Saturday, 18 June 2011

Chair Despair

I mentioned in a previous post that Maggie had been fitted for a special chair and that we were just waiting for it to arrive. Knowing how utterly fucking shit the NHS can be, I made it clear to Maggie's Occupational Therapist that I was worried it would take a long time to come. Can we please ensure, I asked, that this (unlike all of the other disappointments we've had to endure) goes ahead with no problems? Of course, she replied, I'll get on to it straight away.

That was nearly two months ago. In the time since then, we - or, rather Shannon - had also spoken to her on the phone, asking whether the chair had been ordered. (I say spoken to her on the phone like that was just a case of giving her a call and having a chat - we'd already left numerous messages that she didn't respond to. Yet again we had to chase and chase.) We were assured that it was all going ahead and that yes, the chair had definitely been ordered.

Of course, you know where this is going...

Yesterday we were told that the chair hadn't been ordered at all.

Why hasn't it? I asked a woman from a different department. We don't really know, she said, but it's been ordered now. Are you saying, I asked, that it's the fault of Maggie's Occupational Therapist? A long pause. Yes, she said, yes I am.

So we've no idea when Maggie's chair will arrive. It could take months.

Now, bear in mind that this isn't just an inconvenience. This chair is something that will help Maggie's development, both physically and mentally. It will help to improve her life now and her life for the future. As things are at the moment, she has to sit in a chair that just isn't fit for purpose, that is a hindrance to her.

I don't understand how these idiots are allowed to carry on as they do. It's not just the incompetence that infuriates me - it's also the lies and the defensiveness and the buck-passing and the waffling and the way they make a show of understanding our situation by engaging in platitudes and pointless empathising... when all we want from them is to do what they promise to do. When all we want from them is the bare minimum of what their jobs are supposed to be. Yet they fail us time and time again, adding to the pressures of our already difficult lives.

Related, this piece last year from Ian Birrell (who also has a severely disabled daughter):

"Promises of action are followed by a wall of silence, and you end up having to harass and harangue people to deliver things everyone has agreed are needed. Charities tell of wheelchairs taking so long to be delivered the child has grown out of them by the time they arrive."


  1. There are some wonderful people in the caring professions, but it is (all too common) stories like this that leave one spitting feathers at the crass incompetencies that sometimes seem endemic in the NHS. As always, I raise my metaphorical hat to both of you. How you deal with this sort of crap on a daily basis (when you already have more than your fair share of life's crap to deal with) is totally beyond me.

  2. Hey you lot! Wish I could say something to make it better, but all I can say is that I'm thinking about you as always. Had similar coversation with Helen today about how crap everything is, so I know a bit of what you're going through, although I don't know how you feel, so won't pretend I do.

    Big hugs for you all. Hopefully see you in the six week hols.

    Love Sal xxxxxx

  3. Hi guys
    just found your blog and sooooo sympathise with this last entry. We waited forever for Ashley's first chair and when it came it was dirty and wobbled. We used it once then bought one of our own (thanks to Granny). Cute kids, and well done Fella for being such a good Dad!

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