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.
And many of us are reeling from now having to face something we have always dreaded and known. This information has sickened, frightened
and shocked so many and people are looking for someone to take a strong lead. We need a national cross party Government motion that this terrorism
that has wiped out our innocent people will be rooted out and people punished.
This must be given equal attention to any war on terror. Shame on you perpetrators not done in my name.
This is our shame
Our insidious, nasty secret that is very likely nationwide
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Precarious career is consultancy. Quite a lot of it peppered with NHS and LA executives who left their job just before the proverbial hit the fan.
Lots of scrambling for the very big ‘change’ contracts ? Lots of same for lucrative Exec mentoring role: all get very fat fees? There are brilliant examples of execs and consultants who want to work through the ongoing pain needed to improve things;and mentors who work with integrity and honesty to do this.
But cant quite see any return business in some Orgs for consultants etc in this well paid competitive business, when(if!) asked by CE what/where core the problem is, they answered with honesty…’well actually…….. it is you’.
Only those with integrity do this.
The rest carefully keep to the safe margins of feel good; and retain the delusion/comfort zones and ongoing fees. And improve nothing at all.
Can anyone confirm if this is Professor Mohammed Mohammed of Bradford University? Meanwhile, I will email him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask the question.
As for the HSJ, I tried to speak to one of their head honchos, Alastair McLellan (email@example.com) in September this year about his praise of Katrina Percy. He had time to write to me at length but not to talk. He sent me an apologist email instead, which included:
“The piece you refer to is over two years old – since then HSJ has covered extensively the safety and other issues being faced by Southern and Katrina.” The email exchange ended:
CRASH: “Thank you but you had time to write to me: therefore you had time to telephone me.
Please ask your secretary to phone me to arrange a telephone appointment.”
MCLELLAN: I’m sorry [CRASH], but I don’t.
How about telling patients’ stories Alastair: in the interests of balanced journalism. I know from personal experience that ‘balance’ and ‘fierce independence’ were a feature of EMAP between 1968 and 1986 – how things change!
We should not forget that Simon Waugh was Chairman of Sloven for much of the time covered by the Mazars review. Look at his career history this century, firstly at:
In leaving the National Apprenticeship Scheme, it is reported that he emphasised, “His decision to leave was purely motivated by a need to spend time with his family” (where have we heard that one before) and how come he took on another onerous task almost immediately?
With Sloven, it appears to be a hat-trick of being ‘asleep on the job’ and, one might ask, what were the Governors doing appointing a person with this record? They have a lot to answer for too.
A really good analysis of how elites take over the agenda and maintain their power ensuring little really changes. We have to be ever vigilant and point this out. It is our misery and sadnesses that they create and exploit – keep the joy – and trash their ….
What occurs to me here, are deepened feelings of fear.
Those of us who have lost our sons and daughters and/or have seen them slowly become physically and emotionally destroyed, in spite of all our efforts to protect them, from the people set up to serve and to care. We have questioned then challenge/ed ONLY for justice for our loved one and to save other families from the same avoidable fate. And we have ruffled powerful feathers from the outset.
We are the enemy. And we have experienced being seen as such. This fear has walked with us throughout our long search for justice.
This search has involved years of re living the worst agonies imaginable over and over; running salt into to the pain, again and again to people with vested interest to silence us. and frighten us We achieved little bar the ‘we have learned’ (nothing) letter and our own diminished/ing lives and health, And ever deepened often aggressive dismissal from the people responsible for it all.
We are just mums and dads and brothers and sisters etc; bullied, intimidated and offended against for daring to speak up for our vulnerable sons and daughters etc. We are just people
We are just people.
But we may be succeeding. We may now be exposing accountability and responsibilities and linkages up a potentially very murky and powerful chain, And each next threatened link, potentially has even more POWER than the last.
Be afraid, be very afraid?. Or believe that from now JUSTICE will at long last prevail.
Im afraid – Im very afraid. I dont know any longer what justice is 10 years in the Courts has shown me what corruption is and that I am powerless. All you write is true, and it happened. Even if everything changed, which it wont, it happened, and it was made to happen. They all knew exactly what they were doing when the family was declared the enemy POWER over us
It is hugely important to a wider public of course. But will that still be obvious once the spin and obfuscation and hand wringing is done? The vested interests are so powerful and entrenched.
Maybe lots of sympathy and shock from those not directly affected, but how much understanding?
The fixed idea that ill, disabled people die or have a miserable time makes it a bit easy to fudge the real issues here. Express concern, announce enquiries, and not much changes.
One of the big issues here, as you are only too well aware, is the silencing of those of us who do know what is happening. As parents, what we want is the same as every other parent – a chance of an independent life in the adult world. But what we get instead is a pretence of choice and independence that rests in indifference. Two of my daughter’s friends died of the kind of “natural” causes (epilepsy and a neglected infection) that can be so easily brushed aside. I am pretty sure that their parents would not have let that happen. Not too many of our acquaintances are living happy, fulfilled lives under the care of the State – but we, the families, rant pretty much in vain. This has to change, and maybe is, slowly, changing. It is a minor miracle that a report like this exists, and maybe it will succeed in turning over some firmly embedded stones to show what hides beneath.
