Chairs, ships and learning journeys

I keep meaning to write something about the money Sloven spent on legal representation to defend their reputation during LB’s inquest. My Life My Choice received this information from the Sloven Board Chair earlier this week. £300,000 apparently. £300,000. And we are to blame. Yep.

But as always a new bit of Sloven crap is always around the corner. Tonight this included a reply to my painstakingly written letter (emphasis on the pain) to the Council of Governors (which is chaired by the Board Chair) from the Board Chair. [I know]. Here it is, with my thoughts in bold.

Dear Dr Ryan and Mr Huggins

Thank you for providing me with a copy of your letter to the Council of Governors of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. Firstly can I take this opportunity on behalf of the Board, Council of Governors and the Trust as a whole to unreservedly apologise for the actions that caused the death of your son, Connor, and the hurt that you have been put through since that time.

It’s worth returning to Ally Roger’s superb undergrad dissertation here. Ally talks about passive sentences which are constructed to show no one is responsible. She says such manipulations of participant responsibility may or may not be deliberate. ‘The actions’ and ‘the hurt that you have been put through’ used here suggest that the Board Chair ain’t really taking ownership of the flourishing apology he offers. 

Connor’s death was preventable and this is accepted by the Trust and we are truly sorry that he died.

I’m dunno why we keep hearing this ‘accepted by the Trust’ line. A more heartfelt ‘We know LB’s death was preventable and happened because we failed to look after him properly. We take full responsibility for his death’ is more appropriate. Where does ‘accept’ come from? It’s so grudging, particularly when it was bleedingly obvious from the second it happened that LB should never have died [Howl]. Such peculiar and upsetting phrasing. I don’t doubt the truly sorry bit here which is owned of course. They must rue the day really given everything that’s unfolded.

In your letter you refer to the Mazars ‘review of deaths of people with a Learning Disability or Mental Health problem in contact with Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust’ recently published.

So the only point picked up by the Board Chair in his response to my lengthy and detailed letter is the Mazars review. Wow. All the other stuff, like the upset and distress caused to our kids by the actions of staff during the inquest (and the content raised during that two weeks) just dismissed.  The focus, as ever, on the reputation stuff. 

It is worth putting on record that the Trust accepts the recommendations contained within the report. We fully accept that the quality of processes for investigating and reporting a patient death required improvement.

The hole digging just gets deeper and deeper. Putting on record? Eh? The Mazars review clearly details the extent of failings. The pre-publication challenges were dismissed. Sloven cocked up. No one (well outside of Monitor/CQC/Dept of Health) is asking if Sloven ‘accept’ the findings. This repeated positioning can only demonstrate how deeply dysfunctional the organisation of the ‘NHS’ is. 

As the report observes there is a lack of clarity across the health and social care system regarding which agency should investigate deaths of patients in the community where they are being seen by a number of different health and social care organisations and we are keen to see clearer protocols put in place.

And bam. Straight back into their already familiar refrain; ‘We ain’t the only ones who allow people to die early and cover up their deaths…’ A truly rancid position. Underlining how this bunch learn nothing. How anyone responsible for such scandalous failings can turn round and say ‘Well, other trusts are just as bad’ makes me weep. For so many reasons. 

Such a morally, ethically and professionally impoverished argument. And for this, if nothing else, the Board and CEO should stand down. 

[One question I think about is what can Sloven/OCC do now?  Have we, as a family/campaign, been kicked into a space where nothing they say or do will wash? And if, yes, what does that mean? Typically, from what I can see, families are sooner or later presented as irrational and unworthy of engagement. Shoulder shrugging professionals demonstrate mild bafflement, back away and appeal to establishment cronies for pity/solidarity about being in a deadlock situation with such ‘problem’ people.

This week I was choked to receive a thoughtful response from a Sloven Governor. My response was to immediately flag it up on these pages and welcome it. [Sadly, she turned out to be one of two governors who beetled out of the meeting on Tuesday straight after recording was agreed… but I’m just about holding onto the genuine sentiment expressed in her email.] I spoke to another governor after the meeting. He seemed to get it. He was human, didn’t talk shite and we’ll probably meet him before their next meeting.

The point I’m trying to make here is that families don’t want to battle. And they don’t tend to choose to battle. They are forced to. The rage comes from the need to battle and what this need says about their relative who has been harmed. This rage is deepened too often, by careless, fake, ill informed, offensive and meaningless responses…]

We are working on a range of improvements to the way that our Trust reports and investigates deaths and these are being discussed with the Trust’s key regulators and commissioners. Although much of the work has started the Board will be formally approving this plan at the extraordinary meeting on Monday 11th January.

