Today the Royal College of Psychiatrists published a report on the role of specialist mental health in-patient services for learning disabled people. Another outcome of Winterbourne View. Yesterday, Alicia Woods wrote a steaming piece about what happened to LB. I have to say, reading the former, I hear ‘yadayadayadayayawnyyada’. How we can still be discussing what are straightforward, obvious, sensible things is astonishing. But even more ‘talk to the hand’ inducing is that they are recommendations. Recommendations are about should. Not must. When is someone who has the power to make a difference, going to stand up and say ‘This has got to stop. Things must change. This, this and this must be done’? Until there is some proper accountability, and health/social care professionals/institutions are actually held to task for their actions (or non-actions), nothing will change.
As for the Community Care piece? Thank you Alicia Woods. ‘Rotten system..’ ‘Do we know what families need?”Does anything special happen in a treatment and assessment centre that can’t happen at home?’ ‘Stupid blanket rules‘… She totally nails it. The outcome of LB’s 107 days at the unit (which incidentally was a ‘short term unit’) was, having removed everything we had in place for him and letting him watch DVDs all day, they were trying to re-organise the same activities and re-introduce emptying the dishwasher. And then they were so overly focused on silliness, they let him die in the bath. Heart/breathtaking in its incredible, awful shiteness.
Tomorrow Rich and I are going to London to meet the solicitor. This the last thing we want to do. Walking past the pickle shelf in the supermarket nearly finished me off on Sunday. London was LB’s haunt. He always wanted to be a Londoner. The day will be teeming with memories and reminders. We’re going from an out of Oxford station to try and reduce these, although this will be the route a group of us used to go to a Mencap do at the House of Common’s ten years ago for the launch of the ‘Breaking Point’ campaign. LB caused hysterics then (both funny and less so) by loudly announcing that terrorists were going to blow up Big Ben. A few years later, on a sunny morning, he followed this up on the Oxford Tube bus to London where he loudly and officiously asked “Are there any terrorists on board?”
But we have to try and get some accountability for what’s happened. Both for our own peace of mind
as if, but also to try and make sure some other poor dude doesn’t have a similar experience. This afternoon, I’ve been looting our filing system (any room in the house) to find relevant paperwork to add to the set put together by our Clipboard Campaign Team. (And yes, that’s the Clipboard Campaign Team, NOT the CCT). Reading through the reports/letters, I’m reminded of a summer guide camp in Essex a zillion years ago when we were sent off to the nearby village to buy our own food to cook. We bought some chicken, but when we got it out of the carrier bag in the tent hours later, sleepy, fat blue bottles crawled out, keeled over and the meat was full of maggots. Those old bluebottles kept appearing this afternoon. The system that failed LB is rotten. And wishy washy ‘shoulds’ ain’t going to change that.