Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Aukje de Vries' Diary Day 3

This morning I received a telephone call from a civil servant from the Ministry of Health. I did not recognise her name and had no idea why she might call me, but she sounded as if she had a “bad news” message. After a few sentences I understood that she called me in my capacity of secretary of a network of older women. We had written to the Minister some 9 months ago about a new system of subsidisation which was then being developed and that would exclude our organisation because the requirements for receiving money are such that we cannot but also do not want to meet them. We are not a membership organisation but a small network, with formal legal status, that tries to make the voice of older women heard, but for other organisations than membership organisations there is no room in the new system. Both the organisations of older people and the women’s organisations seem to ignore older women and we want to change that, but we do not want to become a membership organisation that competes with the many already existing organisations. She tells me she is sorry the Ministry has not answered our letter, they were too busy developing the new system. She advises me to contact PGO, the agency to which the task to subsidise organisations of patients, handicapped persons and older persons has been outsourced. Of course we have already done so. Basically her message is that she cannot do anything for us. Probably the Ministry could have done something at the time we wrote our letter, like designate a small amount of money for organisations which work according to different principles than codified by the Ministry. Her reaction is a bit blank, when I suggest this. When I ask her for which division in the Ministry she works (in case we might want to contact her), she says M and C. This stands for Market and Consumers. I blow my top. I am against market principles in health and long-term care.

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