Blunt instruments, drafts and darkness

So the Trust are sticking to ‘the report will not see the light of day’ hardline. Goose-stepping across transparency and duty of candour. Someone commented last week that ‘sunshine is the best disinfectant’ but the shutters are clearly drawn tight at Southern Health Towers.

They aren’t covering up, apparently, and accept “duties to be honest, open and candid but…” An old mate of mine said years ago that a ‘but’ in the middle of a sentence means ‘what I’ve just told you is a pack of lies and here comes the truth…’ I don’t know if there’s any evidence to support this but the Trust has to balance transparency with duties of confidentiality to patients and staff. Basically, a cover up then.

A brief rattle through the latest ‘keep the report secret’ reasons…

We [the family] only have a draft copy and “it would be entirely inappropriate for a draft that [staff] have not had chance to comment on to be released into the public domain.” (Southern Health’s main preoccupation, after their reputation, is staff. Providing good care? Feelings of bereaved families? Forget it.)

The duty of confidentiality to “CS” stick is waved again. The way in which the Trust is suddenly championing his rights is sickening. After abusing them in so many ways when he was alive.

Then there’s the Data Protection Act 1998.  Such a small unit so very difficult to stop the identification of staff. The report isn’t actually about who was where, doing what when LB died. It’s about how someone could die in such a setting with pretty much one to one care. It shouldn’t be kept out of the public domain because it happened to be a small unit. It should never have happened in such a small setting.

Again there’s the nonsensical statement that staff took part in the investigation on the basis that it was for the purposes of learning within the Trust. Please ditch this Enid Blyton depiction of staff/employer relationships which is vomit inducing.

  • If staff were as compliant as you suggest, why the fuck weren’t they doing their job properly?
  • Staff don’t have ‘a choice’ about taking part in investigations when a patient dies unexpectedly.
  • There’s a demonstrable carelessness with ‘truth’ in the draft report.
  • Staff didn’t have a problem telling the CQC inspection team what they thought a few weeks earlier. With the knowledge that the CQC inspection would be made public.

Then there’s the ‘making the report public will prejudice future investigations’ line. Something so fucking flawed and nonsensical I can’t be bothered to unpack it again.

Reading these arguments is like fingernails screeching on a blackboard. Pathetic and contrived.

Drum roll for the big finale… over to ‘their client’s’ solicitor:

Finally, having carefully considered the criteria under Schedules 2 and 3 of the DPA [Data Protection Act], the Trust does not consider that the disclosure is necessary in order to achieve any of the listed purposes. Notwithstanding the above, the Trust is conscious of its duties to be open, frank and candid. It does recognise that there is some public interest in ensuring that serious incidents are investigated and that lessons are learnt.

To this end, the Trust proposes to prepare a summary of the investigation findings (once finalised) that will be published on its website. It is anticipated that this will be published alongside an explanation as to how any recommendations will be implemented. We hope that this suggestion will satisfy the family’s concerns.

Fucking hilarious. A Southern Health Summary. Here, I’ll save you a job;



LB and Bess. October 2012

15 thoughts on “Blunt instruments, drafts and darkness

  1. Sara I am so sorry that they continue to keep up this feckin charade with you and your family’s loss. Am I correct in understanding that it will become public at the inquest anyway? Their actions are so ridiculous now, they remind me of a toddler hiding behind a chair with their eyes shut, just hoping they’ll not be ‘caught’ having drawn on the wall….except they’re grown ups so should know better. Of course that toddler would have a melt down and try to explain why they did what they did, SH appear to still be on the floor in floods of crocodile tears (for their poor staff no less, not for your gorgeous LB), stamping their feet, hoping the rest of us….you, your support team, the general public will just get bored and sod off.

    Know that we won’t Sara, that this is more than just about LB, or your amazing family, know that they’ve made this personal and every, single, time they try to cover themselves a bit more, they are just providing fuel for those of us who want them to stand up, take responsibility and apologise, genuinely apologise. We’re there for you, to witness LB’s life, and also to ensure that enough of a stink is made that they can’t just keep covering it up. There have to be some real consequences when mistakes happen, especially when they involve the most vulnerable members of our society who have been left as a ‘death from natural causes’ afterthought for too long.

