Letter will be published at: http://www.vicious-ealing-council.co.uk
on Facebook, Twitter and other Blogs
with the view to reach those audiences that cannot be reached via email.
Final letter to Ealing Council
Dear Mr. Day,
Thank you for your letter dated 20th February 2013, which has also been passed on to our solicitors. As previously stated; please send ALL correspondence to our solicitors, not to me, nor to my address.
1. Initial complaint against Ealing Council
On multiple occasions since September 2012, my associates, my legal representatives and I myself have each made multiple attempts to initiate and engage in constructive dialogue with your offices; all to no avail. We have been met with a barrage of complications including but not limited to: threatening communications sent from your solicitors, your invocation of and reliance on obstructive and potentially unlawful conditions and parameters, unreasonably lengthy periods of waiting, unanswered queries and a range of other generally counter-productive and often pedantic behaviour on the part of various representatives of Ealing Council.
This period of exchange has taken what was once a typical and entirely usual appeal for social care and has turned it into a traumatic and deeply unacceptable case of bullying – one in which you have displayed a direct opposition to the needs of my elderly mother, as well as my needs as her carer.
Sadly, your lack of cooperation has brought us to the present, extremely unpleasant, unbelievable and unreasonable situation. For this reason, this letter must be considered an official complaint, lodged against your office and the attitudes expressed by Ealing Council, encountered when dealing with the case of my elderly and disabled mother.
I must also make it clear that I am not interested in any further deferral of blame onto current or previous governments and authority figures; that this is a personal complaint about your present activities. Furthermore, it is understood that there are evident shortfalls and budget cuts which obviously and unfortunately effect social-care situations; but this letter of complaint addresses, in specific, the management at Ealing Council in regards to your personal and general failure to address work and policies properly and with due care.
Indeed, having lived in the Borough of Richmond and Hounslow district for twenty two years and now in the Borough of Ealing for almost nine years, I can state for myself and on behalf of my neighbours, that Ealing Council’s interaction with the community, it is supposed to represent, has been extremely poor by comparison.
My 91 year old disabled mother has not come to the UK to be insulted, denigrated, or oppressed by local authorities, but merely, necessarily, to live out the final years of her life in the company of her only living family. Given the nature of my residency, this does not seem like an unreasonable situation. However, in unlawfully labelling my mother a “second class-citizen”, and in stating that she is “not a family member”, you have displayed poor intellect, awful and potentially legally damning judgement, an utter lack of empathy and a damaging, deeply upsetting disrespect for her vulnerability as an elderly and terribly ill member of your community. Your insistence that she should be deported or sent back for her own good is, once again, indicative of a callous and degrading attitude towards her humanity. It is also misinformed – and the ignorance we have encountered may yet condemn Ealing Council.
2. Complaints regarding your interpretation of social care
Extending beyond the personal damage dealt by your recent actions, our current position is indicative of a wider and particularly worrying situation for all recipients of social care in Ealing.
In accordance with professional guidance, I would like to bring to your attention the following points.
The quality of social care can be defined by:
1) the effectiveness of the services;
2) the safety of the services;
3) the quality of the experience undergone by patients;
4) that unnecessary burdens are not imposed on any such person;
5) providing information and advice;
6) making available the services of any person or any facilities;
7) regard to its policies;
8) financial incentives to encourage individuals to adopt healthier lifestyles;
9) assistance (including financial assistance) to help individuals to minimise any risks to health arising from their accommodation or environment
Source – Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Concerning the above points, there are currently grounds for legal concern regarding the apparent ignorance of Ealing Council in relation to your duty to provide adequate social care to my elderly mother. Our solicitors have had little input in our communications to date. However, this has dragged on for a long time now and much of your correspondence has involved a poor understanding of its implication, especially in your levelling false accusations, threats and unlawful assumptions about the potency of your own legal position.
Recent correspondence with your office has also resulted in the repetition of statements made by your department, which insist on pointing to laws and legislations, rules and regulations that are not applicable to our situation; items which have been clearly distorted by your office, for your own purposes. Presently, and in regards to these points, our solicitors have suggested a judicial review. I would personally be happier to see this case put forward to the European Court of Justice.
3. Background information and explanation of present situation
Returning to our present condition and my initial complaint, allow me to outline in full and for your benefit the severity of our situation.
In April 2009 we were told that my mother was not feeling very well. We communicated with her by telephone but, as her health deteriorated, we had to travel to visit her in person. On the day that we left, we found out that she was taken to hospital. Three days later we arrived at the hospital and found my mother in a very poor state of physical health. She had no change of clothing, no personal belongings and we were “interviewed” by the Italian social services. Some food in the house had become rotten and it took us a week to sort out her bills. She moved with us to London and Ealing Council provided social care until August 2009, when she returned to Italy.
