I went to work this morning via a brief meeting with Monitor. Based near Waterloo Station. After publication of the Mazars review in December I was invited to meet with Monitor to:
discuss the process which we are going through, jointly with the CQC, to establish the key issues which require addressing to ensure improvements are made at the trust and that the wider concerns raised by the report are addressed.
I chased up this meeting last Friday and it was arranged for 9am today with the CEO, Medical and Nursing Directors and Complaints Manager. Assuming the key issues issue was still open, I set off on the Oxford Tube at 6am. A front of the bus experience.
After introductions, the CEO began by apologising for LB’s death. Bit odd, really after all this time but a solid apology. I wondered if the Tom effect is spreading. We moved on to what Monitor is going to do about the Mazars review and Sloven. Very little really. The Mazars review is being read carefully, CQC will inspect and if failings are identified Monitor will act on them. Apparently. There was no evidence to remove Board Directors/CEO.
At this point my heart slowly melted. Having sat through over two hours of the Sloven ‘extraordinary board meeting’ yesterday when the only two words the CEO and Board Chair could string together were ‘action’ and ‘plan’. And the action plan they presented lacked clarity and included typos. Hearing My Life My Choice trustees describe their concern about safety in Slovens ‘care’. Having read the Mazars review. Having experienced over two years of relentlessly crap actions. Having heard so many other harrowing tales from families…
These words made no sense to me.
Sitting round a table, on the third floor of Wellington House, I lamely raised a few issues. Like how it probably wasn’t a good idea to take shiny new Sloven policies at face value. Despite their epilepsy toolkit no Sloven staff member at LB’s inquest demonstrated any knowledge of epilepsy two years after his death. And so on. Stuff written over and over again here and in other spaces.
There was no discussion. Whether that was because I was clearly so incredulous, enraged and upset or whether it was because there wasn’t really anything to be discussed I don’t know. Action was clearly already decided and agreed with Sloven. I asked what I was doing there. To receive a formal apology was the answer. The meeting ended at 9.06am. Publication of the Monitor press release pretty much beat me back to Oxford. A six hour round trip. For a six minute meeting.
So what is the action? Sloven have agreed to implement the Mazars recommendations, get expert assurance on these improvements and Monitor will appoint an Improvement Director “to support and challenge the trust as it fixes its problems” I’m reminded of some pretty bizarre conversations back in 2014 when we were encouraged by a few people, including David Nicholson, to meet with the Sloven CEO to help her to understand where she was going wrong and ‘find her way’. How anyone can maintain a leadership role when they are so clearly out of their depth is beyond me.
Of course there were Monitor enforcement actions back in 2013. And Sloven put the same jolly spin then as they have now; just a few weeks of ‘working with Monitor’.
On the way to work, I just thought about how we were kidding ourselves that anyone (senior) in health and social care really gave a shit about learning disabled people. The Mazars review is a truly shocking report and the only appropriate response so far has been demonstrated by the discussion in the House of Commons when it was leaked. I was reminded of Rob Greig’s anecdote when he was told years ago by a CEO that jobs aren’t lost over the learning disability agenda.
We ain’t really progressed at all. Sadly. #JusticeforLB has contributed more than than most of the highly paid/rewarded people/organisations in this area for two years now. We have no budget and the work is done in our spare time. That is, pretty much every minute outside of our working hours. I think it’s fair to say that morale in the shed is pretty low right now. I’m just glad we’ve shone a fierce light on the shameful practices and fakery of NHS and local authority practices. Practices done and sustained by people.
Update: I received a briefing about the Monitor meeting this morning (13th Jan) from NHS England. You couldn’t make it up. It says Monitor will announce their actions on Jan 12th. So the 9am meeting was purely about squeezing in a meeting with me before then. A meeting for the sake of saying they’d met us. Breathtaking. Six hours travel for a 6 minute meeting. And no expenses paid.