Homelessness-It Could Be You


In today’s society, attempts of individuals to buy houses or to rent them, are blocked by huge costs or job insecurity such as zero-hour contracts .  In the UK it is said that the number of repossessions of houses has reduced since 2006, but the figures are regional (Canning 2014) “Northern Ireland is expected to have the UK’s highest rate of home repossession this year, according to mortgage service company HML. Greater London would experience the biggest number of repossessions in the second half of the year, at nearly 1,400”. This could be from parents with children or as a  consequence of losing one’s job for example.

The number of homelessness in many countries has increased eg USA “On a single night in January 2013, 610,042 people were experiencing homelessness. From 2012 to 2013, a period of continued slow recovery from the Great Recession, overall homelessness decreased by 3.7 percent and homelessness decreased among every major subpopulation—families (7 percent), chronically homeless individuals (7.3 percent), and veterans (7.3 percent). But nationwide trends do not tell the full story” (National Alliance to End Homelessness 2014). Similar to the UK, there are regional differences regarding figures. In  Denmark- where once there were no homeless people-  “there was a 16 perecent total increase in recorded homelessness between 2009 and 2013 (a rise from 4,998 to 5,820)” (Denmark FEANTSA).

This figure includes people within bed and breakfast or shelter. In my local Town I see three people at 8am lying under blankets in the town centre. Some passers- by do give them a drink, food, or  a chat. Local shelters are full. Some do choose to live on the streets but many homeless people are mentally ill . For example in the USA (theguardian.com 2014). In the UK (Wilson 2014) a figure is given of 30-40% of homeless people who are mentally ill. Yet in many countries there are so called “clean-ups”- in Florida, and some other states of the USA, people have been threatened with fines and jail for giving food to homeless people (Luscombe 2014), in Brazil homeless people have been shot. Recall the murder of the children in Brazil “On the night of 23 July 1993, eight young men and women died after a gang of hooded men opened fire on a group of some 50 street children sleeping on the steps of Rio de Janeiro’s Candelária church” (Amnesty 2013). RT News (2014) describes anti-Homeless cages around benches in France, and anti-homeless spikes in doorways in London. Yet in Vancouver “wooden boxes on city benches, would allow a homeless person to build a three-sided shelter out of a park bench” (ibid).

Could kind attention to homeless people be a means of returning us to care? Politicians have steered us towards blame, competition, or greed so that being homeless is considered to be one’s own fault. Yes many may have vices such as drink, or drugs, but this is fuelled by today’s society. There are many people who receive no income, even if they live in a house. Benefits are reduced or removed, if one can get them.

Could Local Authorities open empty buildings or use spare land for erecting tents or cabins, funded by businesses? Could the churches open at night? Many would volunteer to be present. Some churches do provide free meals on certain days Some charities do attend to homeless people at night, offering them company, food, a drink, or warm clothes . Could school children be encouraged to collect food and warm clothing? Many children are also homeless “More than 90,000 children in England, Scotland and Wales are without a permanent home, says Shelter (Burns 2014). In Greece (Greeknews 2013) “Nearly six thousand children in Greece live on the streets”; “The majority of the children who live on the street are from 5 to 12 years old”. Also in the Philippines (UNICEF).

Regarding healthcare, some states in the USA do offer care, and some health staff work unpaid (http://www.nhchc.org/). Also care is offered within the UK (http://www.pathway.org.uk/).

Despite some attempts by some people and organizations, there needs to be  a swing round in politics away from the rich elite to those in greater need of life’s essentials. The “haves” and have- nots” are created by politicians. The haves are the politicians and their friends (See the work of Martin Luther- the Protestant Work Ethic).

With acknowledgements to the many individuals and organizations who do care for the homeless such as Shelter, M25,  some churches, and passers-by.


