03 July 2007

The Elderly - Who Cares?

The Welfare State We're In - Doctor and elderly patientThe NHS Blog Doctor has a brilliant dissection of today's Times article, Who cares? Both the article and the good doctor's response are rather long, but here's his conclusion:

The NHS was set up and funded to deal with illness, not old age. The problem in the UK is that the Welfare State mentality has turned us into a nation of welfare payment scroungers. Why do families in this country not take responsibility for their own elderly? Why should the taxpayer pick up the bill for the social care of elderly, wealthy businessmen?

Why do we not care for our own elderly relatives? It can be done. Some British families do it. Families of Indian and Pakistani origin. I have never, in all the time I have been practising medicine, heard an Indian or Pakistani say “We cannot look after mother because we have jobs and families of our own” Somehow, they manage.

My practice looks after three large old people’s homes and an EMI [Elderly Mental Illness] unit.

There is not a single patient of Indian or Pakistani origin in any of the old peoples’ homes. There is one hopelessly demented elderly Pakistani lady in the EMI unit. She probably gets more visits than the rest of the patients put together.

There must be moral in this.