pillow talk and going viral

So the latest Sloven shitfest hit the fan yesterday. Michael Buchanan continuing to shine a light on the murkiest of murky practices in the dank and musty corridors of Sloven towers. Reading the latest unfolding in a sneaky preview, we thought (again) game over. Stupidly. [LB died, CQC failings, Verita, repeatedly negative coronial determinations, CQC failings, Mazars and further CQC failings…] As the day unfolded, it was back to now familiar and stale feelings of incredulity, disbelief and despair.


Basically (thanks to George Julian for spotting this gem) Katrina Percy apparently set up a programme of leadership development in 2009 which she later ‘follows on’ from as CEO of Sloven. [Note how she switches to ‘I’ when it comes to claiming a bit of glory. Elbowing staff and the ubiquitous ‘we’ out of the way when it comes to relentless and shallow self promotion…]


The story exposed how this ‘investment’ (a cracking misnomer) spiralled 2000% over the original tender amount (from around £300k to £5.365m). For a naff old programme called, er, Going Viral. Oh, and the tender went to an associate of KP; Chris Martin and Talent Works. Cosy. (Apparently, by the end of the current contract CM/Talent Works will receive £9m… £9million). A second associate, Paul Gray, who used to work with KP in pre-Sloven times has earned £602,000 since 2011 without bidding for a contract. Over half a million pounds… Without bidding for a contract.

What is Going Viral?

Good question. We don’t know because Sloven has removed the link to the programme on their website. Shifty move given the weight of the public gaze on what £5m buys. But, in true viral fashion, it has mutated into other cash cows; Senior Viral, Viral Essentials and Gone Viral. [I know].

Handily there are a few vimeos (not) explaining what Senior Viral is. For example:


This includes gems like One of the biggest priorities has to be the number of complex priorities that staff are having to work with” (unknown woman) and, as baffling, So Sloven is big enough almost to be a system its own but I guess we probably need to think about the wider system… (Chris Gordon). It’s taken me about 20 minutes to transcribe two sentences as I kept being overcome with hysterical laughter. £5.365m…


What a painfully awkward situation. £millions spent on a ‘leadership programme’ run by mates so publicly exposed, four (seven) years after inception. In an organisation that continues to fail…

Rest and recuperation

Not surprisingly twitter nearly collapsed under the weight of people tweeting the link to the BBC story throughout the day. Spending cuts, a buckling NHS, ‘post-truth’ politics, etc, etc, make the continuing utter wrongness of Sloven practices sharper and clearer to us herbs.

Later in the afternoon chat (rage) rightly returned to how such sums of money could possibly be necessary for individual trusts to spend (remember there is in existence an NHS Leadership Academy), and what the £5.365 (£9m) could have funded…

pillows 2

Asda pillows. £6 a pop.


If nothing else, that money could have bought 894,167 pillows. Nearly a million pillows.

Apparently NHS Improvement are saying that Sloven have done nothing wrong. Procurement processes have been followed. (Mackey and his bunch of yes bods on fire as ever). I think [hope has long gone] this is the touch paper to finally bring this foul, toxic and beyond brutal charade to a close.

Those who have refused to listen for whatever reasons. Those who have refused to act for whatever reasons. Those who so readily discounted the life of our beautiful, beautiful boy, along with so many others [howl] for whatever reasons. Those who watch and read what is happening and do fuck all for whatever reason…

There must come a tipping point.  A point at which those who have taken the chunky salary, who pretend they are ‘doing their job’, who kid themselves the bigger picture is more important than the odd (numerous) casualties along the way, are forced to admit something is seriously off. A point at which even the family, friends and colleagues of those who can, start to shake them, or more vigorously shake them, to the point at which the tinted specs finally fall off.

The spotlight has been on Sloven for the last few years now. It is obvious to pretty much everyone there are serious failings and a toxic culture at board level. These are reflected in these financial irregularities and the use of the CEO’s mates (over half a £million without bidding for a contract?). (As Roy Lilley said on the Today programme, despite what Sloven say, these aren’t ‘specialist’ tasks that only a small number of organisations can deliver.) The Sloven board are failing patients and bringing themselves and the various NHS organisations around them into disrepute.

