Some factoids (LB loved Steve Wright):
- I’ve not named any member of STATT staff on this blog.
- We’ve not, in our lengthy and tortuous campaign for justice, made it about individuals (other than the board chair/CEO who really are/should be where the buck stops).
- Until we know the outcomes of the staff disciplinary processes, we will not know whether we should refer staff members ourselves (in addition to the person we referred after being told s/he had left the country).
- Candour, transparency and honesty are big themes in the post-Francis, post-Keogh, post-Kirkup new NHS world.
- A journalist, not Sloven, told us last week that, 21 months after LB died, the disciplinary actions were complete.
And Sloven haemorrhoids: NHS England today told us that Sloven will not provide information on the specific disciplinary actions taken in relation to staff. All we can be told is this:
As discussed, I wanted to share with you some information regarding the conclusion of the STATT unit disciplinary process, and would be grateful if you could share this information with Sara Ryan:
Disciplinary processes for staff at the STATT unit have now concluded with appropriate disciplinary action being taken and relevant professional bodies being informed. The processes took a longer than we would have wished for several reasons, including:
1. A series of internal and external investigations took place, each one prompting a halt to the disciplinary processes to ensure that all relevant information could be considered. Indeed external investigations are still underway; a decision was taken to proceed as further delays were unacceptable.
2. Cases were frequently delayed as we awaited the return to work of staff members who were on sickness leave and upon whose statements each disciplinary case relied.
3. There were scheduling issues around ensuring staff had adequate representation from their staff side bodies.
4. At various points through the process staff or their staff side representations raised grievances or challenges that staff were not having fair hearings due to the media and social media attention being given to the STATT unit (which also was often given as the reason for staff absence) These challenges needed to be resolved prior to proceeding with disciplinary hearings.
Despite these genuine reasons, the Trust is committed to re-examining this process to consider what might have been done differently, as there is no doubt the resultant delays have added to the distress felt by all parties. The Trust is working with Staff Side bodies, our Director of Nursing and other parts of the NHS to consider such delays could be avoided when several staff are subject to disciplinary action at the same time within one working area.
Best wishes …
Blimey. Where to start? Just for now some initial thoughts:
- 1 and 3 are non excuses/examples of incompetence/poor organisation and leadership. These investigations began 9 months after LB’s death and any of these issues could and should have been anticipated.
- As 1. above, I’m not sure staff disciplinary actions are typically delayed because of media attention. This too should have been anticipated (and was, given the blog briefing circulated a day after LB’s death).
- Seems as plausible that staff absence would relate to an endless staff disciplinary process as much as discussions about the STATT unit (which closed in 2013) on social media.
- How do we know any action has actually happened*?
- Should it be up to Sloven to decide what is ‘appropriate’ action in the circumstances?
- If no further info about these disciplinary processes is forthcoming, do we now have to refer pretty much everyone (including the CEO and Board Chair)?
- Might this bizarre level of secrecy be related to an end game attempt to ‘frame’ one or more staff members for what happened?
- Do Sloven know what an ‘outcome’ is?
- Was this NHS Change Day [cough cough] pledge, made by a senior Sloven staff member less than a week ago, a complete load of billy bullshite?
- Is this really how the NHS want to (or be seen to) respond to a family whose 18 year old son was allowed to drown, unsupervised in the bath, in specialist learning disability provision?
So many thoughts/questions. #JusticeforLB is a vanguard (joke) movement using social media to try to redress the toxic power differentials that can exist within the NHS when it comes to responding to catastrophic occurrences. We have been, and are, enormously reasonable with our ‘demands’. Despite extraordinary and consistent provocation, delay, obstruction and deceit, we have remained pretty measured. We have worked our socks off, we have met with various relevant organisations and contributed a Justice shedload to the mouldering, stale and faction ridden space of post-Winterbourne View learning disability provision/organisation, for nothing. ‘Fresh air’ has been mentioned numerous times in relation to our campaign, which has also been recognised and remarked upon by various influential people (which we thoroughly appreciate). And yet Sloven continue to demonstrate behaviours/actions that characterise the worst of vintage NHS.
*Just to be clear here, we are in no way arguing for any naming or shaming of individual staff members. Simply that the process is followed transparently.