What the papers said in the week ending February 15th
There is much to be said about the damage done by the unresolved Windrush scandal. After silence for many weeks there is re-emergence of news, anger and sadness as it is evident that victims are being short changed. Some people have died
‘I kept it from my family. I felt so afraid’: writes Amelia Gentleman – Guardian 10.2.2020 p17 – from a man who had worked 25 years as a social worker in England but did not have the papers. And again: ‘MPs voice anger over plight of Windrush victims who died’: Amelia Gentleman – Guardian 11.2.2020
Compensation payments to Windrush victims must speed up: www.pressreader.com/uk/the-guardian-e-paper-journal/20200211/281509343188374
The unequable treatment of people from ethnic minority groups by medicine, in medicine and the wider world of the UK is the main theme of articles in the British Medical Journal this week. Laia Becares and James Nazroo point to a failure of research studies to include sufficient samples of older people from minority groups: https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/368/bmj.m212.full.pdf The self-reported Health Survey for England 2004 found that estimates of poor health amongst 61-70 year-olds was twice as common (and more) amongst people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India or the Caribbean in comparison to white English people of the same age
Amelia Hill, though, draws attention to an analysis which suggests that self-report surveys underestimated the true prevalence of ill-health: using NHS data ‘The Health of the Nation: a strategy for longer healthier lives’, demonstrates onset of chronic illness from 55 for men and 56 for women (on average) – women living for 29 years and men for 23 years with chronic ill-health
We may be sceptical of motives and wonder about the comparability and accuracy of alternatives to the regular 10 yearly census which are being suggested: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/11/household-census-may-be-scrapped-in-favour-of-cheaper-system Change is sometimes better but tried and tested has virtue. Stopping a series which began in 1841 might be considered reckless – ‘reckless’ seems to be the new orthodoxy – but surely it must have a place and limits.
Fears that younger generations are somehow being held back by the relative wealth of older people are put in question by the finding that girls are reaching puberty a full year earlier than their equivalents 40 years ago www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/10/girls-puberty-year-earlier
The story of Bryan Jones, on the other hand, makes clear that lack of cash within the care system means that he, and many like him, are not able to receive the care they require to live safely at home in their final years https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/12/wales-social-care-home-crisis-councils-bankruptcy
In similar vein a letter published on 14.2.2020 reports that in some GP practices ear syringing is no longer available within the NHS – Patients are signposted to a private provider for this service which we used to give (free of course) as medical students.
Loneliness is identified as an international plague, affecting people of all and any age. A town in Italy has appointed a loneliness tsar – blaming automatic answering machines, self-check-outs and other de-humanising aspects of life for leaving people in need of personal warmth: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/feb/14/italian-mayor-appoints-loneliness-councillor-to-help-citizens All that is modern is not necessarily good – and we do have choices
And an Italian man aged 101 was asked to provide an address for his parents by the bumbling and possibly heartless Settlement scheme Home Office tells man, 101, his parents must confirm ID
‘Marmalade Years’ is now an established phenomenon with letters every day. One points out that ‘Octogenarian’ is an anagram of ‘Orange Action’ (beware!). Another tells of the powerful evocation from the aroma of the bubbling marmalade process in bringing back to the writer, those times 60 years ago when he learned to do this from his father.