Droning through parts of my course brought back memories of a painting I did many years ago which for me epitomised care in the community. All the big hospitals in the UK closed and the patients were accommodated in the community literally wherever they could fit.
Many patients couldn’t cope. They didn’t take vital medication, some attacked members of the public and ended up in jail while others finished up living rough on the streets unable to cope with life on the outside. And yet the policy was sold to the public as though it was some sort of freedom ticket for those incarcerated for not committing a crime.
At the time I worked with eight individuals who were transitioned into the community; my role was to provide day services which taught them life skills to survive in the outside world. Many carried everything they owned in plastic bags, some ate with their hands, most could not comprehend communication outside of a direction or command and none of them were in any way, shape or form ready to live outside of hospital walls.
Whilst my painting suggests care in the community is a load of old cobblers it was, and still is, very much worse than that. It’s cruel.