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Death by deportation:

Swedish police are pressing for the deportation of Kathleen Poole, a 74 year old British woman with advanced dementia. She has lived in Sweden for 18 years to be near to her son and his family. The reasoning for her deportation seems to be entirely technical as she has not been able to comply with recent legal requirements arising from Brexit. Swedish police moving ahead with plan to deport UK woman with Alzheimer’s | Sweden | The Guardian


Forced removal from the care which has supported her is clearly inhumane and is very likely to bring forward her death, which cannot be long ahead anyway.


My appointment to the first consultant post in the North West of England in 1975 came as a consequence of a scandal when old ladies with dementia were transferred from a hospital in the town of Bury to an unused ward in a hospital high in the Rossendale Valley. Most of the eleven ladies died within three months of transfer, which had been enacted simply to free beds in Bury ahead of the first reorganisation of the NHS.


Since then I have been regularly asked to comment and advise on plans to transfer old people from one care setting to another – sometimes in blocks, sometimes as individuals. There is a consensus in the literature that transfers are stressful to individuals, to families and to staff. Sometimes there is no option and no time to plan alternatives, as in the case of fire or flood, or the financial failure of a care home. In these circumstances there is almost always an increase in deaths and morbidity. Where there is time to plan, advice on good practice is agreed and may reduce the adverse effects. Indeed transfer to a better care setting has advantages.


But the circumstances for Mrs Poole are frightful – The situation is all-but unbelievable in civilised countries in this day: The transfer will not be in her interests, far from it. She lacks capacity to express an opinion, she does not know the care situation she will be moved to and the people who will care for her have not had the opportunity to get to know her and the patterns of care which are best for her. The trauma of travel will be great. She will be taken away from her family. As far as we know, there will be no one to visit her if she is placed in care in England.


The chances are that she will die in response to the chaos which this decision is causing around her, or on the journey or soon after reaching her receiver-home

Surely the insanity of this can be understood and the whole thing stopped. Like The Sabbath, The Law is made for people.

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