David Harding-Price

davidhardingprice

David is a retired NHS nurse, but is currently the Royal College of Nursing’s Council Member for the East Midlands and is Honorary Treasurer of the RCN. David was also a Lib Dem MP candidate for Lincoln in the past. He has two grown up children and enjoys photography and swimming in his spare time.


“Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world: yet is every man his greatest enemy,” said Sir Thomas Browne in 1642. But what do we mean by charity? Is it simply the giving of money, or something more important — our time?

In 21st century Britain, have we become slaves to the modern world of “click and it happens”, somewhat reliant on shaking the money tree hard enough and trusting that something will fall out? In so doing we are turning our back on the real issues at home, which if not addressed can lead to considerable problems in modern Britain. These are problems that can be addressed locally by small local charities.

Daily we see the heartrending adverts on the television asking for two or three pounds a week to help save a donkey, a turtle or a child’s sight and many sign up not knowing how much of their three pounds will actually be used to care for the donkey, turtle or child.

Should we be looking at where our money actually goes, because the time it takes you to earn that money is as important as the actual money value itself? If the charity spends vast sums on buildings, staff and questionable activities and then says it is struggling to provide the basics for the people mentioned in their aims, surely we should be asking where the money is going.

For example, how can charities be leasing offices in central London costing millions a year, when there are people having to crowdfund for their cancer medication. Can any charity really argue it is right that some of their staff are paid large salaries out of the charitable giving of others.

Big multinational charities will argue that they have to employ people to manage their activity, but do they have to pay some of their people more than one hundred thousand pounds a year to do it? Surely if you choose to work for a charity you do so with a sense of altruism as well as gaining reward, be that financial or a private personal sense of well-being.

The argument used by the charities of getting the best people for the job is a weak one because the best person — if they are not purely financially driven (and is that really the type of person you want heading up a charity) — will still come forward.

Numerous small local charities run, as many people expect, with the volunteers giving their precious time for nothing — being only repaid expenses. Yet it is these very charities unable to afford massive television campaigns who make such difference to the local lives of communities.

So I ask you reader the question, next time you think about signing up for three pounds a week for a large multinational, would your annual one hundred and fifty pounds be better donated to a local charity?

— David Harding-Price is the Charity Secretary of MattDotCom.

David is a retired NHS nurse, but is currently the Royal College of Nursing’s Council Member for the East Midlands and is Honorary Treasurer of the RCN. David was also a Lib Dem MP candidate for Lincoln in the past. He has two grown up children and enjoys photography and swimming in his spare time.

We have just experienced some cold weather and the media have reported a number of “caring” acts but what is care?

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines care in a number of ways including “serious attention, heed and caution” going on to include “a thing to be done or seen to be done”, whilst another definition is “the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something”. The government defines care as being “about helping people to stay healthy, and protecting them from threats to their health”.  None of these really define what care is.

One can argue that care is doing to others what you would have them do to you. However, how does this help you decide if the care you are giving to or receiving be that as an elderly person or a child is actually care?

Is the fact that your neighbour knocked on your door to ask if you wanted anything from the shop care? The answer is probably yes. Is the clearing of roads of snow by farmers care? Again the answer is probably yes. These are obvious signs of caring.

But what about the standards of care, how are they defined? We hear regularly reports of elderly people who have been badly treated by carers and with social media often now see the secretly recorded videos. There is public outcry when a child suffers at the hands of an adult or even another child. So how do we define care?

Over my years in the health sector I saw many acts of caring and some that lacked caring. The nurse who sits for two or three hours with a dying patient so that they do not die alone or the care assistant who takes the dog out for a wee when the elderly person is unable to walk due to pain that day. Neither of these is written into job descriptions by employers. Equally the doctor who stays with the parent as their child dies but sends everyone else away so as to ensure serenity and privacy at the moment of death. All of these are caring in different ways.

However, what is acceptable to you may not be acceptable to the person you are caring for. As a carer you may find Jeremy Kyle, Celebrity Juice and Survival of the Fittest brilliant shows but if the person you are caring for likes Davids Frost, Attenborough and Niven leaving the television on Jeremy Kyle is not caring for them. Equally cutting corners, be that not changing sheets on a bed or not even making it or failing to read notes that tell you what the person’s dietary preferences are is failing to care.

Care as it says in Matthew 7:12 is doing unto others as you would have them do to you but that also requires you to understand the needs of the person you are caring for. What you like may well not be what they like. Whilst your standards are fine for you they may not be at the correct level for the person you are caring for.