Amnesty (2013) Brazil: Police Still Have Blood on Their Hands 20 Years On From Massacre https://www.amnesty.org/en/news/brazil-police-still-have-blood-their-hands-20-years-massacre-2013-07-24

Burns J (2014) Homeless Children at ‘Highest Level since 2011” 3.11 bbc.co.uk

Canning M (2014) Repossession Rate For Homes in Northern Ireland is Highest in the UK 15.8 belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Denmark FEANTSA (2013)

Greeknews (2013) http://greece.greekreporter.com/2013/04/10/thousands-of-children-live-on-the-street/

Luscombe R (2014) 90-year-pld Among Florida Activists for feeding the Homeless http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/05/fort-lauderdale-pastors-arnold-abbott-arrested-feeding-homeless

National Alliance to End Homelessness (2014 ) 27.5 http://www.endhomelessness.org/library/entry/the-state-of-homelessness-2014

RTNews (2014) Anti-Homeless Cages Installed Around Benches in France on Christmas Eve http://rt.com/news/217679-france-homeless-bench-cages/  25.12

theguardian (2014) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/28/-sp-struggle-housing-americas-mental-health-care-crisis-care

Wilson W (2014) Rough Sleeping England 4.4

c Carol Dimon 2015



King’s College research (2011), found that a third of all patients admitted for mental illness are involved in violent incidents with other patients or staff. The focus on prevention has centred on identifying the ‘unsettled’ patient, and training staff in their management. Many years ago, I worked in an old fashioned psychiatric hospital, which nestled within a 12 foot high perimeter wall that encircled the hospital for 2 miles. The Victorian hospital was built in the grounds of a former stately home park. It had many mature and beautiful trees, acres of grassland, and paths with regular benches. The hospital had its own farm, produce from which was used in the making of hospital meals.

The grounds were always occupied. Little communities from various wards would congregate around ‘their’ benches. Those patients who required escort could be seen ‘walking the wall’, or playing football, or working on the farm. The therapeutic effect of this outdoor activity was impressed on me by Charlie, my charge nurse: “The more tired people are, the less trouble they are” was his mantra. I thought he was partly right, for I also observed that patients felt psychologically lifted by being out under a blue sky and pleasant wind, or a greying sky and falling leaves. They felt less claustrophobic, Max, the consultant psychiatrist, explained, less likely to panic and “explode”. Again, I thought that he was partly right, for I continued to observe the intrinsic healing effects for patients of growing flowers and vegetables. I am not saying that the old ‘bins’ were a nirvana of psychiatric care, they most decidedly were not, and at an earlier age, the strict enforcement of a work discipline within them made ‘working on the farm’ more task than pleasure. Yet, things had relaxed enough by my day for me to see the therapeutic potential that nature could have on a troubled mind.

I often wondered in my later nursing years why we confine mentally ill patients in modern buildings of enclosed spaces and artificial lighting, devoid of fresh air, the smell of scented flowers, and any potential to exercise. I thought that my profession was complicit in treating human beings like battery hens. When I began working in a private prison, my overwhelming sense was one bewilderment, for we caged mentally ill patients two to a cell, which greatly seemed to increase levels of anxiety, unpredictability, and self harm. The mentally ill prisoner’s life was a claustrophobic hell, devoid of any contact with nature.

The answer to why prisons are built in concrete jungles is clearly that of cost, the same determinant of the cheap, ‘gimmicky’, and discredited cognitive therapies that are claimed to replace prisoner’s ‘negative’ thoughts with ‘good’ ones, as if we are machines in which malfunctioning parts can be replaced – the intellectual gossamer on which such as Care UK’s private prison programme is sold to the government.

What I do suggest is needed are gardens as therapeutic spaces. I was greatly impressed with the recent initiative of Turning Point Mental Health facility in Chicago, which is turning some of its parking space into a therapeutic garden.

Can anyone imagine that happening in ‘no care’ UK?


lenin nightingale 2015




It doesn’t work in the long-term. Attracting private capital to the UK health system is nothing but a temporary fix. When the New Labour government entered into Private Finance Initiatives (PFI’s), they gambled on a risky way of funding new hospitals, schools, prisons, and roads. PFI hospital contracts became nothing more than sure-win betting slips that were traded on, yielding profits for investors averaging 66%, and the public purse being robbed accordingly by these latter-day Fagins.

It really doesn’t work in the long-term. As reported by Reuters (April 2014) – ‘Private equity firms have slashed new investment in public service provision in Sweden after successive scandals led to calls for more state control, raising questions over who will meet the growing cost of supporting an ageing population. Media reports that a resident of a privately-run home for the elderly was denied medical care after a fall, and the bankruptcy of an education provider that left 11,000 pupils without a school, have left many Swedes uneasy with the idea of private companies providing vital public services’.

