In a superlative moment of classiness, the OCC Director of Social Care sent me a red flagged email at 5pm this evening with a revised version of his shoddy little review. And responses to my concerns.
Yep. 5pm on a Friday evening. I hadn’t had a bad day up to then really. I had an emergency appointment at the dentist because my tooth cracked the other day. No big deal in the toxic world of trying to get accountability from public bodies. I then worked at home reading a thesis and catching up on other tasks. Halfway through reviewing a book chapter (deadline today/ironically about social media use) the email pinged in. End of that review. Instead the typical and now familiar deeply intense rage, frustration, bewilderment and distress.
LB died. He’s dead.
Why the fuck are we dealing with shite still?
[Brief background to the review; OCC commissioned an external consultant without telling us. They sent the review to Verita. Verita said we should see it. OCC emailed it without warning back in March. Under duress I identified the inaccuracies.]
The only good thing I can say about this latest documentation is that a potential PhD student now has more ‘riches’ to pore through and analyse in trying to understand the workings of public bodies under challenge.
The revisions to the original report? Extraordinary.
A few examples…; SR says x, y or z but “there is no record on file to this effect”. “There is no file record of that contact. SR advises that it took place.” “The Care Manager arranged a further visit on 31st August to meet CS, but the records indicate that this was cancelled by the family but SR has advised that she asked for the meeting to be rescheduled, which is not recorded on the file.” He even states there must have been two meetings on one day because I said the care manager wasn’t present and the record says she was.
What is actually happening here? Why do ‘records’ trump what happened? Apparently there is no ‘record’ that I waited in all day for a visit from the care manager who was a no show. Parents/families now responsible for making sure social services keep accurate records…
What makes these partial, half arsed and biased ‘records’ the ‘truth’? I asked OCC to look at the different interpretations of one afternoon where the OCC ‘recorded’ version was sanitised off the planet. My blog presented an alternative description of an afternoon etched in my brain.
Completely misunderstanding my point, the response today was;
SR has recorded a different perspective on her internet web log. Having reflected on the implications of this comment, I have added a recommendation to my report that OCC provide guidelines to staff, service users and the public that postings on web based social media are not part of the case management or complaints and comments procedures. I do not consider it appropriate to comment on a social media posting.
There is a clear issue here that public bodies don’t get social media and see it as something threatening. Which it isn’t and shouldn’t be. [This was in evidence earlier today. Sloven while hosting a shindig for their learning disability/mental health staff started blocking campaigners on twitter when challenged about inaccuracies (or simply asked questions)].
I’m not claiming my version of what happened that afternoon is more ‘truthful’ or that local authorities/NHS Trusts should be looking for clues about their patient care on blogs or social media. I’m saying that ‘official records’ are not infallible. They are created by people. Like this blog is. Or any other account of something. It’s ludicrous, short sighted and problematic to only accept what is written in a particular space, by a particular ‘professional’, as ‘truth’. As the revisions of this craphole report demonstrate.
I suspect part of the (sustained/tooth shattering) battering we are getting from Sloven and OCC is due to our use of social media. The ‘records’ are under threat. Emails/tweets/posts contradict and challenge official versions. We’re shining an unwelcome light on stuff that has probably gone on in darkness for years. And doing things the ‘wrong way’.
You can’t shout down, bully, deny or try to ignore what is perfectly legitimate challenge to a system that is steeped in wrongness. A wrongness recognised by those beyond LB’s family or friends. To try to do so is to show contempt for democratic processes. For basic human rights.
The only way there will be any resolution – not for us because that clearly ain’t going to happen – is for NHS Trusts, local authorities, regulators, the Department of Health, government, etc, to embrace the use of social media. To engage with patients, people, constituents and use these interactions as a resource. Something valuable and insightful, not something to be feared. Something to build on, work together and thrash through challenges, obstacles, difficulties…
As much as OCC, Sloven and others may resist or dislike it, the future is the internet web log.