It’s time for action.

25 thoughts on “pillow talk and going viral

  1. Sudden Wealth NHS Formation Lust’s response, “We take our financial responsibilities very seriously”. Where have we heard that one before: “We take complaints very seriously”; “We take losing RiO notes very seriously. We take everything seriously but do sod all! The National Audit Office is aware of Michael’s Report and I will return with contact details when I have fully woken up!

  2. Sara I just want one thing – to get Martin out of this corruption. Can anyone tell me just one simple action I can take to help and protect him. For him this corruption has ruled his life since 1999. At least £2,000,000 in residential care fees disappeared. £????????? on legal fees. My EPA to protect him nullified. Everything Finola says is correct – but I need to know what I can do other then sit here and type replies to blogs, and despair

  3. Surely –

    There must be a paper trail apart from invoices for 5 million pounds? From the initial competitive bid/proposal – it’s costs – its process design and most importantly explicit tangible – measurable project aims.

    ‘What this organisation would be – and how it would behave’ – for an ever increasing budget – to 5 million pounds?

    There must be a paper trail of 5 years of tangible and visible organisation improvements – in terms of measured – measurable outcomes ?

    Can we see it/them please ?

  4. If procurement processes are the means by which activities (and what they cost) are put beyond scrutiny, then this sorry charade is just a glimpse of what the NHS is becoming. It’s back to what Imogen Tyler said about accountability https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/imogen-tyler/connor-sparrowhawk-erosion-of-accountability-in-nhs
    Political parties will be happy to use the NHS as a feelgood symbol when it suits them whilst it’s eviscerated by greed and management-speak.

  5. Further to my first comment above starting ‘Southern Wealth’, the more people who report the new financial issues to the National Audit Office (NAO) the better – hopefully with more examples of money-wasting from their own experience. Write, enclosing any additional evidence available, to:

    Laura Brackwell, Director, Health Value for Money Audit, National Audit Office, 157-197 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9SP

    I found Laura very empathetic and helpful so please do write first: a bombardment of email and phone calls might be unhelpful.

    There is Southern Wealth NED who should be in the spotlight too about the latest revelations on Percy’s profligate spending. Step forward Trevor ‘Hello Sailor’ Spires, Chairman of Southern Wealth’s Audit Subcommittee, who has been in bed (metaphorically) with Katrina Percy even before the formation of Southern Wealth.

    He also is Chairman of the Rural Payments Agency, about which the NAO published a highly critical report earlier this year. Amongst the NAO’s findings at http://www.computerweekly.com/news/4500258367/Rural-payments-problems-led-to-40-increase-in-costs-says-NAO-report:

    “The rural payments programme was dogged by spiralling costs, senior level bickering and poor and dysfunctional leadership.

    Where and about which organisation have we heard similar before?

    The previous year, Computer Weekly alleged that the Rural Payment Agency was suppressing a highly critical report.

    Where and about which organisation have we heard similar before?

    I don’t want to include more links because the post will be held for moderation: the rest of this story and Spires’s position is easily found using some of the key words above via Google.

  6. How much is this situation replicated throughout the country, I can’t help wondering. How much money wantonly & arrogantly used for senior management whims in preference to frontline needs? Hardly any group has the persistence, determination, energy or ability of Justice4LB to unearth such matters, so I imagine a great deal simply continues unexamined or challenged 😦

  7. This awful, childish management speak and the management culture that goes with it is would be appalling if it came cheap, but spending millions on it, while failing to train staff in how to deal with epilepsy beggars belief. Talk of “more training” and “more leaders” rings very hollow as more and more money goes into private pockets.

    I can understand your depression, as the only changes seem to be in the direction of getting worse. It would be good if enough noise could be made about this – a financial scandal that most people would be outraged by – that for once it cant be swept under the carpet.

  8. All that money passing through sweaty palms, yet when I requested Southern Health pay me back the mere £ 7,000 legal fees we accrued from their wrong handling of my sons care – they declined.

