Rosi Reed, mother of Nico, who died nearly two years ago now about ten miles from here, has decided to talk openly about what happened to her beautiful boy. A summary of this has been written by Gail Hanrahan. A terrible, shocking and heartbreaking story. Another wasted life through disregard and indifference. As Gail points out, there are some striking similarities between what happened to Nico and LB. But also striking differences in our respective treatment by the Slovens. These differences underline the complete fakery of the Sloven way. And how they really don’t have a clue.
After the CQC failed inspection of Slade House published in November, Sloven shut one unit rather than improve it and banned baths in the remaining unit. Returning inspectors found a continuing lack of therapeutic environment and staff still locked in offices. Now if like me, you avidly follow the Sloven board minutes, you will be well aware they have a new learning disability action plan (or pathway) they are pretty excited about. They employed some swat team of experts to help develop this plan.
How they can, on the one hand, be developing a ‘plan’, while at the same time leaving known crap provision to remain, er, crap is beyond me. It demonstrates how fake this whole process is. And that’s because it’s all about process and not about people. If they thought, for a second, about the people left to fester at Slade House, their priority would surely be to make improvements there. It ain’t rocket science to provide a therapeutic environment (it’s a treatment and assessment unit with a team of professionals, costing £3500 per week, FFS.)
Fran, our advocate, made a complaint to the Slovens about her son James’ transition meeting recently. This meeting was an absolute shambles. Particularly shocking given James’ horrific experiences in an out of county placement a couple of years ago and that he was meeting one of the psychiatrists involved in LB’s (non) care. Despite LB’s death, despite the CQC inspection findings, despite the presence of the swat team of experts in the vicinity, Fran’s complaint ran to around 26 points. 26.
KP responded personally in a letter which includes seven ‘apologies’, one ‘sincere apology’ and two ‘sorrys’. Given that Fran was pointing out a level of inadequate care that makes you wonder if she’d actually gone to the local sorting office instead of a hospital, the number of apologies was probably warranted. Thirteen action points were produced from this letter. 13.
KP thanked Fran for pointing out these failings. (no words)
Meanwhile, Rosi ain’t been courted by KP. In the response to her complaint about not being informed about the internal investigation into Nico’s death, not being allowed to see the report and having to return Nico’s diaries to the Slovens, KP wrote pages of ‘self excusing prose’ (three personal ‘sorrys’ and one sorry on behalf of another staff member). She included the following recommendations arising through Rosi’s complaint:
Can you imagine receiving this after the death of your child? Does KP have a heart? She writes as though she’s responding to a complaint about milk being left out of the fridge.
Nico doesn’t feature in the Sloven minutes (unlike LB who rose to lead feature in KP’s recent report). An independent inquiry wasn’t commissioned into Nico’s unexpected death. KP wasn’t pulling every trick in the book to meet with Rosi and her family either.
Because till now, Rosi wasn’t making a noise. And that’s how it rolls in the world of learning disability, unexpected deaths and the NHS. You can chuck the candour manual in the nearest skip when push comes to shove. The real process is a quick and dirty internal investigation typically by some close colleague of the unit/ward/home being investigated and not worth the paper it’s written on. What a pile of shite. Particularly when you have a trust as leaky as the Sloven’s, with a Chief Exec who is all about style over substance, awards over decent provision and doesn’t have an ounce of understanding what this experience is like.
So, LB died. Nico died. No staff member has been formally disciplined. The learning disability provision remains shite and failing. CQC and Monitor are regulating. And nothing has actually changed. Rich and I bounce this question backwards and forwards to each other, regularly:
“Er, what do you reckon would have to happen before something was actually done?”
Answers as always, on a postcard. £1 each towards fundraising to cover the legal costs of battling this bunch of muppets. You couldn’t make it up.