Just a few rambling thoughts about the latest news, schmooze and misery to emerge this week. On Saturday news broke (in the most low key news breaking way possible) of alleged ‘bullying’ at a small residential school for learning disabled children run by a provider, MacIntyre, in Wales. Saba Salman provides a summary of this story here.
Abuse Bullying at any provision for learning disabled people, particularly children, you’d think would be ‘news’ post Winterbourne.
Particularly if the CEO of the provider involved is the new lead of the Winterbourne Joint Improvement Programme (JIP). But the link wasn’t made.
NHS England also published the latest dismal stats/update around the JIP. No words really. I suspect some of the people involved must be looking back and thinking “Why the fuck did we call ourselves a concordat?”
Good intentions I’m sure at the heart of this group/concordat. At the same time I’m getting a bit uncomfortable about the constant waving of the ‘Winterbourne’ flag. Particularly given the abuse and neglect identified at STATT, Piggy Lane, Evenlode and now Womaston (the latter run by a very respected provider). Consistently referring back to one particular moment among so many is a bit self defeating really. I say this without wanting in any way to detract/play down the utter horror experienced by the patients/families at Winterbourne View.
The link between Bill Mumford and the school was made on twitter on Sunday. Today he issued a heartfelt personal statement; Doing the right thing. Action has clearly been taken, the police are involved, etc etc etc. Etc with bells on.
What’s the problem with this?
Well this really:
And what this means.
How long does it take to approve a personal statement about abuse discovered in March? By a concordat who, er, have seemingly achieved little else? In a timely fashion, the JIP approved the statement two days after it almost became news.
I’m confused/alarmed about the ‘power of the process’ in instances of horror involving state organisations to keep things secret. What we could and couldn’t (and can’t) say about LB’s experiences seems to be mediated by the spectre of various processes that lie ahead (the police investigation/the inquest). What this really means is a bit of a mystery really.
Now that BBC Wales has reported the allegations at Womaston, the publishing of statements by MacIntyre and Bill Mumford suggest that the secrecy aspect is a little bit contrived.
Another interpretation to the above is that there was a bit of (explicit or implicit) wishful/hopeful thinking that the link between Bill and the school wouldn’t be made. That a bit of
abuse bullying at a small school in Wales would be largely ignored by the media. Not an outlandish wish in the circumstances. Again, quite possibly with the ‘best intentions’ in line with concordat aspirations. Not rocking a rocky boat and all that.
A third interpretation is that the workings of top level dealings in this area are so infused with incompetence that reaction rather than action is the norm. The old procrastination model.
I don’t know which of the above fits the Bill, if any. But I hope, if I was anything to do with a concordat (sigh), and/or head of a leading light provider and
abuse bullying happened on my patch, I’d shout from the rooftops about it. To alert the whole shebang (people, families, commissioners, providers, NHS England, local authorities, social workers, teachers, support workers, clinicians, health professionals, whoever) that this shite happens. And if it can happen in my blinking state of the art (in the context) organisation, it could happen in yours.
It’s time to cut the crap, whatever shape that takes. These are people’s lives we’re talking about.