I went to the Isle of Wight Adult Safeguarding Board conference this week. Going to speak, meet, or be part of an event, as ‘LB’s mum’ or part of #JusticeforLB tends to be fascinating, depressing or a waste of bloody time. We’ve sort of learned, in the Justice Shed, that these things are typically about pomp and performance (and box ticking). Not substance. The Isle of Wight invite seemed different, the ‘invitee’ clearly seemed to get it and I went.
Graham Enderby kicked off the day. Talking about Harry and ‘the Bournewood Case‘. A remarkable story of (family generated) tenacity, guts and integrity. And wrongness. Leading to ground breaking changes. His story featured an early appearance by one of our favourite barristers. Human rights in action. Simple as. Graham socked it to the audience of 200 or so, health, social care and police bods, housed for the day in an enormous boathouse on the Cowes waterfront. Without artifice, excuse or fudging. The following speakers similarly demonstrated integrity by the bucketful. It was uncomfortable at times. Informative. And reassuring that professionals got it and were prepared to step up and say what needed to be said.
My bit was towards the end. Before showing The Tale of Laughing Boy I carelessly asked how many people had heard about LB or #JusticeforLB. I felt almost apologetic playing the film to such an audience a spit from the home of Sloven. They must have had a constant diet of LB, #JusticeforLB and the Mazars review for months now…
Less than half (easily) of the room put their hands up. One of those cartoon screechy brake moments. Really?
Re-watching the film, made this time last year, was a further bash in the chops. The naivety around the ‘reaching for the stars’ stuff. Back in the day. Pre inquest. Pre Mazars publication. Pre every other atrocity that has happened or continues to happen. In full view.
The lack of response to the Mazars review is scandalous. Jezza Hunt and his merry band of human factor/HSIB peeps are, at best, naive to believe, not care, (or just argue) that creating ‘safe spaces’ and a no blame culture within the NHS will lead to a reduction in the premature deaths of learning disabled people. This is simply absurd. And closes down any scrutiny of the systematic erasure of the lives of people who are clearly perceived to be expendable and burdensome within the NHS (and social care).
I was surprised by how people responded to the film/talk… Genuine distress, discomfort and talking about what action to take. I shouldn’t have been surprised. That low bar kicking in again. This is exactly how people should respond to hearing what happened to LB and the unfolding of events since. Something Jezza, NHS England, Monitor and the CQC have systematically tried to stifle.
I caught the ferry back with Graham. We shared stories, horror, outrage, atrocities and chuckles.
I wish there was similar openness, recognition and engagement from Jezza, CQC, Monitor and NHS England to what is now a clearly documented, evidenced and consistent happening. But what’s a few (hundred/thousand) learning disabled lives between mates?