Monthly Archives: July 2014

The ‘McDonaldlisation’ approach to reform in health and social care is as unhealthy as a triple whatever with cheese and fries….

A couple of years ago a social work student suggested government policy wanted to make us all ‘beige’. I know what she means.

Of course commentators might suggest we are seeing a radical shift in emphasis across health and social care under the coalition resulting in an ideologically driven reshaping in our understanding of legitimate nature, and limits, of the state in individuals lives. However, how radical is an agenda premised on ‘consumerism’ and ‘consumer choice’? Policy designed to create a society of depoliticised consumers is hardly going to address the very real issues around equality and social justice that exist in Britain today.

In ‘Cameron & Co dream world’ delegating care provision to corporate providers is really about delegating power to places where there is limited protection for consumers, ‘choice’ takes precedence over ‘voice’. The McDonaldlisation of care is really a watered down version of consumer choice, and some believe by engaging with it you are living the neoliberal dream.

I have nothing against beige, or McDonalds, really, but a bit of colour and a change of diet would not go amiss in the current debates around the future of health and social care, and social work is well placed to provide the colour needed to create greater vibrancy in how we meet future challenges.

As government concerns itself with winning the next election we need to keep the debate going, we need tasty morsels to stimulate a much better quality of debate and deeper thinking about how to address current, and future, issues.

An Adoption file update: something amazing has happened ……..

Last year was difficult as I thought I had reached the end of my 34 year quest to find my birth mother. After the excitement of being accepted onto the ITV programme Long Lost Families they contacted me with good and bad news.

‘They had found my mother, but, she did not want to meet me’

This was my worse case scenario to be honest, it felt like another rejection. However, life goes on and I’m fortunate to have a good life, a life where I feel loved by those around me so it was not the end of my world but just another step along the way. (I wrote about the journey to this point in blogs)

Fast forward to February this year. Sat in my office at work a phone call from my partner ‘ your mother has rung and has asked whether you still want to meet her?’ what…….????

Making that first phone call was one of the strangest I have ever had to make. It was all a bit remote as if we were speaking to an acquaintance we had lost contact with many years previously. Neither of us knew how to address the other, I called her by her surname. In subsequent phone calls she introduces herself as ‘Wales calling’ and I introduce myself as ‘Cornwall calling’! I would have no problem addressing her as ‘Mum’ but her husband knows nothing of her past so I am a distant relative from Cornwall.

After that first conversation my first thought was of my sibling, who I only met 4 years ago. They knew nothing of me yet accepted me fully when I turned up on their door step and announced myself as their long-lost half-sister. Indeed I’ve been living in their home for the past 7 months as I relocate to Cornwall.

Our experience of not knowing our mother have been very different. My concern at this stage was that finding my mother had been my quest, not theirs. This was a very emotional moment when I sat next to them on their sofa and told them ‘Betty’ had rung. Their shock was palpable as the tears involuntarily fell. I wanted to see my mother, but was unsure how they felt about it, I suppose I was asking for their permission in some sense. Their response was let’s go NOW!

So the next day we made the 8 hour journey to see our mother, mine for the fist time, whilst my sibling has not seen her since a remembered traumatic separation when they were only 4 years old.

Together we arrived at her home at 9am, shoulder to shoulder with our respective bunches of flowers whilst mouthing ‘shit’ to one another as we turned the corner to her home and saw her standing on the door step waiting for us.

It was a good day, a lot of questions were answered. The story we heard was one of incredible cruelty, and a massive injustice to this women, our mother, and ultimately to us, as lives we might have had were stolen by the selfishness of others……

One of the moments I cherish of that first day was as my sibling asked her if it was okay for us to stay a little longer, she grabbed their hand and without hesitation said ‘I don’t care if today never ends’.

Why am I writing this today? I had no intention in sharing this when I woke up this morning, but it is her birthday today and I have sent a card to my mother for the first time. I’ve had to send it as a friend in Cornwall to protect her, so I’m going to write it here instead and share it with the little world that exists around this blog

‘Happy Birthday Mum’

Free Adoption ibook: the journey to finding a birth mother…………..

Di Galpin

About a year ago I started the search for my biological mother and shared my experience in a blog entitled ‘The Adoption Files’. However, writing ‘The Adoption File’ became as much about understanding the effects of childhood on individuals as finding my natural family. Whilst my story is related to my adoption much of what I discovered about the effects of childhood and family is the same for anyone, whether adopted or not. The truth is family is central to many of our life experiences and sometimes those are good and sometimes not so good. When childhood has not been so good it can overshadow the rest of our lives, however, it does not have to, we can turn those negatives around to achieve positive outcomes.

Many people spend their lives trying to be the person their family want them to be rather than just being themselves. This often stems…

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How ‘free’ is our free will when it comes to making those big decisions…..

Reflecting on my holiday reads so far is some what disconcerting and leading me to ask some difficult questions about just how free we really are in our decision making. Whether it’s health and life style choices, finances or who to vote for there appears to a whole lot more processes going on than I thought, and much of it out of my control.

The reads I refer to are ‘Thinking, fast and slow’ (Daniel Kahneman), ‘Risk Savvy’ (Gerd Gigerenzer) and ‘Nudge’ (Richard Thaler).

They really do make you stop and think about how our choices can be manipulated (or shaped depending on your perspective and who is doing it!).

If you have the luxury of a holiday and want use your downtime to actually do some ‘thinking’ they are well worth a read.