On The Edge TV interview with Angela Sherman, founder of Care To be Different
In this clip, Angela Sherman talks about her concern about drugs given to her father and about her reason for fighting her parents’ corner. Lawyer, Simon Stone, comments on the debate about whether UK governments have their funding priorities right. The interview was recorded before Angela’s parents died.
Duration: 00:05:52. Watch it here. [TV clip © Edge Media]
…or read the transcript below:
TC = Theo Chalmers (interviewer), On The Edge
AS = Angela Sherman, founder, Care To Be Different
SS = Simon Stone, lawyer, Kingsley David Solicitors
TC: One of the questions I was going to ask you about is, we hear a lot about ‘chemical coshes’, not to put a nice term on it, but how people in care homes are kept quiet and behave themselves with the use of drugs which keep them in that way. Do you have any experience of that with your parents or other patients?
AS: I know that my father has been given anti-psychotic drugs and I know that at one point his whole personality and character changed which alarmed me. I remember calling the GP saying can you take him off this. He’s changed. He’s not himself. And then later I realised he was still being given them.
TC: So because you didn’t have this – sorry, what was this power of attorney called, Simon?
SS: The Lasting Power of Attorney.
TC: Because you didn’t have this Lasting Power of Attorney, they didn’t listen to you?
AS: Well, they have listened to me yes, even without that, but I was really concerned about this. I don’t think at the care home they’re in that happens as a general rule. I am sure it does in some places. I have no evidence that this happens at this care home, but because my father was seeing a psychiatrist and then via the GP, I guess, was given these drugs, he was noticeably different – agitated, aggressive, not himself, not switched on, not tuned in. I believe he doesn’t have them now and he is very calm now. I don’t know, but I was very concerned at that time.
TC: Yeah, I’m not surprised. I’ve got a message here from Steve in Walsall: “Well done Angela, you’ve got guts. That’s rare these days.”
AS: Thank you.
TC: But I suppose once you have got into this battle, you can’t really back out can you?
AS: You could. There was a moment end of 2007 when I remember sitting at my desk at home, with my head in my hands thinking “How? How do I do this?” It was the point when we had run out of money and everybody wanted everything, and I was fighting for everything and I just didn’t know how to move forward. I could have given up at that point, but how would I feel now if I’d done that. And you don’t know that you can’t win unless you give it a go.
TC: I’m going to read out a message that I have had thoughts about not reading out, but I think it’s fair. Malcolm from Lincoln who wrote that question before that the NHS should spend money on the people who can be cured has now said, “Your female guest talks constantly of money, but little of love.” Can you respond to that?
AS: Interesting. He may well be right in this interview, I may not have talked much of love, but that’s been my overriding reason for doing it. The money is the tool that we are dealing with here, the reason that I’m doing it is because they are my parents and I love them and this is wrong. They should not be forced to pay for nursing care that should be provided by the NHS and, as their daughter, I am fighting for them. I’m fighting for what they built up over the years. Whether or not it’s ‘money’, I am doing this because they are my parents.
TC: And if you didn’t do it, as you have already clearly said, then no one else is going to do it. There is no champion for them is there?
OK, Paul in Warrington says, “Amazing that they can spend billions on bail outs and huge pensions.” I wonder who he can be referring to? “…and not take care of the UK people. Very wrong”. It does sort of beg the question. What do you think about that Simon?
SS: I think he has got it spot on frankly. That’s something we have discussed many times. You’ve got billions being put into the system now. Where were those billions when we needed to put it into the health service?
TC: Well, it’s trillions now, isn’t it?
TC: Into banking.
SS: I know we are talking about different things. We are talking about shoring up the whole of society through the financial system, but we are also talking about the health service which was meant to be to care for us all, and if it’s going to do that, then do it! They are saying it, but they are not necessarily fulfilling it.
TC: They always talk about the NHS as though it’s this wonderful thing, and I’m not saying it’s not a wonderful thing, but perhaps it’s not quite as wonderful.
SS: Well, the NHS needs to be lorded, the alternative is not particularly pretty, I don’t think.
TC: But if you look at America, it’s very unpretty.
SS: Yes, exactly and I know lots of people who work in the NHS and they do a thoroughly good job and it’s not necessarily… it’s the system that’s designed around some of these – such as the assessments and those people that are doing it – but those people who care, generally those that are nurses or doctors, physios, other healthcare professionals, do a fantastic job. But there is always a problem somewhere because we make judgements and we all err because we are human.
TC: I mean a lot of money is going into big ‘pharma’ isn’t it, into the pharmaceutical industry. Huge amounts of money.
SS: It does cost millions to get a drug through the system.
TC: Are they effective, a lot of these drugs?
SS: Well a lot of the drugs are, and we still need that to happen. The society needs to be cared for and the drug companies are there to, hopefully, provide assistance going forward, but sometime not enough.