It was agreed with the authorities that, due to her vulnerable state, she would return her Council flat in Padova and move to the UK. Meanwhile, none of the services she received in the UK were suspended; they were merely put on standby. In September 2009, I developed some serious spine problems and my condition of immobility was carried through to November 2010. In the meantime, my sister was also immobilised in an accident. As such, we were only able to visit my mother again from 2011. By this time, my mother’s physical condition had dramatically deteriorated. She was unable to attend any hospital appointments due to poor mobility and she had lost much of her vision. My mother never suffered from heart attack (and I have no idea where you got hold of any information to the contrary) but she did have an operation in 2011, for cancer in the left cheek. My mother’s actual wish was for a family member to move to Italy, to live with her in her flat. Due to our health issues, family ties etc. this proved impossible. In August 2011 we started to consider the prospect of bringing our mother to stay with us in the UK.
Since that time her overall condition has worsened and she is in need of constant care. Contrary to your suggestions, there is no advisable, medical possibility of her return to Italy. However, a recent psychiatric review has proved that she is very much present and that her physical suffering and the lack of support she has received is every part as stressful for her now as it would be for any normal human being.
4. Complaints against assessments made by Ealing Council
I wish to turn, now, to my mother’s condition, here in the UK. As per your letter, you have “concluded that her needs are less they were around April 2012”. Throughout much of last year, my condition meant that I was bed-bound. However, your social worker stated on paper that her “son” was “to prepare meals and give medications to his mother”. I could not even go to the toilet or wash myself, something I would have imagined to be implied by the fact that I was suffering from an immobilising disorder. It was impossible for me to even move downstairs: how then could I hope to provide my mother with adequate medical support? Was an immobile man also expected to prepare his mother’s meals? Throughout this ordeal, I have been back in and out of hospital, a result, in part, of the stress associated with our correspondence and your failure to provide suitable care for my mother. I must, therefore, ask how, in their proper context, are her “needs” in any way “less” than they were beforehand?
Regarding the confusion about your assessment of my mother, I have only the following to say. That the May assessment was NEVER presented and that the August assessment “disappeared”, as the social worker involved had recently left her position. Therefore, conclusions made by your “latest” assessment can only be taken with indignation as you have deemed it fit and have personally “decided” to take away her fifteen minutes for lunch and dinner, which seems particularly petty, only bringing further hardship to my mother’s life.
Is it not enough that there already exist plentiful cases in which the elderly have been left alone to die of starvation because “mistakes” have been made? I would like to draw your attention to the example of Gloria Foster, who, aged 81, “died in agony” (The Independent. 07/02/2013). Indeed, when you become incontinent and unable to feed yourself, you may wish that your family and carers had been able to pay more attention to your needs.
Furthermore, your letter has the potential to be deeply worrying for the entire elderly community in the Borough of Ealing. This is particularly noticeable in your misunderstanding of the parameters and necessities of “dependency” in the elderly, something you have questioned in the case of my mother’s support. For instance, you have implied that my mother speaks to her bank in Italy when she does no such thing and you have done so under circumstances in which you have absolutely no evidence to the support your claims. In point 7 of your letter, you made further utterly senseless assumptions about dependency. Allow me to clarify.
My mother is a dependent as I am the person who needs to:
1) Take her to hospital appointments
2) Take her to GP’s appointments
3) Take her to dentist appointments
4) Take her to optician’s appointments
5) Take her to The Hairdresser
6) Take her to Nail Care Specialists
7) Administer her medication
8) Take her to the chiropodist
9) Provide her with drinks
10) Take her to the chiropractor
11) Prepare snacks
12) Setup/change television channels
13) Wash her clothes
14) Collect her shopping
15) Organise, supervise and accompany her on outings
Once per week, the social carers do some basic shopping. Do you really believe that my mother doesn’t need any other support throughout the rest of the week?
It must be stressed that we fully agree with the reasoning behind conducting a mental capacity assessment in situations such as my mother’s. However, we feel that it is entirely inappropriate and quite unnecessary for you to deny my mother access to her carer and her legal representation, translators, etc. during this process. Until such a time as it is possible to commit to an assessment under acceptable conditions, we must decline in accordance with my mother’s best interests. Of course, if everything is to be conducted accordingly and in the proper way, there should be no problem with our attendance at such an assessment.
However, from June 2012 to date, three highly professional psychiatric reviews have been made. On 5th March 2013, my mother scored 20 points on the MMSE (which is mild dementia) and is exactly what she scored in 2009 and in the 2012 two other assessments. If you wanted to discuss these three psychiatric assessments, all you had to do was to ask. However, as you have always declined any invitation to open a dialogue and have preferred to command an arrogant sentencing of non-existent facts, you seem to have chosen a path by which you will continue to waste everyone’s time and also, inappropriately, public funds.
5. Your flawed argument with our rights to reside in the UK
There has been ongoing confusion on your part about our residency in the UK. However, it has been pointed out to you and to your department – on many occasions – that our entitlement to reside in the UK and for my mother to receive social care comes from regulation 2004/8.
In addition to your damning and unlawful use of the term “second-class citizen” I must also draw attention to your outlandish proposition that I might be anything other than a permanent UK resident. The legality of my residency is not in question and Customs and Revenue have now provided me with a list of my NI contributions from 1974 to date. However, and furthermore, you might note that I have, for instance, been paying the Ealing Council tax for the last eight years. I must add that it seems disgraceful that our taxes have been spent on such a pathetic avoidance of responsibility as we have encountered in dealing with Ealing Council. Furthermore, and as Councils communicate with each other, you can also find out from Richmond that I have paid their Council Tax for over twenty two years.
