A tale of two letters

I forgot to include a section for the Secretary of State for Health in my previous update post. Sorry. But I suppose this way he gets his own post, almost. It kind of pains me but I have to take my hat off to him. We received a handwritten letter this week in which he wrote about how shocked and sorry he was to hear about LB’s death.

“Nothing I can say can make up for the grief and sadness you and your family will feel at his loss – he was clearly a remarkable and wonderful young man…”

He apologised on behalf of the government and the NHS and said he’ll keep a close eye on the case. He ended by saying “In the meantime may I once again say how terribly sorry I am that this entirely avoidable tragedy happened.”


It’s a letter from a person. Without jargon. Saying it like it is. Thank you Jeremy Hunt.

We also got a copy of a letter from the Trust Chairman, written to my big sis. She wrote handwritten letters to each board member about the way in which Sloven have behaved since LB died. The response goes through the condolence spiel, talks a bit about accepting the findings of the Verita report, misunderstands her point about Slovens behaviour since last July and ends with the following paragraph:


To be fair to the guy, he has changed his position since writing this letter and mentioned during the board meeting this week that the non-execs may not have been as fully informed about everything that has happened as they perhaps should have been. Yep. And he put a stop to this relentless pressure. But setting that aside, what a contrast in the two letters. If there are any lessons to be learned about communicating with families in such terrible, terrible circumstances, I think Jeremy H has nailed it.

Drop the jargon, drop your own agenda, get your pens out and write as one human to another.


The story so far…

After a right old craphole week, thought it was time to briefly summarise where we’re at (as far as I know). In no particular order and focusing completely on process (partly because I’m trying not to think about the big M day* tomorrow):

The police are seeking early advice from the CPS about a possible prosecution. [Keeping us informed and up to date]

NHS England are going to commission an external review into the stuff not covered within the Verita investigation (social care, mental capacity, why LB went into the unit and why no plans were made to discharge him, etc etc.) Time frame six months, terms of reference to be written. The Real David Nicholson (who has now retired and his tweets are blooming hilarious as a result) is responding in writing to the Connor Manifesto. [Keeping us informed and up to date]

Adult Safeguarding Board. Not a dicky bird since our solicitor requested a serious case review last summer. Apparently they are considering commissioning one now which may supersede the above.

Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Chief Exec is going to answer our main question (what have they done since LB died to investigate why they continued to commission provision they historically knew to be inadequate?) by April 4th. A further set of questions (thanks to twitter contributors) will be answered on their website within 20 days. [Since I phoned him this week he is keeping us informed]

Oxfordshire County Council, Social and Community Services. Not a dicky bird. The Director responded to a letter from My Life My Choice this week. In it he says the council check the quality of services every year and lays the blame squarely at the Slovens feet.


What a load of old baloney. Anyway, sounds like the buck is currently bouncing over to Social Care Towers as they are the lead commissioner. [News via twitter]

The Slovens. My lovely big sis attended their board meeting this week in the Hampshire countryside and was swept off her feet with tea, biscuits and Katrina love. She managed to remain razor sharp and has fed back that KP was stopped in her spiel about meeting us by the Chair of the Board. He said their continual pressure on us to meet with them could be seen as pushing their agenda rather than ours and if that was the case, it would be “incredibly insensitive”. Thank fuck for a bit of sense within Slovetown. No other news other than they are under a helluva lot of scrutiny and word on the street is there may be (even more) trouble ahead.

The inquest is delayed until the various investigations are complete.

#107days. Hehe. I know this ain’t part of the official process but blow me down. What a campaign. Absolutely brilliant days so far and so much still to come. A celebration of all things dude spreading so far from Scotland down to Kent, stopping off in Yorkshire with LB buses in Vancouver, (appropriately) by the Statue of Liberty this week and more drawings on our facebook page.

*heading off on the bus to watch Fulham Everton with Rich and Tom in brazenly non M day fashion. Good call by Rich.