In response to this although it probably won’t be printed:

Most of the people I know on ‘welfare’ have very serious mental health problems. In the past such people would have been inhabiting long-stay mental health wards in traditional psychiatric hospitals. They do not exist anymore because they were closed down and the land on which they were built was sold off at rock-bottom prices to private industry. Who was responsible for this? The last Tory government. You say you have been a doctor for twenty years. Did you approve of this and, if not, did you protest? Just curious.

I am also curious about what the good doctor thinks of middle class people who abuse their children.  When I was on an eating disorders unit I heard some pretty nasty stories* of  middle class parents maltreating their children.  What causes this?  These people most certainly were not on welfare.  And, if the actions of Karen Matthews reflect the morality and ‘values’ (or lack thereof) of an entire class then is the same true of their social superiors who subject their own children to abuse? And, if not, then why not?

*And I am prepared to admit that my fellow patients’ stories may have been exaggerations or even outright fabrications.  But these people are middle class.  They wouldn’t do a thing like that, would they? They are, after all, innately superior.  But in the unlikely event that my fellow patients were lying, whining attention seekers then that must mean that all middle class brats are lying, whining attention seekers because for the concept of collective guilt to have any validity then it must be applicable to all groups of people, right?

Addendum: You may be aware that more and more working class girls are now suffering from eating disorders. Anorexia, in particular, used to be an illness confined almost exclusively to the middle classes. Still, the lower classes have always been urged to emulate their ‘betters’ and I guess that is exactly what they are doing. Good on ’em, huh?

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8 Responses to “‘Welfarism’”

  1. calumcarr Says:

    Good comment.

    I too left a comment as follows:

    “I’m delighted that I never came across you in the NHS. You don’t show an ounce of compassion. Political capital: that’s all you’re interested in here. The people: mere fodder.

    You state: “The appalling tale of Shannon Matthews and her unfit mother is thankfully beyond understanding for the majority of the population” but not beyond your understanding obviously. Brilliant you.”

    Wonder if either will appear.


  2. Rachel Joyce Says:

    I responded (I am surprised that you say it wouldn’t be printed as I make it clear that unless it is rude or defamatory I will always print and to date I have never denied a comment):
    Hi Louise
    the short answer is that I opposed it at the time (at the time I as a LibDem as well – quite late to the Conservatives).
    The long answer (it is a very good question) I will put up on a full blog post about mental health.
    However – I do believe we have moved on from long stay wards now.
    I remember going to the “psychogeriatric” wards when I was a medical student. They were chilling places, and would not have been nice for either the patients or the staff. Dememtia patients are better off at home, cared for by carers, or in EMI nursing homes, like the one in Hatch End I visited the other day. Unfortunately relatives have to part pay – something I am wholey against for dementia as I consider this to be a medical condition, not a social one.
    Same goes for long stay for many other conditions. Schizophrenia, for instance can be aggressive in the younger years, but can stabilise into a reasonably settled state as teh patients get older. To effectively deprive them of their liberty when they could be cared for in the community seems extreme.
    We do however need 1. more supportive accomodation (with wardens/ carers) for long term mentally ill in the community, 2. better and more community teams and 3. dangerous patients (to themselves or others) shouldn’t be out in the community, and there does need to be better support for them that protect them and the public.


  3. Rachel Joyce Says:

    And in response to CalumCarr I said this:
    CalumCarr – thanks for your comment. I find your comments astonishing. Perhaps when you have fully read all the health/ welfare/ education posts on my blog you will offer me an apology.
    As you have never met me to say I don’t show an ounce of compassion is very judgemental.
    The fact is that I have more compassion for her children than I do for her.
    The fact also is that this type of person (Karen Matthews – the mother) is rare but partly a product of the system. If you work for the NHS then I presume you will have met people like this. Most people I meet who do NOT work in public services do not come across members of what the media term the “underclass”.
    What we are proposing is more health visitors, more social reform programmes.
    Before you judge me, I would suggest that you
    1. read “Breakdown Britain”
    2. read “Breakthrough Britain”
    3. look at the work of the Centre for Social Justince that produced these two reports ( http://www.centreforsocialjustice.org.uk/ ).
    I fully support the work of this foundation and these two reports.
    We have been winning the ideas on social reform, and if you can’t see that we need to do something about it then I am sorry. But the fact is that people who have never worked, have no aspiration and no prospects of change are more likely to be depressed, suicidal, and their children are more likely to be abused (statistically).
    We need to support people out of work in the long term to get into work. We need to support these children – or the cycle of social deprivation continues.
    By the way, I support virtually everything that the Labour MP Frank Field says in his Reform reports on welfare. Does he show a lack of compassion for telling it like it is? Do you disagree with him? see here:
    and here:
    I welcome your comments again when you have looked at those points.


