Diary – A lighter take on the working week.

Thirty e-mails accumulated since Friday lunch, 11 relevant. Two for office furniture “surplus to requirements” looking for new home. More poignant quest for family of failed asylum seekers. Have to establish whether there are community care needs which would entitle them to stay. Family living off church handouts, five-year-old happy child speaks perfect English with northern accent, father reluctantly complains that chicken donated last week was “off”. Feel impotent and angry with government that allows this and compromises my ethical standards.

Team meeting. Lots of questions, frank exchange and few answers. Dominated by recurrent problem of workload and staff shortage. Department seems incapable of simple arithmetic in the short term employ costly agency staff instead of long-term recruitment. Afterwards team demoralised. Then visit EMI unit under vulnerable adult procedures. Member of staff has allegedly hit a resident, the third referral this month about this home. Safety is paramount I have to get it right.

Visit 29-year-old with mobility and speech difficulties after road accident. He needs and deserves psychological help, is verbally aggressive and I feel intimidated. Later a meeting for continuing care funding for nursing home resident in adjacent area. Left feeling this amounts to something of a lottery and the result was influenced by the force of the personalities involved. CSCI inspection imminent and have had directive for all cases to be in order. Department has gone into panic mode on discovering 300 residential/nursing reviews outstanding. They have been reminded of this over years but chosen not to address.

Colleague has obtained job in Western Isles. Sounds idyllic and prompts much discussion. Thank-you card arrives from wife of service user who had recently died after long illness. Intensive domiciliary support package with health colleagues made distress easier to bear.

Glossy new departmental newsletter landed on desk complete with photos of senior management. Can’t help but feel what a waste of resources! We’re only three miles up the road. Seems ironic there’s an article on the benefits of saying “thank you”. Service user with terminal illness visited, followed by meeting regarding a 17-year-old with Asperger’s. Children’s department reluctant to fund an assessment and keen to hand over! Later visit an energetic 88-year-old who has tried day care but doesn’t want “to sit and go to sleep”. Make a mental note to ensure she gets her “walk in the park to feed the ducks” .

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