It truly doesn’t work in the long-term. Private equity firms exist primarily to benefit limited partners, the individuals and institutions that invest in their funds. As Terra Firma, the private equity firm  that owns Four Seasons nursing homes, explained: ‘We create value for our stakeholders by acquiring, transforming and selling asset-backed businesses in essential industries’.

Private equity firms maximise value to themselves in the short-term, then sell their shares at the height of the market, using some profit to repay debt to their ‘stakeholders’ – banks, insurance companies, and rich individuals. Everything about private equity culture is set up to maximize income for the partners inside the firm, and their external financiers. A private equity firm may charge up to 20% per anum as a management fee, and give its investors a guaranteed 10% annual return, out of monies received from the public purse for providing care services. This money is extracted before any profit or loss consideration, and leaves far less money to spend on patients.


The party is winding down. It has been winding down for some time. Mischa Gaus and Mark Brenner (truth-out.org, December 25, 2011), reported: ‘Nurses sang sour carols today to the private equity firm they say is starving Massachusetts hospitals and pitting workers against each other. Massachusetts nurses came to the headquarters of Cerberus Capital in Manhattan because Cerberus is the money behind Steward Health Systems, which took over the troubled Catholic hospital system Caritas last year and now is squeezing patients and workers for ultra-profits. “Their whole pitch was to keep the community hospitals alive”, said Linda Tasker, a telemetry nurse at Merrimack Valley Hospital. “But they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul, and picking out the hospitals that will make the most money”.


The party is over. ‘Chief Executive Steve Melton said: “This combination of factors (funding cuts and increased A&E useage), means we have now reluctantly concluded that, in its existing form, Circle’s involvement in Hinchingbrooke is unsustainable”. Jana Simmons (The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2015), commented: ‘In a fresh sign of the deepening problems in the U.K.’s state health system, health-care provider Circle Holdings PLC announced on Friday that it was in talks to withdraw from its contract to operate the U.K.’s first privately run National Health Service hospital. The news is a blow for the government of Prime Minister David Cameron just four months before the general elections’.


It is not the fault of private equity firms that successive UK governments gave them carte blanche to extract as much money out of the public purse as possible, that is the remit of such firms. If you herd deer toward hungry wolves, the deer will be devoured, but you can not blame wolves for their nature.  You can blame  politicians who sold to the gullible a fundamentally flawed plan of financing health care,  enabling bankers and their business friends to gorge themselves on short-term profits.


The party is truly over. Yet, UK politicians, so wed to the principle of State assets being franchised to capitalists, continue with the plan, as idiots continuing to take poison.


Those who would protect the NHS and other care services must be ideologically opposed to this idiocy.



lenin nightingale 2015









Gagged freedom of speech

This is  a historical list of individuals who have been gagged from expressing alternative viewpoints. I would like very much people to contribute names please- going back as early as possible. This will be relevant when considering such issues as whistleblowing or freedom of speech or expression, in any way. Carol Dimon

Acknowledgements to individuals for names will be given in brackets.

RC= Rosemary Cantwell.

Going back through history, illustrates that people with alternative views to they in power, have always been erased in some way-

Socrates- imprisoned. Poisoned.

Chief Sitting Bull – native American Indians

Galileo 1610 (RC)

Geordiano  Bruno 1593 astrology (RC)

Romans gladiators-http://www.historytoday.com/keith-hopkins/murderous-games-gladiatorial-contests-ancient-rome

Henry 8th rule- totalitarian state

John Lilburne (leader of the Levellers UK) 1640s

Murder of they who were deemed to be “witches”

George Jackson- imprisoned. Shot down.

Thomas Aikenhead – blasphemy. Scotland 1697 “‘It is a principle innate and co-natural to every man to have an insatiable inclination to the truth, and to seek for it as for hid treasure.’- very poignant (RC) http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scottishenlightenment/before/index.asp

Voltaire Paris imprisoned 1700s. Argued for freedom of speech (RC)

Leon Trotsky 1940 killed by an axe in Mexico – Russian revolution, opposed Stalin.

