At that first pre-inquest review meeting, back in the day, Sloven’s legal team tried to narrow the focus of LB’s inquest with their infamous natural death statement. In addition, they argued the various ongoing reviews into what happened meant that broader issues were being investigated.
This list of reviews included (quote):
Investigations by a number of professional regulators, including the GMC and NMC, following referrals from a number of sources.
Wowsers, we thought. Have Sloven souped up the slowest staff disciplinary process on record? (19 months and still waiting…*) A number of sources? Who? We referred one staff member but other sources?
We found out eventually (today, nearly two months later) that, er, it was just the
one two professional regulators. And one two staff members. One referred by us and one (a member of staff who had left) referred by Sloven. Blinky blonky blimey. Really? Trusts and their trusty, publicly funded, legal teams can submit made up rubbish to coroners? How the fuck does that work?
Well clearly in direct contradiction to Simon Hughes’ nonsensical argument on Radio 4 last week that inquests are family friendly, cuddly, inquisitorial gigs. And families most definitely need no legal representation. Tsk. ‘No no no‘ says Mr Hughes. Waggling his finger vigorously at bereaved families.
It turns out that Bevan Brittan, Sloven’s solicitors, openly promote their expertise in ‘inquest management’. They’ve even got a handy little ‘Avoiding a Coroner’s Rule 43 report at an inquest‘** article allegedly aimed at beleaguered Trusts caught on the hop letting pesky patients experience serious harm or worse on their watch.
An extract from their website:
Inquest management. Managing witnesses. Statement taking. Management at the inquest.
My brain (what’s left after 19 months of intense and unremitting grief and a full on battering by everything I naively/stupidly held to be ‘good’), kind of melts at this point. How can an inquisitorial process need management by an ‘Interested Party’?
LB died. He drowned in a bath. In a place in which he should, if nothing else (because there was nothing else) have been safe.
As simple as.
That we are being forced, seemingly deliberately slowly through a shite coated, beyond unfair and punitive system, is inhumane. To discover that Sloven’s legal team can apparently trot out lies, in a public hearing, without sanction, is…?
Dunno. We’re out of words.
*For a Trust that has consistently positioned the well being of their staff over us and other patients at the unit, they don’t half treat them like shit too.
**A serious and reputation damaging knuckle rapping report.
[Update 27.1.15 I made an error in that Sloven had referred a member of staff, but not sure this changes much of the above].