Nico Reed’s inquest concluded yesterday. With the coroner making what appears (to a completely lay law person) an important statement. He overturned two of his own rulings to rule (re-rule?) that Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights was engaged on facts of Nico’s case. I’ll leave it to Lucy Series to kick off early thoughts about this and focus instead on what I do know something about.
The legendary Phil Gayle (and team) who had Sloven’s director of social care on their show today. Another Phil. Phil Aubrey Harris. A brief summary/set of notes/important points here from the discussion.
Money, morality and humanity
Apparently 20 minute checks written in a care plan are a guide. Not something that must happen. With a few people to be looked after by one member of staff “there is an inevitability that those checks are unlikely to be maintained“.
There is (considerable) jiggery pokery in Sloven practice around hindsight and foresight. The necessity of frequent checking only apparently recognised ‘in hindsight’ (ie. after someone dies) despite being clearly stated in a care plan.
Care plans therefore characterise ‘ideal type’ situations. The 20 minute check is something that should happen if resources weren’t a consideration. Because resources clearly are, this foresight/hindsight distinction leaves a pretty murky area around regulation/inspection. It’s difficult to observe the acting out of a care plan. Especially in the early hours of the morning.
“Just help me out here, as a lay person, as someone who might one day have to use a unit like this, for someone I love...” said the wondrous PG wrestling with this gulf between care plan and practice.
“It’s a guide“, says other Phil. “Based on individual needs, blah blah de blah…”
“Was one member of staff to those four patients sufficient?” PG returned to, with a hint of impatience.
“I think it probably was“, said other Phil.
Eh? The coroner rules that Nico’s death was possibly preventable because he should have been checked more regularly, but the staffing ratio was sufficient?
And there were other risks associated with Nico’s care.. said the Gman, without missing a beat.
Oh yes. These were known about. “There were plans in place within Nico’s support plans to acknowledge those risks and to mitigate them”.
Pah. You lost me. Is a support plan different to a care plan? Is a support plan actually acted on? Does anyone know what they’re talking about here?
The Gman moves on to ask whether things are going to change in response to what happened to Nico.
There follows a remarkable but largely unintelligible statement that seems to suggest (on the third listening) that Sloven are now determined that if they ain’t properly resourced by commissioners/local authorities to provide the level of care necessary “we wouldn’t take those [packages of support] on without some sort of challenge with the assessment teams or some sort of local authority or local authorities or whoever it is who is funding those packages”.
My half arsed interpretation: Don’t blame us for the crap care we provide on the pennies you’re willing to spend. Or, we’re happy to rake in the spondoonies to provide ‘care’ on a shoestring until something catastrophic happens. And then, ex-cer-use-me. Don’t come banging on our door…
Overloading the person to staff ratio at minimum cost (thereby erasing any consideration of a life that has a sniff of fulfilment, contentment, enjoyment, achievement or productivity) as common practice until an NHS or private provider is dragged under the spotlight. And then offering a half arsed ‘you should have coughed up more’ defence.
What a sordid, sad and shameful situation.
In the final minutes of the interview, the Gman asks why Nico’s family were not told about the circumstances of his death for over a year. More bluster. The Gman, clearly affected by what he’s hearing says;
“With respect, other Phil, you use the phrase ‘with the benefit of hindsight a lot and you use it about decisions that anyone else would regard as common sense..'”
He nails it here. Common sense engagement with an extraordinary situation. Stripping away ‘learning disability’ and engaging with what has happened at a human level. Drawing on common sense. On everyday stuff. That we can all relate to.The Gman called it today. As his show has consistently done in relation to LB.
Until people can chuck away their blinkering lenses of learning disability, ‘challenging behaviour’ and other labels, we ain’t going to get anywhere. We are talking about people, experiencing situations that if they weren’t labelled as ‘learning disabled’ would be called out in a multitude of ways.
And Sloven. As ever, you are fucking shit.