Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Lack Of Compassion

Over at ‘Underdogs Bite Upwards’, Leg-Iron has a splendid post on the sheer lack of compassion shown to the dying who might like a quick cigarette, and are denied it on ‘health grounds’.

That lack of compassion seems to be a feature of public sector workers:
Council staff are said to have spied on the young parents at night as part of a plan to see if they were fit to look after their baby, who was sleeping in another room.

The mother and father were forced to cite the Human Rights Act, which protects the right to a private life, before the social services team backed down and agreed to switch off the surveillance camera while they were in bed together.
If the council workers were that desperate to see a mentally disabled couple in bed together, I’m sure there are, ummm, ‘specialist websites’ that cater for that kind of thing. There’s no need to spend taxpayers money on it…
In the latest case, documented in a report published by the British Institute of Human Rights to mark the tenth anniversary of the Human Rights Act, an unnamed council used CCTV to keep an eye on a mother and father with learning difficulties as their parenting skills were under question.

Social services departments are allowed to place adults in units known as "residential family centres" if they fear their children could be at risk of abuse or neglect. Staff assess the families in a controlled environment to determine whether their children should be taken into care.
And as the kid slept in another room, the point of the camera in their bedroom was…?
"With the help of a visiting neighbour, the couple successfully invoked their right to respect for private life.

"They explained that they did not want their intimacy to be monitored and that, besides, the baby slept in a separate nursery.

"As a result, the social services team agreed to switch off the cameras during the night so that the couple could enjoy their evenings together in privacy."
They ‘explained they did not want their intimacy to be monitored’. Savour that phrase.

And it took a neighbour to help them with this! Not an official advocate for the couple (if one was appointed, they presumably had no objection), an outsider, who displayed the common sense and compassion so sadly lacking in the staff.

So, what kind of people are we employing that this needed to be pointed out to them? Do they lack all humanity?

Sorry, I’m beginning to think that’s a redundant question…


Old BE said...

We are in a rules based system not a judgement based society.

Anonymous said...

But surely the rules must have had something to say about this kind of situation?

Otherwise, the people who drew them up can be added to the list of those lacking in basic humanity...

Old BE said...

What I meant was that the spies did not do what they thought was "right" they did what they thought was "legal". In fact the spies were wrong because the HRA did in fact prevent them from doing what they did. Instead of applying commonsense to avoid the situation, the spies had to have the full weight of the law brought down on them. Disgraceful.

Letters From A Tory said...

I didn't realise people had to fight so hard not to have CCTV in their bedroom.

Anonymous said...

"social services team backed down and agreed to switch off the surveillance camera while they were in bed together."

Why aren't these wankers in prison?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and here's hoping Dr Chris gets to understand first-hand the value of compassion to the terminally ill, sooner rather than later.