Nearly 16 months now since LB died. 16 long months. Nothing’s happened really in terms of change or accountability. The preventable death of a fit and healthy young man in the ‘care’ of the state. In an NHS unit. In the UK. In the 21st century. A young man who was victim of a system that simply doesn’t recognise learning disabled people as human. Can you imagine?
LB’s death has crushed our lives. The damage caused by 16 months of fighting, campaigning and raging is unknown yet. But given I feel pretty shit on a daily basis, probably substantial. Standing up to an NHS trust that bullies, deceives and demonstrates complete disrespect/disregard for us, is pretty relentless. The Sloves throw money at reputation repair and focus on protecting staff (a selective protection given a staff comment here). The experience, for us (an irrelevant, irkesome family), is the equivalent of a daily battering. An experience documented by other parents like James Titcombe, Anne Dixon, Rosi Reed and siblings like @waketheworld. How can this be?
So where are we at? In no particular order, as always:
- One staff member so far is being investigated by their professional body after a referral we made. Sloven staff disciplinary proceedings are like a stuck record; continually finishing in the ‘next few weeks’ or ‘ongoing’. Shameful, shameful delay and prevarication. The Verita report makes clear individual staff failings. It should not have been our responsibility to do this.
- The Death Review is out to tender and will take 4 months.
- The police investigation is ongoing.
- The second review into LB’s death, covering transition, mental capacity, restraint, why he went into the unit and broader governance issues, is underway by Verita. Due to be completed early next year.
- The pre-inquest review meeting is on November 25th.
- The Slade House site is shut to patients. A problematic silence about what will happen to this prime chunk of land continues. And what is happening to people who would have been admitted to the units there. Nothing like allegedly sweeping in to take over known problematic provision in a different county, allowing it to worsen (till something serious happens), closing it and flogging the land. Nope. Nothing like it.
- On a brighter note… the #LBBill is going at a pace that Sloven should take lessons from (no vimeo in sight). The easy read version of the draft bill is being produced and will be blasted out for discussion in a week or so. Complete energy, commitment and passion.
- The LB Fighting Fund total so far, after remarkable efforts is £24, 267.77. Wow. Wow. Just wow. So many people, many of whom we’ve never met and who never met LB, have contributed to this amount. Just brilliant.
We’re heartened by the remarkable solidarity #justiceforLB demonstrates. We ain’t got a vimeo budget but there are countless people willing to step up and do all sorts at the drop of a hat.