I sincerely hope the Mazars report will lead to real change in the way people with learning disabilities are cared for and not the usual lip service we have come to expect from the organisations that looked at the Winterbourne View scandal and did nothing.
I sincerely hope that the policitians who sent out identical responses to their constituants who asked them to back the LBBill are now feeling a bit ashamed that they did not take the time to look at what was being asked of them.
Can anyone organise a protest outside the headquarters of Southern Health?
With reference to my reply at December 13, 2015 at 9:56 am above, I have received the following response from Professor Mohammed:
“I am away on leave until after the New Year and therefore will not be able to respond to your email personally until then.”
So I still don’t know if I have the right Professor but (if it is) I wonder if he is on a real holiday or just took leave to help Sloven.
Update for staff on the leaked draft independent review commissioned by NHS England
We wanted to update you on the leaked draft review and thank you all for your hard work and professionalism that you have shown over the past few days.
We are still waiting for NHS England to confirm the date that the final version of the report will be published. As soon as we are made aware of this we will let you know.
We continue to receive a high level of media attention and Katrina Percy gave a short interview to the BBC this morning. This level of media coverage is likely to continue for the foreseeable future and it is likely that you may see camera crews on some Southern Health sites. If you are approached by the media, please contact the communications team using the details below.
It is important to emphasise that the report in the media is not about the quality of care we provide. The report is about the way we investigated, reviewed and recorded deaths of the people that we supported who had a mental health problem or learning disability between April 2011 and March 2015. There is always more we can do to improve and we will be looking closely at the recommendations within the final review to help us do this.
Below is a set of guidance we issued yesterday to help you through this difficult time. Please speak to your line manager or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need anything further.
What to do if you are a member of staff needing additional support
If you are a member of staff who is affected by any of the content within the leaked review or by anything that may be reported in the media, please make sure you speak to your manager or please contact Work Place Options .
We also have a dedicated page on the staff intranet including frequently asked questions, please visit our intranet page (login required).
Speak Up is our confidential and impartial whistleblowing service. Speak Up will listen to your concern, start an investigation, and if action is needed make sure it takes place. You can contact them on 07785 702 179 or email
email@example.com. The lines are open Monday to Friday, 9.00am till 5.00pm but you can call or email at any time and they will get back to you.
What to do if the media approach you
If you do get approached by the media, please direct them to our communications team – 023 8087 4666 or out of hours: 07017 029238.
Media on Southern Health sites
We have had reports of camera crews on some of the Southern Health sites. If you are approached by the media, please tell them to get in touch with the communications team 023 8087 4666 and let that team know.
What to do if you are a member of our front line staff dealing with the people we support and families/carers affected by this leaked draft review
We recognise that as front line staff you need to support the people that you care for and their families/carers, and discuss any concerns they may have with the leaking of this draft review. We have developed the following guidelines to help you with those conversations including the details of a support helpline offering support to anyone who has been affected by this leaked review.
· Assure them that their safety and welfare are of utmost importance to us.
· Reiterate that people who are using our services have no reason to be unduly concerned.
· Offer to review their care plan with their named nurse or key worker, who will be happy to sit with them and go through their plan of care and answer any other questions they may have.
· If necessary, offer to arrange a meeting with the consultant /team leader so they can further discuss any concerns they may have.
Give them the number of our dedicated helpline that has been set up for anyone directly affected by this issue – 0300 003 0025.
I see Sloven is still disclosing only it’s internal whistle-blowing number. In my opinion, it is unsafe – I tested it once. I was asked for my name: then I asked where a disclosure would end up – answer, with Katrina Percy of course – hardly confidential or impartial.
Sloven appears to conceal from its staff truly independent organisations to whom staff can make protected whistleblowing disclosures – for example, the National Audit Office hotline (020 7798 7999) and Sloven’s auditors, PricewaterhouseCooper (0207 212 5983). The latter route was announced by the Department of Health on 17 September 2014. These are extracts:
“A Statutory Instrument, The Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 2014
(S.I. 2014/2418), was laid before Parliament on 10 September and comes into force on 1
October 2014. It is available here:
“The SI updates the list of prescribed persons to whom “a protected disclosure” may be
made by a whistleblower and it now includes auditors of NHS Foundation Trusts. The previous
list of prescribed persons included auditors of NHS Trusts (and other health service bodies).
The Department of Health considers that auditors of both NHS Trusts and NHS FTs should be
Signed Dr Nick P Clarke, Deputy Director, Professional Standards, Department of Health.
The National Audit Office and PwC are very helpful. I can recommend either route.
Funny how Sloven appears to want to supress these routes. It would be helpful if someone couldcirculate them amongst staff.
publication before the house rises would at least allow the families to spend time over Christmas and New Year supported by loved ones in the knowledge the report will receive thorough vetting in 2016. Failure to publish after giving assurances of timing is an act of cruelty.
‘Bodies’ being buried?
This is too big and too noisy to bury. No matter how powerful or expensive the digger or how deep the hole is dug, or how hard the mound is hit with a solid gold spade…….
…… ‘it’ will still be mountain high.
it is one hell of a chorus line to assemble.
17th NHS England Board Meeting am fits snuggly with Christmas recess.
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