Since LB died, quite a few journalists have contacted us. We’ve referred em to our solicitor, Charlotte, and kept our heads down. Charlotte spoke on our behalf a couple of times on ‘You and Yours’ on Radio 4. This felt like luxury. She was calm, confident and informed. With the report due to be published we knew we couldn’t continue to avoid some sort of media engagement. Not if we want action.
‘You and Yours’ asked us to be interviewed about LB and
STATT (redacted) this week. Pre-recorded. The Chief Exec of Sloven was allegedly going to be live in the studio. Ok, we thought. Gotta be done.
It turned out Rich couldn’t do the allotted time as he was teaching. So I went to BBC Oxford yesterday afternoon. Dreading it. I’m happy to teach, give papers at conferences but talking on national radio about LB’s death? Eurgh. Serena, a cheerful and sensitive, broadcast journalist (first one I’ve met) (broadcast journalist that is), took me to a small, windowless room on the third floor (or 2nd floor), talked me through what would happen and left. I sat with a set of headphones on. And started answering questions from Winifred, in Salford. (Bit familiar to call her Winifred but it was a bizarre situ).
Awkward, uncomfortable and kind of excruciating. When it was over (about 20 mins) I sat there. Not knowing if I was supposed to press a button to hang up. There wasn’t a phone or anything. ‘Eurgh,’ I thought.
Serena pitched up and took me to the ground floor for a cheeky BBC Radio Oxford interview. We agreed if it was crap she’d bin it. She’d read the report, been part of the social media wait-athon on Monday before the report was published and obviously understood the key issues. She asked an unscripted set of searching questions. Much easier.
This morning we listened to Phil Gayle give the Sloven Medical Director a bit of a hammering (around 1 hr 7 mins, available for a week). When he said, in relation to the CQC inspection in November, ‘… and it’s staggering to those of us outside that a young man can die in a hospital, in a medical unit, and no improvements be made. She [his mum] said to us how could this happen and how could his death not be a flag that something was wrong?’… we kind of cheered and made a note to sign up to the Phil Gayle fan club.
Lunchtime it was ‘You and Yours’. My interview first. Halfway through the programme. A few minutes of eurgh. Then Winifred.
“We invited the Southern Health Trust to come on the programme. They didn’t want to. They sent us a statement…”