The pace of life gets quicker year on year. Or maybe it is my inability, as I age, to keep up. Who knows?

I am concerned, though, that at a time when so much communication is electronic, we are losing the ability to simply listen with empathy and understanding.

An elderly gentleman with learning difficulties and mobility issues was hospitalised after a fall and a stroke. While in hospital there was water ingress to his council flat, apparently coming from a privately owned flat above him.

There was an understandable debate as to who might be liable. You would have thought that it might not take someone with a PhD to access a plumber who would determine liability quickly.

After a week of relative inaction, part of the ceiling fell in. Only after photographic evidence was produced indicating the disastrous and unsafe condition of the flat was hospital discharge delayed.

It appeared until that moment, the state of a flat would not, of necessity, hold up the discharge of a patient whose cognitive ability and mobility is compromised. A patient who would spend the entire day on a chair, with carers attending four times, then in a hospital bed until the following morning in the one room.

Telephone numbers of the appropriate agencies who might assist were guarded with masonic secrecy. Messages were left and a letter unanswered. Even dealing with a local pharmacy to try and put in place a change of medication required a degree in diplomacy.

One wonders what happens when a patient does not have pro-active support or is not competent in electronic communication.

To me this is just another example of how it seems no one cares about the person at the centre of situations such as these.

(PS: the local authority involved, thankfully, was not one of the ones on our own doorstep.)