Ghandi 1940s (RC)

Charles Darwin (RC) Theory of evolution saidd to oppose the church. 1850s

Nelson Mandela- imprisoned.

Martin Luther King (RC)

David Walker 1830s spoke out against black slavery (will be others)  http://originalpeople.org/david-walker-call-to-awaken-other-african-americans-to-the-power-of-black-unity-and-revolution/

Thomas Paine 1800s Author eg The Rights of Man. Born in Norfolk, England.

Tolpuddle Martys 19thC (RC) Dorset ,England  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolpuddle_Martyrs

President Lincoln (RC)

Sir Thomas More (RC)

The Holocaust (1940s) eg Anne Frank https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank

O Schindler https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Schindler

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn  Russian  author, expelled from Soviet Union 1974 (RC)

JFK assassinated

Julian Assange (wikileaks) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_Assange Political asylum since 2012 in the Embassy of Ecuador London.

Malala Yousafzai 2012 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23291897


Reasons are beginning to be highlighted – opposed religion (control) eg Galileo  Opposed those in power eg Trotsky. Political.

In addition to being silenced, some individuals managed to overcome their opposition and carry on eg  O Schindler/ Thomas Paine.

Despite being silenced by they in power, there are always some who agree with the individual


The Discriminatory Medical Elite

‘Sage’ has a thoughtful and caring face, but one tinged with anger. She knows she will never be allowed to be a doctor. Her blog post (kevinmd.com, May 26, 2014), tells of her dark skin. She wrote: ‘I look Native American. Because I am Native American. She tells of ingrained racism against her people: ‘My college professors think I’m stupid because of my skin color, my shabby clothes, my status as a single mom. They warn, “This class is hard. Be prepared to get a failing grade. I’d drop this class if I were you”. My doctor asks, “Have you been drinking again?” I tell him, “I’ve never touched alcohol in my life”. But he always asks me the same question’. She is stereotyped by white supremacists as a born loser, although her ancestry is noble – her grandfather was a tribal chief, her grandmother was a Medicine Woman.

‘Sage’ is very poor: ‘Natives like me struggle to pay for our next meal. We carry water home because we have no running water. We have no bathrooms at home. We use outhouses or buckets. It may be thirty below, but there’s no heat at home. We had electricity shut off Friday because we couldn’t afford our bills’. This is America – the land of no opportunity for some, and the model which UK politicians aspire to.

‘Sage’ had noble aims: ‘I want to be a family doctor. I want to return to my reservation and heal my people. But primary care is no way to pay off a quarter-to-half-million debt I’d accumulate as a student‘.

Sage’ is intelligent, but unwanted at medical school: ‘Even with my near-perfect GPA, my local college won’t grant scholarships … I recognize a system that is designed to set me up to fail and I refuse to be part of that system. I want to win, not be part of a system that frustrates me at every step. Medical school is not for me. The current system ensures that my dream of being a doctor is just for rich kids‘. This is the truth – many recent research studies in America conclude that medical students are overwhelmingly from wealthy families, with relatively poorer students acquiring an average debt of $150,000-$250,000; double that if they decide to to continue into specialities, such as radiology or neurology. It can take 20 to 30 years to pay off this debt.

Like ‘Sage’, thousands of American working class students can not study medicine. The affluent who graduate do not want to work in small rural towns. Newly qualified doctors with massive debts can not afford to.

American doctors are increasingly pawns in the hands of insurance companies, which deny their patients coverage for blood tests, diagnostics, and scans. Doctors are slow to be paid by these profit-before-humanity insurers. This we-will-pay-you-tomorrow strategy is designed to maximise their profits, as is their 20% ‘administration’ take from every insurance dollar. They are the arbiters of what doctors can do. They deny coverage of certain procedures, treatments, and surgeries, even for children. This is the wonderful world which awaits the somnambulant masses of the UK.

