Bit of a convoluted ramble tonight. Sorry, but hopefully it makes some sense.
James Titcombe found out this week that Morecambe Bay hospital paid £42,123 in legal representation and attendance of communication staff at his son, Joshua’s, inquest. Early this year, My Life My Choice (and Michael Buchanan) found out that Sloven spent £318,121.20 on legal representation at LB’s inquest. It’s not clear if this figure includes preparation for the four pre-inquest review hearings. It doesn’t include the costs of Sloven staff attending the inquest. [It became a daily activity to spot Sloven (and Oxfordshire County Council, NHS England and Oxford Clinical Commissioning Group) bods loitering around the public gallery. Lacking the lanyards typically worn, they were identified by furtive awkwardness.]
This cost could only have been spent in an attempt to limit damage to Sloven’s reputation. What happened to LB is undisputed. Sloven said back in February 2014 they accepted the findings of the first Verita report which found that his death was preventable. Why would they need (external) legal representation at an inquest which is supposed to establish what happened rather than attribute blame?
How did we move from this (clearly fake) position in Feb 2014 to a space in which eight barristers (and accompanying solicitors) jostled for table space at the front of the courtroom? Sloven were culling staff (or ex-staff) from their legal umbrella pretty much up to the start of the inquest. But bizarrely included in the dosh spent is £90,000 on legal fees for staff they didn’t represent. Eh?
Sloven’s response was clearly to chuck unlimited dosh at trying to grab a genie that had well and truly left the bottle. A social media related genie. Mike Petter, board chair and member of the Sloven leadership trinity, told My Life My Choice:
Jaw dropping duplicity. Like most (all?) Foundation Trusts Sloven have an in house legal team. Unlike families who are catapulted into a space of abject horror and distress, usually with little or no legal knowledge or support. Petter doesn’t explain why Sloven brought in an external solicitor and barrister. Or why they contributed to the costs of staff members they didn’t represent. (Or why they didn’t make this clear at the beginning of the inquest when we were led to believe that there were six other independently represented Interested Persons…)
I bumped into a lovely neighbour earlier. She’s been a teaching assistant for over 30 years at the junior school Rosie and Tom went to and follows the campaign.
“All those hundreds of people”, she said. “And they didn’t know…”
I think ‘they’ did know. How could they not know? They knew but didn’t think it was important that (certain) people were dying prematurely. I’m reading Neurotribes at the mo. The go to book about autism by Steve Silberman. Earlier today I read this;
Life unworthy of life... Nearly a 100 years ago Hoche and Binding produced a simple and effective framework for understanding contemporary provision of health and social care for learning disabled people in the UK.
Just got to make sense of how a public body could squander over £300,000 on LB’s inquest now…