My incredulity barometer has crashed this afternoon. Revisiting Sloven actions since LB’s death. A letter from Katrina Percy dated 5.12.13. Freshly back from maternity leave as she sensitively mentioned. Assuring us that the investigation into LB’s death (by Verita) will be thorough and transparent and the findings openly shared with us.
Fast forward a few weeks to discussion about publication of the Verita review. Transparency my arse. The report was not to be published. Reasons? To avoid a breach of Connor’s confidentiality, to protect staff, to not prejudice ongoing staff disciplinary actions and to not prejudice future investigations because staff wouldn’t be so “free and frank” in providing their views if they’d known the report would be published. The email from Sloven’s solicitor detailing all this ends with the classic statement:
Notwithstanding the above, the Trust is conscious of its duties to be open, frank and candid [hahahahahaha]. It does recognise that there is some public interest in ensuring that serious incidents are investigated and lessons are learned. [Gnaw…] To this end, the Trust proposes to prepare a summary of the investigation findings that will be published on its website.
This was pretty staggering at the time. A Sloven written summary of an independent investigation. The report was eventually published with all names and job titles redacted. Making for tricky reading in places.
Since then, of course, we’ve had LB’s inquest. In which those staff still represented by Sloven’s legal team (they were culled like flies as the inquest drew nearer) produced witness statements including sections about their ‘relationship with Dr Ryan’. [An astonishing erasure of all other family members]. For example;
I did not speak to her very much other than saying ‘hello’. I had seen Dr Ryan shouting at a consultant and I did not want to experience that. I was scared of her. She was a bit different.
These were distressing to read especially as I thought I’d got on well with these staff. The student nurse above always took time to fill us in on what LB had been doing and how he’d been. ‘Hello’? Reassuringly staff were honest enough to simply bat away these questions during the inquest. Scared? Nah, I respected her. And so on.
We’re left feeling sickened and shocked to the core by these dirty dealings (by an NHS organisation…) An organisation whose actions point solely to a concern with reputation management. Fakery around staff protection. As for us, LB’s family. How did we feature in Sloven’s considerations? How did they try to make sure the process was sensitively and decently handled? To ease the inevitable pain and distress we would experience? Mmm. This can be captured by this extract from meeting notes in which I was mentioned. [A meeting to discuss publication of the Verita report that clearly showed that LB’s death was preventable…]
They didn’t even begin to try.