Everything which happens in the realm of American health care is adopted in the UK by our copycat neocon politicians. To look at the American health system is like peering into our future, just as surely as American foreign policy dictates the UK’s. A report by Sean Coughlan (January 7, 2015, bbc.co.uk), states: ‘The UK’s first private medical school has opened, with students paying annual tuition fees of £36,000. The first intake of 67 students is beginning this term at the University of Buckingham (which) says that there seems to be such demand to study medicine that students and their families are willing to pay higher fees at the private university’. The report quotes the UK Office for Fair Access, which confirms that only 4% of students beginning medicine or dentistry courses are from disadvantaged families. 4 in a 100, as many as that!

Socialist comrades in health care, rise as one to demand equal access to medical training for the working class, with their tuition fees being met by government. Oppose the racialist and class biased policies of the medical profession, which, as in America, exclude those who ride in the caboose of the train, who are denied the opportunity to work within their communities, even though they might be infinitely more qualified to train as a doctor than the children of the rich, for their grandmother may have been a Medicine Woman.

Socialist comrades in health care, rise as one to demand that American insurance schemes do not adulterate our health care system, and make it unrecognisable to those who cherish the vision of its socialist founders.

lenin nightingale 2015





However troubling it is that UK A&E departments are not meeting government imposed treatment targets, for whatever reason, and however inevitable it is that the media are feasting off this “crisis”, as they call it, the fact is that the long-term future of this service is threatened by forces far more insidious than ones being currently discussed.

Those in the UK who have been led down the ideological garden path of individual responsibility are doomed to pay for their A&E  care, and, I suspect, at a later date, for all their health care. They only need to turn their gaze from the government’s rose-tinted vision of private insurance to the American model, in which the insured co-pay for their treatment. Yes, insurance premiums, unless extremely high, do not cover the full costs of treatment. This is an important point, in that most private health insurance plans taken out by UK citizens in the future will be issued by American insurance companies. In America, both the insured and the uninsured, who are forced to enter into self-pay agreements, are ‘fed’ to debt collection agencies in the event of non-payment of medical bills. In the future, weasel words will be used in the UK to disguise the fact that hospital treatment will gradually become not free. Our Eton lords will introduce a universal insurance scheme, with differrent bands of ‘contribution’, with the lowest ‘contributions’ being deducted from individual social security payments.  They will preach that such pre-payment will mean that you are not charged for care once in hospital – it is free, at the point of delivery. The concept of co-payment (out-of-pocket costs),  will be gradually rolled out, under the guise of individual responsibility – “It is only fair we all chip in, old chap”.

Let me explain quite clearly what our Americanised future holds:

An American emergency emergency room (ER), is usually part of a hospital, and specializes in the acute care of patients who arrive without an appointment. They run alongside ‘urgent care centers’, which offer a cheaper alternative to the ER.  The National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey estimates that 30%  to 50% of all ER visits are for non-urgent care, such as superficial injuries and upper respiratory infections. The reason that ER’s face a deluge of non-urgent cases is that federal law states emergency departments must treat people regardless of their ability to pay, so ER’s are used as healthcare providers for the uninsured. The uninsured are still liable to pay for treatment, however. They are required to self-pay. Most hospitals offer  plans that allow payments over time. If the bills are not paid, however, they may be handed over to a debt collection agency.

According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine (2011), the average cost of an ER visit for someone with private health insurance was $933.

The following table compares average costs (2011) of ER treatment to that of urgent care centers.

Allergies: $345 … $97

Acute bronchitis: $595 … $127

Earache: $400 …  $110

Sore throat: $525 … $94

Sinusitis: $617 … $112

Strep throat: $531 …  $111

Upper respiratory infection: $486 … $111

Urinary tract infection: $665 … $110

Treatment at urgent care centers is paid for on a pay-for-what-you-get basis. They have less doctors, and more nurses and ‘physician assistants’. They accept most private health insurance plans, with co-pays averaging between $25-$50. A self-paying individual will usually be asked to make a down payment for the visit, with other charges billed at a later date. If medical debt is not paid, it can be discharged to a debt collection agency. An individual may enter into a plan to consolidate several medical debts (many individuals have multiple debts), into one manageable payment at a lower rate of interest. These urgent care centers can be owned by corporations, and they can be expected to become as prevalent in the UK as they are in America. Their revenue exceeded $13 billion in 2011.

