Delved back in time to trace the steps of this investigation and it’s worse than I remember. Part 1 covered how, after sending a lengthy and detailed letter of referral, I had to return the consent form to the GMC within 8 days or risk delaying the investigation. Back in June 2014.
So how have the intervening 26 months been filled? 26 months…? Good question.
We started with six weekly updates by letter (good) which tailed off towards the end of year 1.
Blimey. Another tight deadline for us. Waiting on Sloven as ever. 10 months to get an expert report, get the referred doc to respond and, er, think about what to do next. But at least it looks like the investigation is pretty much finished.
In May 2015 I replied to an email from a journalist saying among other stuff the “GMC should really be any day now (they started last June) and it was at the final decision stage the last I heard, a few weeks ago”.
I look back on these exchanges now and wonder at the utter naivety they reveal on our part. And the (at best) indulgence demonstrated by the – no urgency here, fuck off and wait for as long as it takes, you bereaved families, you – General Medical Council.
The next communication was a letter from a GMC in-house legal person, sent by email on July 15 2015, with this vaguely hilarious subject heading:
Please respond. That’s all we do. Like obedient (through regular beatings) puppies. Grateful for any crumb of progress. Though this particular crumb was a surprise. Fifteen months after our initial referral:
What the actual fuck? Why/how does the need for ‘confidentiality’ erase the need for effective and sensitive communication? Is there a collective historical amnesia in operation within these regulatory bodies that means everything that came before is just tossed out with the rubbish? Did no one involved really not pipe up and say something like:
Er, this is a teensy bit awkward given the referral was made over a year ago now. And we’ve led this family to believe that the investigation is pretty much finished. We really should contact them to explain exactly why we are only now collecting statements*.
To be continued.
*We still don’t know.
I’ll certainly be interested to see where the GMC investigation into your complaint ends up. After reminding the GMC that they failed to take action against a number of psychiatrists in north Wales after representations from myself and others and that it has now been admitted that there is ‘institutional abuse’ in the mental health services in north Wales, I asked the GMC for their comments. I’ve now received an e mail explaining that if I give them the case number of the investigation and the precise dates and allegations of the doctors misdeeds they might be able to reinvestigate. Which is totally nonsensical – my point to them was that they had never carried out an investigation in the first place, so there is no investigation to reinvestigate. They also helpfully reminded me of their ‘five year rule’ – that investigations cannot go back further than five years. As anyone who has done battle with the north Wales mental health services will know, it takes nearly that long to finally extract a full copy of the medical records involved and thus secure the evidence – the only way that I obtained my full medical records was by serving a High Court Order on the CEO upon which he had to appear in front of a judge and swear an affidavit that the full records would be released (and even then we found that all the records compiled by a whistleblower had been ‘lost’). And part of my representation to the GMC involved the long term conduct of these psychiatrists – totally scuppered by the five year rule. So whoops, no investigation into anyone, despite numerous patient deaths, ‘institutional abuse’ and a Health Board now in special measures.
still recall the investigator assuring me that the GMC had powers to demand to see any records they wanted . They saw everything and there remain 33 errors recorded as fact in the final report that are fully supported as inaccurate by the same records. Mad ones and bad ones , wrong dates , wrong patient and non existent appointments. Farcical enquiries sent to colleagues 18 days after the death of the patient responding to urgent faxes from the previous month.
Saddest of all I find are the records relating to ‘ failed encounters ‘ which I didn’t understand at the time , it is the failure to respond to urgent communication from a colleague regarding your patient. Long drawn out misery for families complying with ‘ evidence ‘ in good faith and the feeling over time that the likelihood of your family bringing a civil action is the real focus of the investigation. Your legal team would know whether that were a concern Sara.