Let’s Sue them All

mary 2

You won’t find many people with a PhD working in a tearoom, but I love it here. I do a few shifts when I can while the regular lady recovers from a knee replacement. I earn my living as a freelance educationalist and researcher, but I’m really enjoying ensuring that people who visit the tea room have an enjoyable experience. I’ve already warned April she is not getting her job back. . . !

My PhD is in Medical Sociology. I did some undercover research on hospices and found out some very interesting things about their social responsibilities – such as – they’re not very socially responsible. They pay people to seal their lips – people they don’t want to speak out in public. They’re worse than the NHS because they’re spending charitable funds to pay people to shut up so that the public doesn’t get to know how shit they are.

The nurses are fabulous, but the management are power hungry mongrels and really horrible people. Children’s hospices are different – they’re fine. It’s the adult ones. They’re set up in the public eye to seem wonderful – everybody who works in one has a halo – and a lot of people give up their time, energy and money to support hospices because they’re supposedly charitable. They did start out as charities in 1968 when Cicely Saunders set up St Christopher’s in London. And then hospices mushroomed in all the wealthy areas of Great Britain. They were geared towards the wealthier people because they’re the people who have the money to leave to leave them in their wills. I’ve seen chief executives signing over wills to hospices on numerous occasions. What the public doesn’t realise though, is that 90% of adult hospices today get at least 60% of their budget from the NHS, and actually there’s nothing hospices provide that the NHS can’t. Nothing. It’s drawing funds away from you and me for the privileged few.

Not only that, but their theoretical orientation is flawed – I’m not very happy about the soundness of their approach to practice. They’ve been using Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s so-called theory ‘The Five Stages of Dying’, which is crap. She never had a single idea of her own and it’s been proven time and time again that there are no five stages of dying and there are no seven stages of bereavement, but still I have social workers telling me, ‘Well I find it very useful so I’m going to carry on using it.” And to me it’s a disgrace that professionals are out there being told by experts that it’s plagiarism and there never was a theory – and yet they’re still happy to use it. That’s just sloppy. What I want people to say is, “Right let’s sue the little bastards. Let’s sue them all.”

Hospices are the places where we hide dirty dying from the public. People – especially the wealthy – don’t like the fact that their bodily functions and their sense of identity break down with diseases like cancer, so hospices have always been nice little havens to sequester them from the realities of the NHS wards. Most people go into hospices and think they’re lovely – and the staff ARE lovely. In fact, one of the nurses at a local place said to me a few weeks ago, “Hospices are great places to die in but horrible places to work in.” And that just about sums it up.

I never saw such bullying and harassment of staff before. I’ve seen so many knowledgeable academics in the sector get shoved out and then they expect the nurses to come off the wards and suddenly have the expertise that we’d built up over years. I was pushed out of my job as Head of Education and Training – and when they pushed me out they made me sign a compromise agreement. But what they didn’t realise was I got my lawyer to put in a clause saying that under the 1998 Whistleblower’s Disclosure Act I was free to talk about anything I liked if it was in the public interest. If you say a bad word about hospices people get very defensive and that worries me because it means they’ve become a sacred cow in our society. I’ve published academic stuff about this obviously, but now I’m writing a book for the public about it because I think everyone needs to know about the corruption. And to hell with them sealing my lips.