For the past year or so I have been going to Welling once a week to see a friend
who has not been well. He lives alone and his only relative is an older brother
who lives half a day’s journey away so a small group has been working an informal rota.
His situation was what made me painfully aware of how utterly useless Bexley’s home care packages are.
About six weeks ago just as I was leaving home to do battle with the Yellow Money Traps in Central Avenue a phone call said “don’t bother”. My friend had taken a turn for the worse and was being rushed into Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s A&E.
Next day I managed to get in to see him, still in an A&E cubical with a constant stream of NHS personnel and police officers noisily passing by literally within three or four feet of the foot of his bed. Fortunately that only lasted a couple of days and he was taken to somewhere quieter.
Somewhere quieter is an isolation ward with a notice on the door prohibiting entry to anyone not wearing gloves and a plastic gown, a rule which does not seem to be too rigorously enforced. I’ve been dropping in a couple of times each week which along with the trips to East Ham, three so far this week, is part of the reason for Bonkers being rather quiet recently. The other is that Bexley Councillors are on their two month summer holiday and all they are doing, leading Conservatives that is, is lying and deceiving on Twitter every single day.
To counter every single one of their falsehoods would get to be very boring - but don’t be taken in. They cut all the budgets, waited for you to forget, then partially restored the cuts and are boasting that are now spending more than before. The totally reprehensible part of it is that they say that Labour Councillors voted against spending on grass cutting and street cleaning etc. which is generally true, but only because Labour wanted to see more of the cuts restored.
Something else that Bexley Council has cut is the number of pages on its website and one must assume the number of staff maintaining it. It really is the most awful mess with 404 errors being generated only a click or two from its front page.
On my last visit to QEH I found my friend more than a little frustrated. Another visitor had suggested that, let us not beat about the bush, as he is never going to see the inside of his own home again he should speak to someone at Bexley Council to see what the Council Tax situation would be.
He did that, phoned them, and was told in no uncertain terms that they were not going to discuss Council Tax with him over the phone. There was a web form for that, go and use it.
So my friend lying horizontal on his sick bed, wired to monitors and blood being fed in one end and urine trickling out the other is supposed to go on the web and faff about with one of Bexley’s web forms. Where does he get the computer from, where’s his internet connection? How would he use it while close to being immobilised?
The reason for my friend’s frustration was that he had been struggling for more than an hour with his smart phone trying to find a wretched form relating to Council Tax. He had been sent round and round in circles and up a few 404 back alleys before giving up.
Now you might think that my friend is some sort of IT duffer who wouldn’t know a web form if he saw one but you would be wrong. Until shortly before he became ill he was the IT manager for a major pharmaceutical company who designed and implemented their data centres and IP phone systems right across Europe.
He is also responsible for the automation that goes on under the bonnet of BiB that drastically reduced the time taken to code some of the repetitive functions. He also spotted my configuration error that stopped the CCTV I have been installing in my aunt’s house being visible remotely.
But he was defeated by a website that is a lot more interested in collecting your parking fines than satisfying the needs of a man who will never get out of a hospital (or care home) bed again.
What sort of callous degenerate implements a policy that dictates that a long term resident cannot speak to Bexley Council during his final days? These sort of degenerates presumably.
Note: This blog was suggested and approved by the man in the hospital bed.
404. The error code generated by a web server that cannot find the requested page.