The NHS is a right old hot potato at the moment. Current debates remind me of the overly rehearsed tensions between medical/social models of disability. How can the challenges associated with having a particular impairment, or long term condition, be recognised without feeding perceptions of disability as something tragic? Fears that the NHS is under threat of privatisation seem to be stifling any sensible, informed criticism of the way it operates.
Our experience of Southern Health, the NHS provider running the assessment and treatment unit LB died at, has been appalling (not just for the obvious reason but also because of the way they’ve handled the situation since LB died). We’re baffled by this treatment and the silence surrounding it. I don’t know how many posts I’ve written detailing crap stuff after crap stuff, ending with the plea ‘Is someone going to do anything?’ I don’t know who I mean by ‘someone’, but not sure it’s my responsibility to do so. These are publicly funded organisations, for fuck’s sake.
Tumbleweed continues to gather around my pleas, despite discovering that more and more organisations were implicated in what happened. Our MP, lovely guy but completely ineffectual, sent me a letter from the Director of Community and Social Services the other day. A load of flannel; working closely with Southern Health, etc etc. Bland, meaningless drivel. I despise these letters now.
Then, one of the army of enraged ‘lay’ people forwarded me an email exchange with one of the Oxfordshire local authority commissioners. Yes, a commissioner. Let’s call him/her Commissioner X. Read this, weep, and ask yourselves if there is a serious issue with the NHS and the structure of health and social care services in this country.
“It is evident however that the quality of the service at STATT, which had been person centred at the point of transfer to Southern Health in December 2012, deteriorated significantly over the period of time in question and I am very sorry that what was held to be an example of good practice had such a poor report from CQC. I’m afraid we have to hold Southern Health responsible for that deterioration although we don’t say so publicly as we don’t want to knock confidence in such a large provider.”
Commissioner X, our son died in that dump. And I really don’t give a rancid rat’s arsehole if their confidence is dented. It needs denting. Why wouldn’t you openly challenge this? It’s a matter of public interest. And the provision couldn’t have realistically deteriorated to that extent in that time. Nonsense. I’m shocked and ashamed that Southern Health’s dirty little business is being protected by commissioners and the local authority. What a set of deceitful, underhand, shoddy and stupid practices. Lacking in any decency.
I suppose the tumbleweed makes a bit more sense now. I’m giving up asking for anyone to do something now. You’re all a bunch of self serving sheep.