that person. Treat her with the respect she deserves and has earnt , she’s not a time waster, nor is she demanding. Quite the contrary . She’s so very grateful for the smallest kindest. A lesson, you, Dr R could benefit from.
A loving daughter.