Useless eaters, human ballast and empty husks…


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?

Total absurdity.

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:

petter shite

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;

image (21)

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…


16 thoughts on “Useless eaters, human ballast and empty husks…

  1. When my son was frighteningly ill I did dare to ask myself ‘What if he had had a learning disability – would someone have decided they wouldn’t try so hard to save him?’ A heart lurching thought. I wondered if parents and relatives of learning disabled people have this fear at the back of their minds. I hope not – as it is unbearable.

    Do NHS England, Monitor and CQC not understand that by failing to properly record and investigate the deaths of learning disabled people Sloven are revealing their attitude to their lives? It’s such a strong signal that something is badly wrong. All these bodies need to wake up and remember what they are there for.

    • Some time ago someone suggested that, parents of sons and daughters with a disability who are likely to depend on current Public Services eg NHS and LA, to support, care for and keep them safe,combine and form a kind of mutual support and insurance Union.

      Until grieving etc families can feel they have access to financial support (and a whisker of possibility of justice ) the KP’s et als, will continue to, without conscience or accountability, use public money like confetti to defend/hide the indefensible ?

      This disgustingly unequal (at best) ‘playing field’ sure ain’t going to be levelled unless family’s and supporters get together to resolve
      it ?.

    • We sought Legal Guardianship for our son when he turned 16 under AWIA 2000 (Scotland)
      Prior to that we had heard from the parents of two horrifying stories about young adults with PMLD whose hospital treatment was appalling. It so happened that it was at the same hospital, and not one we’d use normally, but we felt the treatments told a story that were likely more widespread.
      Both parents were/are seasoned carers and advocate for their kids but because they did not have Legal Guardianship in place, their thoughts, feelings and experiences were disregarded.
      Family 1. Their young adult was admitted with double pneumonia and the consultant openly asked mum “how hard did they want them to try?” to resolve the pneumonia. Shocked, she replied, as hard as you would for any other patient in the hospital. So saying, they would not administer the IV antibiotics needed to resolve the infection. Mum had to call in a friend at 2am, a professor of LD who threatened to personally sue the Dr under the DDA if the IV treatment didn’t start at once and only then did the treatment begin. Mum was utterly powerless. She was advised to bring in photos of her child and put them round the bed. It was only then that the staff actually started referring to them by their name instead of him/her.
      The young person made a swift and full recovery. Mum now has Legal Guardianship.
      Family 2. Their young adult was living in a supported setting, had a fall and was taken for x-rays. Mum didn’t get there until 2 hours after the fall. Young person was with one of the staff. Young person was visibly distressed so mum asked what pain relief they had been given. None. Why not? Because they never asked for any. Young person is non-verbal.
      Our son has a very rare condition, that few doctors have met and know what they can google in an emergency. There was no way I was having someone not versed in his condition being in charge of medical decisions to give or withhold medication that we disagreed with as the people who’ve lived and breathed this condition for over 21 years. It took about 10 months to complete but we now have full lifelong welfare and financial guardianship of our son.

      I don’t know how much of the above stories comprises malice, what % is ignorance of LD and what % attitudes that medical staff may have about the usefulness of the existence of our kids with LD and if we parents secretly are looking for a “way out”.

      • I wonder where the doctor got the idea not to give IV antibiotics because someone has a learning disability. I am sure it isn’t in the medical curriculum. I’m glad he had his Mum to fight for him. What if he had had no one?

  2. Reports from Hampshire:

    1. County Council gives vote of confidence in Katrina Percy. See Hampshire County Chaos at: and

    2. Sloven has to instruct external solicitors even to comply with The Data Protection Act 1998. Dr Lesley Stevens is Caldicott Guardian of Sloven so responsible for Sloven’s information governance. Why is Sloven paying her for a role, in which she has the support of a full information governance team, which she is incapable of doing without solicitors, despite Sloven having received advice on this specific case from the Information Commissioner, Department of Health and National Audit Office? For details and the effect it has on inquiries by Regulators and Ombudsmen see:

    What a Pickle at: and More Pickles at: – apparently, Sloven can instruct solicitors but the other party cannot reply to those solicitors!

