Helter skelter times. With the emergence of the key findings of the Mazars review via the BBC this week. Having banged on relentlessly for over two years now, we feel some relief that a wider set of people may be gaining insight into the improbably inappropriate, incompetent and deeply arrogant actions of Katrina Percy (KP), the CEO of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (Sloven), and her merry (board of) wo/men.
Sloven have demonstrated tooth enamel removing disregard for the content of one of the most scandalous reviews to be (almost) published this century. A review that has generated what Graham Shaw has rightly described as ‘a deeply-troubling episode in the history of the NHS’.
As we followed the painfully slow unravelling of the top layers of Sloven ‘leadership’ in the last few days, including a late night statement from KP that made me wonder if some cheeky chapster had hacked the ITV website, doubters and deniers started to appear on twitter. [And in person, as Mark Neary experienced.]
For some reason the Health Service Journal (HSJ) led a paternalistic backlash. Cautioning against anyone paying too much attention to this half baked and strongly challenged review. This may be because the HSJ, like us, had been leaked a copy of the independent review Sloven had commissioned to examine the methodology of the (independent) review into their practices.
[At this stage, you may need a moment or two to;
- Scratch your head with incredulity
- Laugh hysterically
- Get a cold beer from the fridge to cool down your forehead
- Weep at the bottomless pit of money Sloven can seemingly throw at wriggling out of ‘tricky situations’
- Perform some other action to make this completely inappropriate action somehow digestible…]
Sloven commissioned Professor Mohammed* to do a review focusing largely on the ‘outlier’ question. He strongly critiqued the Mazars ‘at best unsatisfactory and, at worst, incompetent’ analysis. Cripes. NHS England had already commissioned an academic to review the full methodology. Their review (of the review) asked for a fuller account of the methods used but otherwise gave it a clean bill of health.
The second group, the belieSHers, without knowing the content of Prof M’s review, believe so strongly in Sloven’s credibility (as an NHS Foundation Trust?) that the ITV statement was all they needed. Sloven said the findings were wrong. There. Sorted. And stop this sensationalist reporting without foundation. Tsk.
Overlapping this group were the disbelievers, including Roy Lilley who drew on his own ‘intelligence’ to suggest strongly that only sections of the half finished review had been leaked by a disaffected Sloven employee. Incredulity was also expressed at the commissioning of Mazars by NHS England. An audit company, FFS. I mean why not commission an independent outfit who understand the healthcare world. Like, er, Verita, I assume… The disbelievers were distinct from the belieSHers as they snarled at us to publish the review. They at least seemed prepared to accept that a robust review existed.
Finally, there were the conspiracists. Jezza Hunt had orchestrated the leaking of this review as part of his wider privatisation plot. How could there possibly be so much news coverage and an Urgent Question in the Commons on such an issue, in such a short space of time? Wow. Like Sloven, a complete disregard for the content of the report.
These positions were contradictory, sometimes extreme and ill informed. For once we were able to step back and (almost) park the swearing, rage and frustration we’ve experienced and articulated for over two years since LB died. [Howl]. And calmly reply, over and over and over again;
The review is robust. It is complete. We have a final copy. We don’t know why it still isn’t published.
The trouble is, the responses above (including Sloven’s position) make visible the typical excusing and acceptance, even expectation, of shortened lives for some people. They point to accepted processes and practices of a publicly funded health and social care system that consistently discriminates against and excludes certain ‘types’ of people. And when these people die ‘unexpectedly’, a discounting of their deaths.
That there were three days of headline news and sessions in both the House of Commons and Lords on the back of the headline findings of a leaked report, suggests that that the findings of this review are hugely important to the wider public. Outside of the doubters, deniers and belieSHers who, well what do you know… are all firmly embedded within the healthcare world.
The review will be published this week.