  4. Rachel Joyce Says:

    The other point about mental health is that most people on long term sick are for
    a. back pain or similar
    b. stress or depression
    people with back pain or similar (such as a nurse) who may not be able to work in their old job may be able to work in a different job (I agree with the Labour policy of “well notes” as opposed to “sick notes” in this regard.
    those with depression often do better at work – being out of work is in itself depressing. Of course they need help and support and may need to ease back into work. I remember a depressed patient of mine whose main cause of depression was that she was at home with the kids alone all day and never spoke to adults (she did’nt have a partner). She originally dismissed my idea of a part time job as she would end up being financially worse off – having to give up some benefits.
    She did in the end take up my advice. She started working for a few hours a day in Argos. She came back to see me and said it had tranformed her life – she had a social life, adult conversation, and a purpose other than the kids.
    The medical evidence support this as well. We need to support people to do what is right for them – sometimes choices are tough.
    But some people (severely mentally ill for instance) won’t be able to work. I agree – and they need to be looked after. But this is not the majority of people signed off for mental health reasons.
    best wishes


  5. Rachel Joyce Says:

    I have just looked at your comments above again, which you did not put on my blog, so it is only because I followed the link that I was aware you had said it. If you want me to respond to a question, it is always sensible to actually ask it to me.
    “I am also curious about what the good doctor thinks of middle class people who abuse their children. When I was on an eating disorders unit I heard some pretty nasty stories* of middle class parents maltreating their children. What causes this? These people most certainly were not on welfare. And, if the actions of Karen Matthews reflects the morality and ‘values’ (or lack thereof) of an entire class then is the same true of the socio-economically superiors who subject their own children to abuse? And, if not, then why not?”
    I was not talking about a whole class of people. I think before you comment you should think before you make such a judgement. This is not about class, but about LIFESTYLE. This is about people who are not contributing to society positively – who will have come from all walks of society. If you take away responsibility, you take away the desire to take responsibility. It is nothing to do with class. The “underclass” is a very unfortunate term used by the media but unfortunately it is the only parlance that is used to describe people who live their lives with no intention to work, who have no aspirations for themselves or their children.
    You might also notice that most of my post was actually a quote from someone else’s and a note that Labour have done NOTHING about HELPING these people. The only value judgement is that 1. we need to reform society. If you disagree read the centre for social justice publications – this will involve actually helping people, believe it or not; and 2. Shannon’s Matthew’s mother was unfit. Do you disagree?


  6. Louise Says:

    Thank you but I think I may have been a little unfair to Rachel. http://racheljoyce.blogspot.com/search/label/mental%20health

    I feel all mean now. apologies for putting you in this situation.


  7. Louise Says:

    Thank you for your comments Rachel. In answer to your question: no I don’t disagree. She was/is clearly an ‘unfit mother’. I just don’t agree with the suggestion that she was motivated solely by the need for money. I mean, jeez, she must have spent most of her adult life pregnant. There must have been more to that than the need for an extra £12.50 a week. I also do not see how the media frenzy surrounding this case is helping anyone. Why does it take a case as ‘dramatic’ as this for them to sit up and take notice? Maybe this will be followed by a tabloid newspaper campaign aimed at improving the lives and futures of children in care but I won’t hold my breath. I will write more later. Your comments deserve more time and thought than I can offer right now.


  8. Rachel Joyce Says:

    Thanks Louise
    I too get frustrated by the way the media deal with issues. If you talk to journalists (which I do from time to time) they say it is the human stories that sell the papers. which makes them unrepentant.
    I find much of the tabloid stuff which follows issues unpleasant, and sometimes they publish untrue stuff (such as with the Madeleine McCann story) which is really shocking.
    I have however reached the conclusion that as this is the way the media work (which is down to what the public buy), at least these stories provide a forum to debate the issues of the day. For instance, there may have been hundreds of baby Ps but it was only this case in the media that showed that the inspection system we currently have of childrens services is not adequate – something that Ofsted now recognises – so good can come out of these stories.
    I wish you well


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