My Rights of Residence go back to 1979. Not to mention the entitlement of my Treaty Rights. However, I should add that your insistence on bringing into play other immigration laws is largely pedantic and that your sustained suggestion that these laws have any bearing on our present situation could be seen as an obstructive attempt on the part of your office – an attempt to slow down current proceedings.
To clarify, The Immigration and Asylum Act of 2002, in my case, does not to apply to my status as an EA national; EA nationals are to be regarded as neither immigrants nor asylum seekers. For your information, the 2006 regulations have been put into place to cover the newest entries into the EU community (such as Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Estonia etc.), also known as the A8 and A2 nationals. Prior to this, under the 2004 Accession Agreement, the 15 pre-existing EU member states were permitted to introduce transitional restrictions on A8 nationals, relating to their right to work and access state support on their territories. By April 2011, Germany and Austria were the only EU countries to remain closed to A8 migrant workers. Therefore, Italians, French, Germans, Irish etc. are not considered A8 or A2 nationals and The 2006 Regulation does not supersede those Treaty Rights obtained prior to its implementation. Let me remind you that my Treaty Rights refer to 1979.
6. My mother’s condition in relation to her nationality and mental state
In earlier correspondence you stated that the Council will carry out its own investigations. Therefore, I would suggest that you do not complain if my mother’s flat agreement in Italy is written in Italian. You have Italian nationals working for Ealing Council, all you need to do is to ask one of them to telephone the Council in Padua. You have already wasted a great deal of public funds in your tenacious objection to our case: will an extra phone call matter to you?
Furthermore, all official documents provided to you from the Italian Consulate and signed by my mother were in both Italian and English; fully certified and authorised. If the “landlady” witnessed my mother’s signature, I can assure you that there is no breach of any legal matter as she also has a job which “authorises” her to witness signatures. As with reference to the Power of Attorney, you should be well aware that, in front of most Courts and before most Judges, this actively represents my mother’s wishes. If the Office of the Public Guardian should take months to approve such papers, this is no fault of ours. Her wishes are such that she signed the Power of Attorney in front of witnesses. Other paperwork signed by my mother follows her wishes as per three psychiatric assessments made professionally, within the last six months.
7. The progression and conclusion of affairs
It was mentioned by me to your offices that my mother is living in fear. An elderly woman suffering from various debilitating illnesses; and her need for otherwise accessible social care is met by your obstinate refusal to help.
My sister has been with us for one week now and has also witnessed many shortfalls in the services provided by Ealing Council. She too will write to her MP and MEP. It is my solemn declaration that we will not allow your office to bully us into submission, nor will we allow you to cow us into a position in which Ealing Council might take advantage of an elderly woman, at the end of her life.
You should know that it has also been noted that that many of the other points made by your office were out of context and often related to thoroughly inaccurate information. For example, please tell me at which point any of your offices have suggested that my mother should attend Sycamore/Elm Lodge (as you suggest in point 39). In addition, the fact that you have asked me to show to you my marriage and divorce certificates shows, once again, poor judgement on your part and extremely weak knowledge of EU law. It will be interesting to find out, eventually, why this request was ever made; together with others that also have no relevance towards our case.
Over the last few months, you have hidden behind sentences such as “it is in the interest of the economic well-being of the UK for Ealing Council to seek to minimise its expenditure on social services”. Meanwhile, you have wasted money by drawing out this case. If your finances are so stretched then this hypocrisy cannot be ignored. We both know that Ealing Council, like all other UK Councils, receives a vast amount of money from the EA. Indeed, for 2007-2013, the UK is in receipt of EUR 4.47 Billion of ESF funding. And indeed, under the Freedom of Information Act, you could be asked to provide a full statement of how much money you have received from the EA and where and how this has been spent.
Frankly, we are sick and tired the disgraceful behaviour exhibited by Ealing Council and its representatives: we feel that it is time for the full extent of this situation to come to light. We have gathered a great deal of evidence which is now being thoroughly checked by our legal representatives, in preparation for the days to come, should we feel the need to present our case to the Courts.
In such an event, Ealing Council will face something of challenge in denying the weight of evidence gathered from the people that have visited my house, met my mother and have seen the abysmal care provided, as well as that provided by the legal and age-care specialists who have been witness to most of our correspondence over the last six months.
Social Care, as you should know, is to be provided to the individual (my mother) and no external “circumstances” should affect her needs or status. The system which you have failed to properly administrate exists so that no flawed assessment – nor any attempt to cow or bully in favour of council finances – should impact upon the wellbeing of an elderly and infirm person; an ill woman, turning to her community and its authorities for support, for care and for help.
Finally, it should be said that we have already explained to our solicitors that no further writing will be presented to you, from my address, after this particular letter: that I expect no further communication to be sent to me or to my address. I will await our solicitor’s instructions based on your communication with them.
Ps. To date, a formal written apology to my mother is well overdue. We will not tolerate any further use of foul and perceivably racist language, towards my mother or, indeed, my family.