Saturday, April 7 is a day which will be etched into my memory for a long time to come.
I received a phone call from a local resident requesting assistance. The story goes like this.
My caller had found an elderly lady, a dementia sufferer, wandering the street alone and very obviously distressed.
The lady was adamant that someone had ‘borrowed’ her earrings and she needed to shop for some replacements. My caller decided that we should contact Social Services as the lady was a Doncaster Council client on their pick-up list for day care.
Now simple, you would think. Oh no. They can’t give out any information, we get that – but they could have contacted her next of kin, we thought. No, can’t do that, we were told, “You contact the police.”
We did that but hey ho, the bobby was in Rossington, 10 miles away so it could be a while but they would organise an ambulance.
The little old lady was determined to go shopping so we told the police we would walk with her and gave all the required info so they could find us.
Well, we set off and 50 minutes later we arrive back at the lady’s house. Fifteen minutes after that, her daughter contacted my caller to say she was on the case having been contacted by the police. Result – albeit an hour plus after our initial call.
Now my point is Social Services could have made that call to the daughter and saved police time. My caller is still waiting for a response. Had we carried on walking I reckon we could now be in Barnsley.
More frightening is the prospect of what could have happened to that old lady if my caller had not found her but had the misfortune to fall foul of a less savoury character, and yes, there are some out there.
When will the powers that be realise that Care in the Community means just that. Not a voice on a phone who lacks the ability to think logically in spite of the rulebook, which seems only to contain 1,000 ways to avoid responsibility, a few more on how to pass the buck and, if all else fails, ignore it?
Couple that with a policeman 10 miles away and you have a recipe for an unmitigated disaster.
Now the Referendum. The politicians keep telling us what we could do with all the money saved but what I and many others want to know is, a question to Dave and George, what will you spend it on? An answer to that could make a huge difference to the outcome. Same question to Mr Corbyn and all other party leaders. If I had a few millions I could tell you what I could do.
All parties now have an opportunity to tell us what they would do and then if given the chance, do it.