Yep. Of course. White noise. What relevance is this to the issues I raised in my letter? This again is purely reputational repair shite. 

The report identified and the Trust acknowledges that engagement with families and carers has not been to a good enough standard and this is an area that will be receiving particular attention going forward. I and the Board have a genuine desire to ensure that this Trust continually improves.

The Mazars report isn’t the first time non engagement with families has been identified in Sloven dealings. Here is an example from two years ago. I can remember when Rich Watts wrote this post. Before any sniff of the Mazars review existed. In response to the publication of Verita 1. When we naively (so blooming naively) thought that learning from LB’s death would shake up Sloven’s learning disability provision. To make out this is a newly identified issue is deeply offensive. Typical though of the Sloven way which is all about erasure. They try to erase every example of wrong doing by rigidly fixing on the future. It’s a form of bullying really. Dressed up as a ‘learning journey’.

I would be more than happy to meet with you and others to discuss what other improvements could be made so that we can ensure that lessons are properly learnt from Connor’s death and your experience of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

The meeting ship has well and truly sailed, Mr Board Chair. In typical Sloven shitilla fashion. You have missed and/or stamped on every opportunity to do anything differently since LB’s death. And this non letter is further evidence of this. 

Step down. Move on. And allow genuine leadership to take over. [And please don’t attempt to fawn over us at the meeting on Monday.]

Yours sincerely

12 thoughts on “Chairs, ships and learning journeys

  1. As I blogged

    Only 20 years ago,it would be an outrage, and a res ipsa loquitor. open and shut negligence action, if a person died as Connor did.

    The trust would have immediately apologised, albeit on threat of legal action.

    Instead, its used as jobs for the boys, and literally millions, made by those in the wrong and their defenders.

    All now die of ‘natural causes’, and only 1% of deaths investigated.

    Yet, ever more huge sums of public money is spent.

    Reading, ‘The Lucifer Effect’, which, sadly, is all too true of today’s all for self/profit society.

    Something has to be done.

  2. I may be mistaken, but did I hear a governor or NED (a male) on a clip from video of the recent extraordinary Board meeting,see the cure for their wee misdemeanor, is QUALITY TRAINING!!!!!!!, for all. God help us all,

    To SHFT
    CQC, NHS and MAZAR did not all say, ‘ you are being a little bit rude or wee bit off off hand’ ( to over a thousand of the most vulnerable people in society,) to people’ ‘and ‘all you need is another play time afternoons nudge, this time to LEARN how to be little bit more nice to people.. Then all cured. all sorted, all fine..Back to business as usual?

    Also, the response from Chairman above, reads like a reluctantly caught bang to rights multiple multiple multiple felon saying OK folks, we/I may/might have done a few little bit bad things, but loads and loads of people are doing the same’, so why keep going on at me/ us. ‘Oh and I/we may have spent loads and loads of your money without asking you, trying to wriggle out of this one.. But why should i /we go to jail when you have not caught the rest yet; they could be badder than us’.. . ”You are just being nasty.’. Not fair’.

    So, with Quality trainin’ all round,. Tra La Tra La Tra…………… all join hands now…..Case closed..

    God help us all ?

  3. It has sometimes been brought to my attention that I have a rather sniffy attitude to apologies. In my view, saying sorry by itself doesn’t actually change much, and is not the same as taking responsibility for your actions. I got an apology from the NHS for negligently destroying half my daughter’s brain. Left me cold. I didn;t want them to say sorry – I wanted them not to do the same to others. How on earth can you apologise for what they allowed to happen? What they should be doing is hanging their heads in shame and really, really try to put right what is wrong. How can you continue to take large sums of money and not do that?

  4. Sloven did ‘cock up’ in a big big way. However to cover up this ‘cock up’ is unforgiveable. To try to blame and undermine the mother for complaining about their ‘cock up’ is obscene. To use taxpayers money trying to excuse the appalling lack of care given to LB is even more sickening. The cover up is more damning than the ‘cock up’. Sloven have ‘cocked up’ and ‘covered up’ and now they need to ‘shut up’ and go.

  5. Would it be worth writing before the meeting and demanding a response to all the points in your letter which have been ignored? Listing point by point.
    As far as I can make out, all they have done is express very distanced regrets and said they accept a couple of judgements . Big of them! It would be news if they were refusing to accept.
    For crying out loud, that letter is low.