    Sorry this is so long, it woke me up and got me a little angry!! Thank you so much for blogging and sharing this charade with the rest of us. You know where we are x

    • Stinks … Just stinks …. Can smell it from here. They dig the hole deeper and deeper but they can’t be allowed to hide in it. The bottom line is the staff should be held accountable – however many that involves. I certainly wouldn’t want any one of them ‘caring’ (!) for my son and nor would anyone else familiar with your tragic experience. In a Unit of only 5 staff you KNOW what the other staff are doing and are in a position to do something about it if it involves bad practice in any shape or form.
      Can we start an online petition or would this jeopardise the cause?
      Stay strong, keep blogging, no one is going away, we’re all behind you, for LB and all the Dudes. Love Jenny xxx

      • Oops George I must have hit the wrong box too soon and it has been posted as a reply to you! I was going to add an extra note to you to say that I used the word ‘stinks’ as soon as I started reading Sara’s notification on my blackberry when I woke up. Then saw your reply when I switched to ipad, which is easier to reply on. But it really is the only word isn’t it? Do you think Southern Health are reading this blog? I sincerely hope so! Xx

    • I think that’s the case George (about the inquest) or rather I thought it was the case but now I’m not sure. All bets are off with this bunch of muppets. We are so glad we have such staunch and consistent support. Makes a difference, xx

  2. Dear Southern Health (I’m sure you are scrutinising this blog daily) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, why do lessons need to be learned in your trust as to how to not let a vulnerable person with a history of epilepsy die in a bath? If you didn’t already know this, you should not be providing healthcare.

  3. Sara – legally, where is this? I mean, what does your solicitor say re publicity, etc it’s complicated so sorry if you already spelt this out. Angela xxx

    • Legally I think it’s tricky to say too much before the inquest but the report itself should (should) go to the coroner and could be made public beforehand. If Southern Health weren’t being arses. I think… Allegedly….xxx


    It 12.33pm and I’m waiting for the police to arrive and interview my adult son [autistic] for, shall I say an ”alleged” assault …which has resulted in numerious operations… though the LA have bullied me – producing reports full of red herrings and stone walled me ”MY VOICE WILL BE HEARD” and I will not be silenced ……

    Why can’t you name the staff, why should there needs be put before you and your family……….. ‘Lessons have to be learnt’ – what lessons – how to manipulate & safeguard the professional and box the family off…..the staff will go back to there nice comfortable life with all their children alive and well…….. while Sara struggles to put one foot in front of the other………

    South Health are putrid – they are morally rotten and corrupt……. you have my support Sara – Solidarity to you and your family. Publish the report and fuck them….

    I apologise for the cursing to every parent who reads this – to South Health ”take it on board”

  5. I never met LB, but he lives so vividly in the posts on your blog, Sara. Yet the posts can only show a tiny fraction of his sparkle and brilliance. We get a glimpse, and realise there was so much more. It seems like officialdom is determined to reduce all his colour and depth to flat black and white, overlaid only with murky shades of grey.

    In the interests of trying to help keep the murk out, may I offer:
    General Medical Council: “Good Medical Practice (2013)”
    71. There are circumstances in which you should disclose relevant information about a patient who has died, for example:
    ………… (f) when a parent asks for information about the circumstances and causes of a child’s death
    Access to Health Records Act 1990: Clause 3 Right of access to health records.
    (1)An application for access to a health record, or to any part of a health record, may be made to the holder of the record by any of the following, namely—
    …………… (f) where the patient has died, the patient’s personal representative and any person who may have a claim arising out of the patient’s death.

    I know that none of this recognises the reality of LB and the vital, moving, interactive, reciprocal nature of your shared lives. I wish there were an obvious way to smash this barrier of dullness and opacity – to let LB’s rainbow light refract, reflect and spread through the shattered fragments, to illuminate the dark corners that his and others’ lives get shoved into.

    Sunlight. Sonlight.

  6. How can SH (who should also be known as Shush or Shhhh) expect you to respect their organisation and their staff when they let this happen to your child?
    I cant believe it.

  7. No one can respect people like this or organizations who let this happen if I went in the street and killed somebody I be arrested no difference!

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