Take. what. you. need.

I was at the Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster a week or so ago where I met a small group of Icelandic academics/self advocates. I was delighted to hook up with them because I love the work of Kristin Bjornsdottir and team. And their campaigning. The George Fox building, where the conference was held, was dotted with these posters…


Kristin talked about using #JusticeforLB in teaching and subsequently posted this:



Tim Smart resigned unexpectedly (but not surprisingly) today. Both Sloven and NHS Improvement demonstrated what Chris Hatton described as ‘a mulish aversion to honesty’ in their press statements about his resignation.

There is no candour. No honesty. We’re left with a ‘trust’ with an interim CEO, no Board Chair, no Chief Operating Officer, no Communications Director and 8 governor vacancies. Well, and financial irregularities over contracts worth millions. And a dodgy new (or old) made up post for Katrina Percy costing around £250k. And left with a deputy board chair who shared the findings of the Mazars review pre-publication with his teenage son who rubbished the findings on social media.


What a complete and utter (chilling) shambles. Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt repeatedly deflects MPs questions with non answers.

It’s more than apparent that the likes of Jim Mackey and gang, the remaining Sloven senior exec and ex-CEO, really need to take what they need. And act accordingly.

Or do one.


12 thoughts on “Take. what. you. need.

  1. Regarding the phenomenon of the teenage son of the Board member who had access to confidential information – the same sort of thing happened again and again in north Wales. When I first came across the appalling offspring of a local psychiatrist who smugly told me that they laughed at their father’s patients I presumed that this family plumbing the depths was a one-off. Not so. I continued to encounter families of clinical staff and managers who had access to the most extraordinary details regarding patients – and in some cases they were cheerily broadcasting the gossip. I concluded that the situation was so bad that there is effectively no confidentiality in the north Wales mental health service. On the day that I was awarded my PhD, a departmental secretary in the University where I did my research felt able to tell my PhD supervisor that she ‘knew all about’ me because her sister was a psychiatric nurse in the hospital in Bangor. As on many other occasions, I was asked not to complain about this woman’s outrageous behaviour lest the University suffer embarrassment.

  2. Pingback: Take. what. you. need. | danutag57

  3. they need to ask for help , welcome the buckets and mops and have a spokesperson in situ by tea time. There is an appropriate response to serious concerns, someone must be found wiling to shoulder the responsibility of making that response. Media coverage grows ever more hideous.

  4. An ex- but still very unwell patient asked me to accompany him to a meeting with Sloven’s Complaints Manager today – I have been helping him through the last three months since Sloven dumped him. (Sara knows who I am talking about). Sloven refused point blank to let the meeting go ahead with me present! He would have refused the meeting had it not been for the happy coincidence that a very robust governor – John Beaumont – saw us (he had been at a SIRI meeting): when he failed to persuade them to let me attend – he replaced me. And I thought a patient could choose who accompanies him to such meetings.

    Does anyone know the law or professional guidance on this? Sloven’s rule appears to be that anyone can attend so long as they are not experts (by experience).

    Sloven’s Consultants are so protective of their patients (joke) that his Consultant had advised the police to prosecute him ‘in the public interest.” Of course, Sloven had not provided this correspondence as part of his subject access request – he got it from the police – who, to their very great credit, decided that it was not in the public interest to prosecute him. Moreover, if he was a risk to the public – why was he not admitted to hospital: he offered informal admission.

    • Interesting that you’re raising the point about prosecuting patients CRASH – I took a very big interest in this phenomenon dating from about ten years ago when I found out how many patients were being prosecuted – usually for incredibly trivial reasons – by the mental health services in north Wales. Patients being prosecuted were very often patients who had made serious complaints against the service – some were actually sectioned at the time and nonsensical conversations were taking place among the staff regarding making patients ‘take responsibility’. So they were deemed not to be capable of deciding whether to take medication or not and had been deprived of their liberty – but if they shouted or swore at staff (which was usually the ‘crime’ committed in these cases) they were held fully responsible and prosecuted. One patient spent 3 weeks in Liverpool prison after he told a nurse during a phone call that he felt so desperately suicidal that he was going to ‘chop a gas pipe’. Desperate people (who were often being denied adequate care) were treated as serious criminals in the making. And they only ever discovered which consultants were demanding they be arrested and charged if their lawyers obtained their medical records. In two cases that I know of the consultant demanding that arrests should be made wasn’t even the patient’s consultant. The situation got so bad at the Hergest Unit in Bangor that it soured the relationship with the local police – they got utterly fed up of being told to drag someone distressed unwell person off to the cells for a ‘crime’ that the police had no interest at all in pursuing. I was also told that so many mental health patients were appearing in court under these circumstances that the local magistrates were expressing concern. Interestingly enough, at this Unit some patients had alleged physical abuse from staff – yet the police were never called in to investigate that.