  6. If the dreaded ‘ a journey’ has begun then it is stone cold erasure. For journey read letting enough time pass for this issue ( whatever the issue/need ) to become an historic event. Snooze mode but a hint of togetherness to calm fears. A few spring roadshows with some rounds of freshly cut sandwiches and a few summer BBQs later will it all be ok ? Where are your voices staff governors ?

  7. All best wishes and huge respect for you all on your journey tomorrow.

    What struck me on reading about the mini bus going South tomorrow for Connor, (and for my son too), was ‘why do we have to put in all the effort it’, Why are they not travelling to a place, time date, agreed by you?

    ‘They ‘ are the ones who failed you and Connor and so many others. They are the ones in the dock?
    And they are still behaving like offended feudal barons.

    I too, as too many before me have travelled for miles and hours to LA/NHS; meetings diaried to fit in their time and held in their offices. Meetings that I have had to push and fight for for months then years were, have first sat downstairs in reception for ages till collected by a minion, then again in cold corridor without a cup of coffee (or car parking) to be patronised, and or barely tolerated by the people who destroyed my son..

    The people who did it, (or did not prevent it) eventually turn(ed) up late, only to treat me as though they are doing me a favour by permitting the meeting. Coffee cup in hand they come in chatting happily to each other, giving me barely a glance as they close the door on me, make me wait a bit longer then call me in after ages more. As though I was just another bit of ‘any other business.’. We parents are always sat down wind; the barely tolerated under class in our rows of hard utilitarian chairs, in public meetings.. When are alone in the reluctantly convened meeting we are treated as though we are asking for poor relief.

    For crying out loud, THEY are the defendants, not us. Something has to change.
    God bless you Sara et al xxx.

  8. Sara
    I have just watched the BBC broadcast of last night.

    They washed you all in more disrespect yesterday.
    The crushed you into a tiny room like cattle, while they sat in some comfort; the righteous bunch all allies safe from the rabble.

    If they had any human motivation or means to recognise around why the meeting was happening, NEDS and govs would have insisted on at the very least: valued space and a warm welcome for you all, coffee on a drip, a slap up lunch, a welcoming task force of staff, somewhere to rest after your journey. and that YOU and your family had been transported in some comfort some weeks before, to agree the form of this meeting and the agenda. Basic stuff where people know why and for whom they are in business..

    KP is beyond redemption, She should not just resign she should retire, Her lack of any insight or any connection with the people she is paid so generously to serve, does not only make her incompetent it makes her a danger. The chairman probably feared losing control yesterday when he so bossily blustered down someone trying to remind him why this meeting was happening. He probably knows this.

    But any one with a blister of humility would have known that the least that could have been offered, by him and his team was ownership of that meeting. Known bang to rights, that he and his were in the dock, not Sara and all the other bereaved and disrespected families.

    I worked in N Ireland for 10 years, for a master CE who led a magnificent Trust that valued hospitality as highly as any of the values we worked together to implement. He integrated his community health, social services and Hospitals Trust on total service to his community. He was a leader.

    He would have fired on the spot his people who denied hospitality to any visitor to his Trust, far less those he felt he had failed.

    KP and her frit board put you in that room and showed no humility at all; they gave you no choice. no hospitality, no kindness, no care and no respect,

    They debased and devalued you again.

    Shame on shame on them.

  9. Wish I had skills as satirical cartoonist. Any one want to have a go ?
    This upside down world where felons sits on the bench, serving up justice…… eg.put the victim on trial, then on the rack and in the stocks ?………………

  10. caught the news, just the snap shot of Tom speaking was so telling. It may not have been KP’s job to set out the chairs but why on earth didn’t she ensure the venue would at least accommodate comfortably. Obviously no need to oversee anyone/everything humanly possible if you are the accountable officer knowing the buck stops at your door ? just for appearances just for the meeting. Perhaps with so many areas of risk in serving the community there are not enough hours in the day. I hope the ‘ books ‘ are in order , no breaches of protocols there ? the difference between independent contractors and management consultants and the like looks a bit muddy to the layperson. When it has been independently reported that procedures and protocols were not consistently followed with regards to investigating unexpected deaths the thought does cross my mind whether there are significant problems elsewhere as yet unreported ?

    • oh incoming improvement person , good, damned if I could get my head round delegate from the trust being paid £500 a day to be all a ” glow ” in Baden- Baden “. What’s that all about ? If KP is in post and someone is on the way then everything must be ok.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.