Monday, 31 January 2011

Thousands Killed In British Nursing Homes

The Office for National Statistics have compiled a report into deaths over the past five years in nursing homes.

Analysts found there were 667 victims of dehydration, 157 of malnutrition and 1,928 deaths linked to superbugs. Some 1,446 died suffering with pressure ulcers, otherwise know as bedsores, while 4,866 died with septicaemia, or blood poisoning. Another 4,881 had fatal falls.
According to the figures, the number of deaths linked to dehydration doubled, while those involving superbugs rose sevenfold during the previous Labour government's rule.

It's easy to make snide political points as the Tory Care Services Minister does, but the situation is not the same in an economically and culturally similar country, Ireland, which suggests that the problem is not entirely financial. There, the whole concept of caring for the elderly is perceived very differently. The vast majority of Irish nursing home staff speak the same language as the people in their care which is not a requirement here in the UK, their elderly are valued culturally and Catholicism perceives sacrifice and charitable love as virtues. It's not a perfect system but the UK warehousing and euthanizing of our elderly is bitterly shameful, attracting minimum wages and deeply unskilled workers whose efforts are not valued in any way.

Is there a link between UK secularism, where our only value is in how much we consume and can be taxed, and the ways in which we treat each other? I tend to think there is. Paganism has lots to offer society but we don't yet have a thealogy of caring for people - we're great at planting trees - and since we're not getting any younger we need to spend some time discussing that.

1 comment:

Hystery said...

A discussion about a thealogy of compassion in Paganism would be fascinating and fruitful. I'm struggling with my own self-definition as a Pagan in light of my increasingly critical perspective of Paganisms that present themselves to me through the internet. (I am not a part of a "real world" Pagan community.) My foundational sense of Paganism was drawn primarily from sources written by academic Goddess women whose emphasis on human rights always inspired me. Turns out, they are not the dominant voice of Paganism.