So yes do call on your elderly neighbour and ask if there is anything they need but when they say just milk and bread, check is that red, green or blue top milk and white or brown bread.

David is a retired NHS nurse, but is currently the Royal College of Nursing’s Council Member for the East Midlands and is Honorary Treasurer of the RCN. David was also a Lib Dem MP candidate for Lincoln in the past. He has two grown up children and enjoys photography and swimming in his spare time.

2016 is just beginning. For many 2015 was another year of hard slog with little reward, be that for the people of Cumbria under water again or the nurse working on the ward over their allotted hours because of the staff shortages. So what can we hope for in 2016? Readers indulge me for a few minutes as I come up with some suggestions for the months ahead.

January – The year is starting in much the same way 2015 ended. A&E staff will remain under pressure and beds will be in short supply in hospitals. How can we help? Small simple things can make a difference. If you have an elderly neighbour make sure that they have the basics, milk, bread, tea, cereal and that they have access to blankets if they are struggling with heating. Four thin layers are better than two thick ones.

February – By now snow will have surely arrived and the nation will have come to a grinding halt. But with a little careful planning you can avoid ending up in hospital. Make sure your paths are clear of obstacles and when, if it does snow, you are ready to move the snow off the paths.

March – The month of the budget. We can but hope that the Chancellor sets out spending plans that will provide for all. We have seen those at the top getting pay rises year after year, it is now time the workers were looked after. If the private sector can find the money to keep their staff there is no reason why the public sector cannot do the same.

April – We can but hope that the environment agency has been given the funding to dredge those rivers and streams that need it and is getting on with the task. More importantly we can hope the politicians thought through how to stop the flooding in the areas where there is housing and business. For example by paying farmers up stream to store the water so it can be released slowly.

May – Elections: Will we get a council that recognises the need of all the local community or just a section that think will support them? Housing needs to be built on brown sites and not green fields and flood plains, services for the vulnerable require to be in place and the potholes filled. The eastern bypass needs to be started with a road access along Hawthorn Road. By now I guess we all will be paying more in council tax to cover the cost of them.

June  – There’s the flesh-flashing World Naked Bike Ride, where nudity is positively encouraged, followed by Wimbledon, where nudity is definitely frowned upon. But June is the start of the season where the use of sun screen is becoming more essential. Whilst many of us like to tan, we need to make sure that we look after our skin.

July – We’ll see sporting events including British Open (Golf) and Tour de France (Cycling) and this will lead, as many well publicised sporting events do, to people taking up sport. From walking to running, cycling to swimming, all exercise is good for you. Personally, I enjoy swimming and will hopefully get a chance to dip my toe in the sea.

August – ‘Olympics’, ‘Rio’ and ‘hope’ will be the three words of this month. After years of hard training, millions of eyes and ears will be straining to see the flag raised and hear the national anthem as more of our sporting stars collect Gold in Rio. Success here will lead to more people continuing with their chosen sport.

I risk one prediction for the year and that is 30 Gold Medals for Great Britain, with an overall tally of 70.

September – We see students return to education be that at school or in university. For many it will be the start of something new and for others a continuation of what they have already started. We can all only hope that the government has seen fit not to get rid of nursing bursaries. At the same time has increased the number of places available. If we doubled the size of the intake at the university here in Lincoln within four years our nursing shortage would be almost a thing of the past.

October – Autumn will be returning and a chance for some long walks among the falling leaves, followed by a warm meal in front of the fire. We can start to think about snuggling down for winter. Put aside a few extra tins of soup, start checking on the elderly nearby and check your boiler is working.

November – I know we celebrate the attempt by a group of men to blow up the Houses of Parliament but could we try not to destroy the tranquillity of autumn evenings with fireworks night after night after from the middle of October? Equally we need to think about people’s pets. For many their pet is the one thing that keeps them going and this time of year is very stressful for both animal and owner.

December – Peace on earth: Well we can but hope, another year will have passed us by but will the calls this time next year be the same as this year or will those in power and authority have heeded the messages and taken the appropriate action.

I hope 2016 gives you some of what you wish for and none of what will cause you pain.

David is a retired NHS nurse, but is currently the Royal College of Nursing’s Council Member for the East Midlands and is Honorary Treasurer of the RCN. David was also a Lib Dem MP candidate for Lincoln in the past. He has two grown up children and enjoys photography and swimming in his spare time.

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