My week: John Knight sees the clutter chez Blair

Monday: Now that Mr Blair has finally told us the day when he will be leaving Number 10, I can reveal that on a recent visit to 11 Downing Street I had another chance to peek inside the Blairs' domestic quarters en route to the wonderful Sheila McKechnie Foundation's annual awards ceremony hosted by Mr Brown.

John Knight
John Knight

I should explain that the domestic quarters have a lift and are part of the roundabout accessible route to the Number 11 reception rooms - I was not a guest of the Great Helmsman. I couldn't help feeling satisfied that the domestic clutter was marginally worse than mine.

Tuesday: We now know for certain that Mr Brown will be the next Prime Minister. Why the six-week wait? Whitehall is paralysed. One result is that any meaningful decision about how and when the national minimum care standards will be revised has been put on hold yet again.

This is extremely frustrating for those voluntary sector organisations that provide social care services for disabled people and who want to comply with a new set of progressive standards built around the principles in the Our Health, Our Care, Our Say white paper rather than with the current standards, which focus more on bricks and mortar than people using services.

Wednesday: Leonard Cheshire holds a parliamentary reception in the Commons to tell MPs with our services in their constituencies about our work and, more importantly, to explain and celebrate the great campaigning work being done by people using our services.

Frustrated by the failings of the Disability Discrimination Act to secure access to basic goods and services, one group of Leonard Cheshire service users in Chesterfield has formed an alliance with the local MP and chamber of commerce. They have successfully lobbied for better disability access across the town's shops and improvements are now happening. They even managed to embarrass a well-known high-street retailer into making changes. Sheila McKechnie would have been proud - as am I.

Friday: Stories that Mr Brown will make an announcement - when he eventually staggers to the throne - about creating an independent NHS, dislocated from day-to-day ministerial management, appear not to be that outlandish.

There is frenetic activity in the Department of Health with much moving around of senior personnel, which commentators say is a sign of things to come. One wonders whether Mr Brown will be equally minded to move people in the department once he's enthroned.

- John Knight is head of external policy at Leonard Cheshire 

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