My grandmother was a nurse, so were two of her daughters. My aunt served in the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corps, and my mother qualified during the Second World War first as a State Registered Nurse, then a State Certified Midwife.
After the war ended, the National Health Service was introduced. Mother was tremendously proud of her profession and of the achievements of the new health service. As you would expect, I grew up to respect health professionals and to support the NHS.
So it goes hard with me to make negative criticism of the care and professional standards I have witnessed during Mother’s hospital stays. I expect health professionals to know their stuff, and when I realised that not just one or two, but the majority knew little or nothing about dementia, it was an unwelcome shock. Worse, they were not willing to admit their ignorance. My suggestions and advice were largely ignored, some staff listened to me with barely concealed impatience. Who suffered from this? Why, Mother of course. I am sure I am an irritating relative, but I’m not going to sit back politely and I watch medical staff, from the consultant downwards, make life more difficult for Mother than it already is, or dismiss her as incapable, without intervening. Continue reading