My View, Bill Morrison: More autism support is needed for parents

Generic pic supplied by charity Autism Plus of a person with autism and his carer.
Generic pic supplied by charity Autism Plus of a person with autism and his carer.

Hello and I hope you all had a pleasant bank holiday.

Once again I am drawn back to the failings of our health care services.

Recently I was made aware of a situation involving a 24-year-old single mum and her four-year-old little boy.

Like most four-year-olds he was a live wire and the thought was maybe our old friend ADHD but, alas no, he was diagnosed as having Fragile X Syndrome.

This is a condition closely related to autism which mum accepted but the letter she received was both curt and uninformative. In a nutshell it suggested that it is Fragile X Syndrome, it is mental retardation and so get on with it.

No suggestion as to what help, treatment or support was mentioned. Can you imagine how that young mum must have felt, faced with caring for a child with mental health issues and not knowing what to do next or where to go for support? Hopefully by now a care and support package will be in place but I am not holding my breath.

As a grandparent of a staircase of grandchildren – 21 years to 15 months – I find it disturbing that such attitudes exist in regard to children and young mums.

A second account this week is one of a request for a home visit for a terminally ill person. Standard answer of ‘no can’t do that but we will send district nurse tomorrow’. Sadly the patient’s condition became worse and they were transported to hospital by ambulance.

Next day the nurse arrived to be informed that the patient was hospitalised. Within 48 hours the patient passed away.

Now I am not suggesting that a doctor’s visit would have changed anything but is it right that such a request should be ignored?

I ask you this, is the lack of compassion becoming contagious within the health system? Do the professionals take the view that if you are close to death you don’t matter anymore?

Do they take an easy option and go dole out a few more aspirins?

The more I hear and read the more convinced I am that our health service is losing the plot.

There are many good doctors and nurses but sadly their care and compassion is greatly overshadowed by the bureaucratic push to meet targets above all else. I have said it before and will continue to say so ‘forget targets and start caring for our sick and vulnerable people’.

Our NHS is supposed to be a cradle to grave health care provider. It strikes me that the closer we get to the grave bit the less important you become. Have they discovered a sneaky way to save money, spend less on those on borrowed time so we can pay big salaries, spend a bit more at the younger end and impress all the young electorate and gain votes? I hope not.

* Bill Morrison, former chairman of Doncaster 50 Plus Group