Discussions over the last couple of days, with Rich, Rosie and others have got me thinking about what’s happened since LB died in terms of (official/professional?) support offered to us. And how if LB had been murdered, died in a road death, mass fatality, or any other ‘critical incident’, we would have had a Family Liaison Officer.
The National Policing Improvement Agency states;
“Family liaison is, without a doubt, one of the most demanding roles performed by the Police Service. It is also one of the most important because it is one of the the most significant relationships that we develop with the families of victims, at one of the most difficult times in their lives”.
The Family Liaison Officer role involves conducting appropriate investigation and the human rights of the family. Acting as “a channel for welfare, occupational health and support”.
Now I don’t know how this works in practice. Maybe it’s shite. But I suspect not. When your child/relative dies a preventable death in the NHS you aren’t a ‘family of the victim’ for several months or years (or ever). Until that ‘preventability’ is established. You ain’t really anything. Even though you’ve experienced the same brutality as any of the criteria above. A brutality that is arguably worse because you thought your child was in a safe space. With people who cared.
So no Family Liaison Officer. To look out for our human rights, and welfare. Instead we were Ieft pretty much alone with varying crapshite communication from the Slovens. We got a letter a week after LB died from the Acting CEO. After running through the distancing “deeply saddened and sorry to hear of the death of your son” (as if it was the last thing she might have any responsibility for), she finished with the meaningless and completely throwaway sentence; “If there is anything we can do to help or support you please do let us know”.
Hi Acting CEO… We’re all kind of falling apart at the seams here and struggling to hold onto anything. Not really in a space right now to think what help or support we might need. In fact, we can’t think of fucking anything other than being forced to think about coffins, clothes, flowers and cremation/burial for our dude who should never have died. Can you even begin to imagine that? Agreeing to switch a machine off that is fakely keeping your child alive? After he’s drowned in a bath in a specialist unit that you are responsible for?
But hey, thanks for the letter.
It was apparent to us from the moment LB died that his death was preventable. But the only support ‘offered’ to us was from an organisation (with others) responsible for his death. How can this model possibly work?
A recent report by the NHS Never Events Taskforce takes a sensible and informed approach to how the NHS should respond to so called ‘never events’. It encourages imaginative forms of ‘restitution’ such as offering practical and therapeutic help. And the importance of making ‘sincere apologies, not what looks like a standard letter from the Chief Executive’. The old Sloves may have an award winning and inspirational Chief Executive (stay classy Health Services Journal/judges) but they don’t half shine when it comes to exemplary ‘how not to treat families when you’ve let their child die’ actions.
But LB’s death didn’t even count as a ‘Never Event’.
It was too never ever for Neverland.