It’s time to raise the curtain

I realise it’s getting close to Christmas so will keep this reflection about the latest Southern Health (SH) report short and to the point. [Er, I badly fail on this. Sorry].

Summary Action Plan by SH in response to the recent CQC inspection is available online. Not sure where exactly online, but it turns up in a search for SH/CQC. The document screams (more) questions for a whole cast of people/organisations and it would be fab if someone, some organisation, would wade in and answer something. It’s getting pretty dull continually flagging this shite up.

Context; the CQC inspection raised terrible issues around patient staff engagement (pretty much none) in the unit LB died in. A unit in which patients lived for months or longer. A lack of therapeutic environment, patients felt fearful/unprotected. A lack of anything really. People locked in and locked up. Ignored. Staff hidden away in an office, filling in forms/audits. Reports of faulty equipment (falsely signed as fully functioning) and issues around dangerous and dirty spaces. SH were referred to the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Board.

Let’s just look at the first couple of sections of this “summary action plan” [which apparently was comprehensive enough for the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Board to no longer need to meet with SH….]

Respecting and involving people who use services. When you’re pulled up for not respecting and involving patients, it isn’t really about care plans (“signage or leaflets”). It’s about engagement. It’s about humanity. It’s about chatting with people, listening to them and understanding them. Learning or being trained in how to “share care plans” is missing the point. Big time.

There is then talk about involving patients in “business planning workshops”? Eh? What business? Patients lives? Does anyone know what business? Or is this a typo?

Care and welfare of people who use services. Again, this bounces straight back to “care plans”. Horrible, bureaucratic bits of paper that dictate what patients can expect. There’s a sweeping statement that clumsily attempts to mop up various layers of failure captured by the CQC report (religious and cultural needs, families and carers and easy read versions). They might well have written: ‘Er, everything we did wrong, we will now do right. Honest.’ Completely meaningless.

This next sentence is breathtakingly astonishing.

We are reviewing the models of nursing care provided across the LD Division. Models of nursing are routinely used and we will continue to work with staff to ensure they are clear in relation to the ones being used.  

Hilarious really. What does this mean? Other than people at SH don’t appear to know what a model of nursing is? I wouldn’t know a model of nursing if it bopped me on the head. But it ain’t my business.  An NHS Trust clearly should.

And so it goes on. Training, training, more policies, more training, more policies, everything is ok now and staff are now being trained to, er, be staff like. Words vomited on a page with no sniff of patients anywhere.

And then it turns out the unit has been closed down. (News that made me cry almost as much as that first morning. We left LB in an NHS setting so poor it was subsequently closed… I can’t get my head around this).

So, where are we at now? Dunno who closed it. Doubt it was SH. They’d righted all those wrongs in about ten minutes. We do know the summary action plan can be binned. Stand down elite, troubleshooting SH team (picture the Hair Bear Bunch). We know that Oxon Safeguarding Board, local authority and Clinical Commissioning Group have serious questions to answer about having (and knowing about) this hellhole under their watch. And SH continues to demonstrate no understanding whatsoever of the provision of health/care for learning disabled people.

Bunch of muppets.


4 thoughts on “It’s time to raise the curtain

  1. They have certainly managed to put the s into care. Scare and welfare, scare plans …. Sending you lots of love, you and LB are never far from my thoughts, even though we have never met x

  2. Nail on head Magi, I’ve yet to see a (s)care plan worth the paper it is written, either as a parent or in a professional capacity. The last few re-hashed for my son haven’t even changed his age or any relevant family circumstances. I read with interest about the role I play caring for my elderly mother, mother-in-law and father-in-law. Father-in-law sadly passed away over 2 years ago! Thinking of you Sara. Xx

  3. It is all so relentless and nothing seems to improve.
    We are dealing with SH at the moment. A LD nurse took it upon herself to arrange for medication to be prescribed for our son while he was in respite. The very medication that our hospital felt had led to his first ever seizure, 2 months ago! We weren’t consulted (despite the Mental Capacity Act) now lots of back covering is taking place. Fortunately the respite service refused to give it to him without speaking to us
    I feel so angry and worried, no accountability, just justification and meaningless retoric.

  4. I read and follow your blog all the time. I have supported and cared for adults and children with learning disabilities since I was 16. I have worked in some lovely and engaging places and also some that despite me trying I could not change. I now manage a service, I intend to go no further up the ladder despite being asked. I work for the people I support, I came into management not because I wanted to be a manager but I wanted to be able to make a good quality life for people that may not be able to make those decisions and choices for themselves and by doing that I needed to be in a position to manage a team to train them in the same way, to listen to people, to find ways to communicate , and to smile and laugh with people. I read your blog and feel so sad there are still places that are not seeing the person they support, and the families that surround them. I make sure I involve all families with support, and get there advice too. I see us as a big team, who all work together …. I so wish you had had that too. I hope you keep fighting to be heard, though it won’t bring LB back it may help others…. I wish you all the best .

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