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].
A 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.