  3. Once again my mind boggles. Where are the words “moral” and “ethical”in this scenario. I was told in the CoP by Mr Justice Ryder that the case against Martin was unethical and immoral but probably legal.

  4. In my experience, comments are most likely read if made on the latest post. This is just to refer readers to my recent comment on Sara’s last posting – about the Harrison Ford case and the Health & Safety Executive. It could be the key to a criminal conviction.

  5. 40 or so years ago Wolf Wolfensberger, the architect of social role valorisation, said that services were ‘death making’. At the time I thought this was hyperbole. Now is am not so sure. To my knowledge no one has properly investigated death rates in mental deficiency institutions. A couple of colleagues did some sampling a few years ago, and found some startling figures of high death rates. And it is not hard to imagine that health care was pretty rudimentary, and early death an accepted part of institutional life. One day I will look into this more carefully. But I will never forget walking into one of those institutions. At the other end of the drive stood the institutional crematorium. It reminded me of Auschwitz, the message that you will only leave here when you are ashes. Sobering thoughts. Maybe Wolfie was right after all.

  6. This is incredible. Think of what could have been done with that £30k.

    The quote from The Liberation and Destruction of Life Unworthy of Life reminds me of when my brother was hospitalised permanently in the 50’s when he was 9 years old. My parents had tried their best to keep him at home but the pressure was such and with no help at all forthcoming, they agreed to “institutionalise” him. The staff at the hospital told my father to go away and forget about him. I had hoped that attitudes had changed since then.

    That is what the Health Board now wants me to do – go away, instead of demanding that we find out how he broke his neck while in care and why this was not diagnosed for 10 days by the hospital. Using the fact that he was not able to tell them what happened as a reason is not befitting a professional consultant.

  7. I assume their legal costs would have been met by their public liability insurance? Every care home has to be covered by such a policy for up to £5 million to meet CQC regulations. If that is the case it would not have worried them particularly how much their costs amounted to. It shows the total unfairness of a system where families are given no help with legal support.

    • And worse still, we are paying their premiums, which will increase, with the costs of the claims.

      The NHS services, are also paid for by us, through national insurance/tax.

      And, the NHS owe us a statutory duty to provide adequate services.

      And, yet when they do not, we cannot sue them, and even if we try to find out, why a person has died in their care, they try to prevent this using our money.

  8. That quote is reminiscent of Nazi Germany – perhaps Hitler read it. Their eugenics plan was not just aimed at Jews, but all “undesirables”, termed as “mentally deficient”. Even the wonderful Churchill was an advocate of eugenics before the Second World War.

    • Nazis eliminated the disabled/ vulnerable, because they were a drain on their resources, and did not contribute to the Nazi dream.

      We are doing it through privatisation of eventually all mental health services to bolster are economic growth.

      And. the elimination. is through an inadvertent, abusive ‘treatment’ and care system that maximises profit.

      Our third largest industry is now the pharmaceutical one, and the mental health industry eventually, will not be far behind.

      The market is expanding, as adeptive assessments, not cognitive ones, diagnose a learning disability, and ‘disability’ is equated with ‘difficulty’.

      Historically 1-2% were LD now it is up t0 4%
      Mental Disorders now number 375 thanks to the USA.


      Because there is, as already seen. just from the consultancy and legal fees of a public health body like SLOVEN, a hugely lucrative goldmine of emperor’s clothes ‘treatment’, and diagnosis.

      And, this goldmine. is already being mined, the boss of St Andrews Healthcare earning £375,000 from 90% NHS funding all tax free as charitable.

      This is what is behind todays push for mental health awareness, spending, and ‘improved’ treatment.

      Soon all ‘treatment’, will be in specialist hospitals, owned by the companies, who also house the mentally disordered for life, at a minimum cost of £3,500 per week, the hospitals will cost much more, in secret without choice of inmate, or parent.

      And this ‘treatment’, will be medication, to control, and. if too much is used, or the mix deadly , any death, as with Thomas Rawnsley, will be natural causes, and/ or Downs, and maybe soon even autism.

      Already 74% of autistic, still on a mix of anti psychotic medications i.e. chemical coshes, and antidepressants i.e. mood enhancers.

      And no central record is kept of the amount, or mix of enforced medicine used, their effect, or links to deaths

      As no one is accountable, even for death.

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