    • Debra – is there sufficient evidence to sue? It is not commonly known that, a few years ago, the Coalition Government increased the maximum claimable in the Small Claims Court from £5,000 to £10,000 – so you can do it yourself without solicitors’ help and without the risk of costs being awarded against you even if you loose – providing the claim is not malicious. Citizens’ Advice Bureau can advise you.

      • Hi – I guess the reason I haven’t gone ahead with that is the time scale legally allowed for making my claim. My legal expense receipts are from 2009 and 2013. I requested these back last year during an ongoing separate complaint – but was fobbed off Southern Health style. I certainly have nothing left to give financially to pursue this – but as I say I think possibly my time has run out.

        • Debra – the statute of limitations for monetary claims is 6 years from the last date of last contact. If you made your claim “last year”, you sill have circa 5 years. Please do go to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or at least join our campaign – meeting coming up shortly with Healthwatch.

          • Hi, I seem to have missed the Healthwatch campaign which isn’t like me to miss something. Can you give me details please.?

  9. Any independent and experienced consultant with a grain of integrity would have identified the problems at SHFT in a short month of interviews etc. And would have told the Board….’you are the problem’.

    Other options are to hire one of the huge consultancies who’s staff speedily learn the benefit to them (retaining their job and bonus) of a relatively pain free long term relationship with budget holder.

    Other option retain a pal with a fun ‘change’ product that ruffles few feathers.. for 5 years ?

    Big ‘boys’ and the ‘fun’ boys’ in consultancy have been coining it in for eons and the cultural and ‘leadership’ issues in Public organisations are all still there…… ?

    Everybody is aware that real long term improvement need honesty integrity and GUTS – and it will always brings long term pain for all the people driving it. But more than that it needs top level champions with integrity and staying power…

    …….and they all appear to be gazing the other way a present ?

  10. KP and all her ilk are just carpetbaggers. Following the money wherever it leads them. No shame. No conscience.

    • Too true Weary Mother. I forgot about their huge egos.

      I do not think Nye Bevan pictured the NHS ending up being led by people like this.

      • Yes, the NHS was a revolution, to protect everyone’s health and happiness, and we depend on the 20% of people in the NHS who are now the true NHS (I often hear that 20% of the people do 80% of the work).
        Poor leadership weakens all of us, and encourages other leaders to take advantage for short term gain.
        Instead of talking in our networks mostly, we should have more Panoramas to follow up.

  11. squandering any percentage of the annual budget on garbage dressed as investment in leadership is shameful. Pure waste of precious resources and the loss of precious lives are the legacy of this awful woman.

  12. What I cannot understand is – after reading Chris Hatton’s excellent analysis of Governance etc of SHFT – and other well written and informed blogs over past two days – why did Tim Smart conclude that everyone in Board at SHFT is competent ? And that patients are safe in current leadership hands ?

  13. And now there’s worse. Chris Hatton has now analysed Southern Wealth’s annual accounts.

    Most interesting is that expenditure for staff (excluding Directors) has dropped; spending on Non-Executive Directors has stayed fairly static but bucking the trend [you guessed it] is expenditure on Executive Directors: this has increased from £1.0 million in 2013/14 through £1.3 million in 2014/15 to £1.5 million in 2015/16. This is an increase of 48% in two years, at a time when the Trust (and its income) is shrinking.

    And there’s more to read at http://dataforlb.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/failing-and-flailing-southern-health.html

  14. Crash

    I have been reading the Mail (newspaper on line) and the comments on this most recent press on Ms Pearcy et al.

    150 plus comments and counting from readers. Quite a few state a view that the ‘improvement’ consultants millions should be – (but probably will not) repaid.

    However – Execs can be awarded additional years on their final salary pension.by NEDS remuneration committee – supposedly only for exceptional performance over and above delivery of execs agreed role responsibilities and objectives for year.

    This is a benefit not offered to the rapidly diminishing increasingly hard pressed staff.

    I wonder how many – if this is case – additional pension years have been awarded to execs at SHFT over last 5 years. And if contrary evidence is available – perhaps these additional years could be withdrawn if the new evidence supports this ?

  15. Pingback: The talented Mr Martin and viral impact | mydaftlife

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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.