Received a response from Simon Waugh (SW), Board Chair, Sloven Health this afternoon. That it came by email is about the best thing I can say about it. Selectively copied in to the cc list (bypassing Katie Razzall, Newsnight and JusticeforLB headquarters).
Brief context: We had questions, Katrina Percy refused to answer them, SW answered them Sept 17 2014. In a really crap way. In such a crap way I arranged to talk with him on the phone (23.9) convinced he wasn’t really up to speed with what was happening under his watch.
The big conversation back in September? A mistake really other than the occasional droplet of insight. We’ve continually shot ourselves in the foot and made ourselves look as incompetent and uncaring as possible. Er, yep. The truth is simple. His care was not what it should have been. Yep. SW also said he’d learned to reflect about being on the receiving end of letters from him in his capacity as Board Chair and think about what it must be like to receive such a letter (does it help or does it widen the gap?). Good stuff. (Though this was in connection with sending my sis a letter meant for another patient, rather than real reflective stuff about the content and meaning of what you write).
Unfortunately, these drops were obliterated by a drill hammer communication style, clearly aided by a set of key points) that looped across the two hour conversation (LB was fab, fit and able, staff forgot he was a patient, Sloven appear crap (but ain’t really) and there are valid excuses (or cliches) for everything). Once the repetition became apparent, it was a really uncomfortable conversation.
A couple of examples of the excuses:
Sloven didn’t dive into the unit to see that the hell was going on when a “fab, fit and able” young man died unexpectedly in the bath [he died?] because the police told them not to. Mmm. Not sure about that SW. How come the CQC could just pitch up and inspect weeks later?
“Well you’re damned if you and damned if you don’t”, was the slightly tetchy non answer. Followed up by a seedy little attempt to lay the beyond appalling CQC failings as having occurred in the six weeks or so after LB died. That pesky cleaner walked out 10 days before the inspection… [at several points during this conversation I wondered if I would experience long term effects from the sickening rage it generated.]
The second example involves the other patients in STATT. SW wrote that “unfortunately” STATT patients were unable to attend LB’s funeral because of “the family’s understandable restrictions on staff attending”. Not true, I said. I explained how we wanted staff not directly related to LB’s care to bring them. Bluster bluster.. SW meant the other patients’ families thought their relatives weren’t in the right mental state to attend. Oh. Why didn’t you write that then? I asked. Puff, huff and puffenstuffen, Dr Ryan. He couldn’t possibly include every line he wanted to include in the letter. It would be impossible.
Another damned if you do and damned if you don’t situ. Clearly.
So, back to today. The emailed reply. First of all he attached the letter sent on Sept 17th for the partial cc list to read. The fudged and fake responses letter. That is pretty crap. He reiterated the fact we’ve refused to meet across two paragraphs. Yep. With regard to staff disciplinary actions apparently the final one is part-heard and will be completed shortly. Mmm. (17 Sept letter “The final hearings for the remaining investigations are scheduled to be completed in the coming weeks”. 23 Sept phone call, staff disciplines will be completed “in the next 2/3 weeks”.) There have been no delays with the second Verita investigation and the incredibly insensitively timed email, sent on 23rd December, wasn’t sent by the Trust’s solicitor. Even though it, er, was.
Wow. Mr Waugh. That stuff about reflecting on letters sent, foot shooting and incompetence (or worse)… ? You got a bit of a waugh to go, I’m afraid.