Nearly 8 million Americans have unpaid medical debts. A recent report (foxbusiness.com, January 15, 2014), stated ‘Medical debt collection is a serious problem affecting millions of Americans. The typical American family of four had total healthcare costs exceeding $22,000 last year, which included out-of-pocket costs of $3,600. This level of out-of-pocket spending outstripped the amount laid out by the average American household on gas for their automobiles … The nation’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs for 2013 are estimated to have totaled $322 billion. This represents a significant amount of debt — debt, which if not paid off in a timely manner, could be sent out to a collection agencyIn fact, millions of medical accounts are sent to collection annually. Medical bills comprise more than half of the accounts in collection, according to research by the Federal Reserve’. Once a debt collection agency becomes involved, the credit rating of the debtor is adversly effected, and those with other unpaid debt, such as students, will find it almost impossible to take out a mortgage. This is the stick waved at people.

Have we all become so blind that we can not see? Or so stupid to believe we will never be ill?

This is the ‘free  market’ which you shuffle to as cattle, and which is as worshipped by New Labour as it is by the Conservatives. You are the solution, not them.

There will be no future crises in A&E, for the cost involved will limit demand.


lenin nightingale 2015











The Regency novel was riddled with bodice-ripping clichés, so much so that Samuel Coleridge remarked: “Where the reading of novels prevails as a habit, it occasions in time the entire destruction of the powers of the mind”. God save nursing from the equivalent of novelistic clichés. Clichés can be a substitute for intellect, a short-hand used to invoke an instant image, devoid of meaningful detail. The nurse education industry is riddled with such non-intellectual dross – ‘enter the fast-paced, dynamic environment of health care delivery’ (i.e. become a nurse), ‘enter our hands-on, creative learning environment’ (i.e. get your hands on SimMan, a universal patient simulator). It is not just that the Emperor of Nursing is stark naked, this entity constantly spews out as much babble as King George III.

The babble entrapped such as Ronak Soliemannjad: ‘When I graduated in June (2013), I definitely thought it would be easier to find a job as an RN, if not in California, then at least in another state. That’s not the case. I looked at a whole bunch of states and the thing is, I see a lot of jobs for RNs but they’re only taking RNs with experience. I see a lot of jobs that specifically say “no new grads”. I’ve started looking for jobs at assisted living and nursing homes, but the problem is, if you eventually want to work in a hospital, hospitals don’t consider that “acute” experience. You still end up with no experience in their eyes. The process has become more and more discouraging. There are so many of us with student loans that we need to start paying, but nobody is willing to take a chance on us’.

The babble ensnared such as Nhuha Le: ‘I graduated from San Jose State University in May (2013), and got my registered nurse license in July. I have been searching and applying for an RN position for seven months now and still have not found a nursing job. I have applied for jobs all over California and also other states such as Texas, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Virginia. I also applied with travel agencies but had no luck. Most RN job descriptions state “must have at least 1 year of paid or acute care RN experience.” Most new grad RN programs either rejected me or did not reply. It is frustrating to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and I cannot get an interview or a job. I am currently working as a caregiver for a home care agency, which doesn’t really require any degree. The pay is nothing close to RN pay, and it feels very unsatisfying. Every time I tell people that I am a nurse and looking for a job, they respond by telling me that it is easy for nurses to find jobs because of the nursing shortage. The truth is, new nurses are graduating and struggling to find jobs. I want people to know how bad the situation is for us’ (money.cnn.com , May 2013).


These comments reflect those of many newly qualified British nurses, and mirror the results of my study into the availability of jobs for newly qualified British nurses (2014). In short, most NHS Trust managers do not want SimMan trained nurses.

Whether an American or British Emperor of Nursing, the entity is both stark naked, and a peddlar of intellectual dross and false promises. The nurse education industry is feeding off those it entices into its lair with the promise of a free course. The RCN bleat about the number of foreign nurses being given jobs in Britain, yet is silent about the NMC’s role in assisting foreign nurses to gain entry visas. Explanation – the NMC’s top committee members are also RCN members, as are the majority of nurse lecturers.

The time is now to ditch the whole rotten conglomerate of self-interest that feeds off the carcase of nursing.


Free nurses and nursing from these babbling jackals.



lenin nightingale 2015