Eddie Coleman : No Two days the same
‘A fantastic blog by Eddie Coleman – a front line support worker at Loretto Care and an active member of the Scottish Care Front Line Strategy Forum– highlighting the skills and attributes needed at the front line of social care.
I rang the bell. The door was opened by a perplexed looking Mrs Jones (not real name) clutching a letter in her hand.
‘Come in’, she said. So I did. ‘You look worried this morning’ I offered. ‘Aye, I am son. I got this letter this morning and I haven’t stopped worrying since. I haven’t been able to eat breakfast for worrying’.
No breakfast, now that’s not good.
‘Can I look at your letter?’ I asked. ‘Of course you can, you were getting it anyway. They’re stopping my benefits’.
I looked at the letter and sure enough it was from the benefits office. The letter stated that there had been overpayments to Mrs Jones’s housing benefit going back three months and that they would be taking £3 off her benefits every two weeks until the overpayment is paid back. I explained all this to Mrs Jones who was visibly relieved. ‘Aw is that all? I just saw overpayment and pay back £30 and thought the worse’. She sighed.
‘Three pounds, not thirty’ I advised. ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’. That gave us a laugh anyway.
The Sherlock Holmes in me decided to double check the claims in the letter. I explained to Mrs Jones that I would like to phone housing to verify that there was in fact overpayments made to her housing benefit and asked her if that would be ok. It was.
In short, I spoke with a very nice person who informed me that this wrong and that it was a mistake on the part of the benefits office.
Right, I thought, put the rest of the morning on hold while I phone the benefits office. To be fair, I know they have a very, very busy schedule.
I phoned my office and spoke with the shift co-ordinator who was able to arrange for a colleague to do my next projected visit for me.
Pachelbel’s Canon was very soothing to my ear. Not so the ‘you are number 48 in the queue’. Ok, so that was a bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture.
To cut a long story short, and quote Spandau ballet, I got it all sorted out after an hour and a half and was very happy to tell Mrs Jones that there had been a mistake and that her benefits will remain as they are.
Now, about that breakfast……
And the moral of the story is that patience, persistence, inquisitiveness, a nice manner and team work will get you through most days as a frontline care worker.