      • Sally – this is so terrifying. My son was sectioned once in 2005, totally illegally, the sectioning doctors were out of hours private, not NHS, but owing to a competent psychiatrist at the unit we got him out. I then had in 2007 the OS, Martin’s litigation friend in the Court of Protection ask for a judicial review to have him sectioned against the decision of all the medical doctors involved, who were adamant that Martin is not sectionable. Martin has epilepsy, legally and medically this is not a mental health problem. He is now held in a residential care home in Cardiff under a Dols that is way way beyond illegal. Apart from these blogs,no-one cares at all. My husband was clinically depressed, and I saw that the Mental Health Act was a reasonable attempt to deal the mental health problems legally. But now I despair

  5. Hi Shirley
    It is indeed terrifying but I’m not sure that ‘no-one cares at all’ – there is great concern in some quarters about what is going on, but there is a sort of terror involved that ‘we mustn’t let the general public find out just how bad it is’. I have had many interesting conversations with a number of interesting people and there is real concern out there – remember, politicians receive correspondence (and a lot of it) about these matters. The thing that always leaves me gobsmacked is just how powerless everyone feels, even people in positions where one would imagine that changes could be made – then when people like Sara successfully bring the wrongdoing into the public domain, everyone just backs off terrified lest some of the crap sticks to them, maintaining that they can’t ‘intervene’ – even when they happen to be the Health Minister.

  6. Sally
    there are many reasons why people are so tentative in raising complaints on even the worst abuses and tragedies.

    Many families have tried and have found:
    1. that they are met by an aggressive defensive offensive by the organisation..at time when they are in grief or under huge stress.

    2. resilient families can be destroyed on the wheel of the many years lengthy – pretty useless toothless Public complaints processes.

    3. There is little or no legal support for families of people with learning disability..or mental ill health..who would challenge Public orgs. While bottomless purse from tax payer funds the same for organisation.

    4. The hugely rewarded..old boy club – gathers around failing other- includes use of some consultants – and ensures a bomb proof teflon resistance to improvement.

    5. Staff
    (including CE’s and Directors – Govs – and NEDs professionals and clinicians and support staff at every level..) who would improve things and who challenge abuse and incompetence etc…can be intimidated and/or sidelined and/or constructively dismissed…and they leave.

    6. And the biggest issue of all – the greatest majority of the public who are offended against have no idea how to go about complaining…even if they had the energy/personal or financial means to do so.

    One has only got to consider all the resistances Sara and her family have met…over these plus three years – and have found under the mossy stones they have uncovered…

    Disrespected..ridiculed..bruised…and worse. Only the very few can do what Sara and her family have achieved. But at what a cost.

    Nothing improves where there are status benefits and rewards to powerful individuals – for ensuring things stay the same.

    • Succinctly put! And what I also discovered is that not many of them have clean hands either – so if someone in public life finally does wish to raise a concern, they will be told ‘well if you knew about this all along why have you kept quiet so far?’ I’ve seen it in action…

    • I have been in the CoP for over 10 years on Martin’s behalf. I have put in complaint after complaint, all legally valid, all ignored. I have employed at least 10 solicitors and 6 barristers, all to no avail. I am repeatedly told that it is Martin’s case, and he must apply (capacity or not). I have written to MPs, the Law Commission, the Law Society, etc etc. The only person who replied, and sympathised was Lord Hardie of the House of Lords Commission on the MCA, The committee found that Dols was not fit for purpose. Tell me anyone anywhere who will listen. And dont forget, Sally, that we are continually threatened with stopping all contact with our sons and daughters, or with contempt of court with a penal notice. And of course as a mother “they” always say there is a conflict of interest between me and my son. Munchhausen’s by proxy included.

      • I am well aware of the bile and spite directed towards – and indeed the dreadful ‘diagnoses’ applied to – anyone who raises concerns – I have been subjected to it myself but the difference between me and a lot of the contributors to this blog is that I didn’t have children that could be taken away…

      • No, things must change, if we stick together – united we win.
        Remember the secret hearings in Social Care that were so common. That changed.
        A good person being at your side can make a difference – but until advocacy cones back, that stays a huge concern.
        Some MPs care, but many don’t. Luck is important, as it’s a postcode lottery for MPs, but so are Circles of Friends important – the thing is not to rely on meetings as few people can make them.
        Meetings should be small and frequent and with core people, specific re particular things.
        A meeting that is supposed to tackle everything as CPAs are, usually tackle almost nothing, I’ve found.

        Sorry if I seem naive, but I used to see the tables turn and some things change suddenly. I’ve seen people embarrassed, and there was a better time about 6 or 7 years ago, with better regulators.
        Right now, as it’s all about cuts, the spotlight is mostly somewhere else.
        People who should act are too focussed on money and holidays and their own lives.
        It feels as if no one cares – to quote a book I’m reading,
        ‘ We’re caught up .. in the hurly burly .. world (of) Newtonian and Darwinian .. culture of competitive individualism. The winner takes all approach to life actually goes against the grain. Deep down we know something isn’t right about the way we all live, for our fundamental need is one of connection and wholeness, not separation’.
        I used to see care plans for physical, psychological, health, and spiritual – yes, spiritual – needs.
        Let’s steer in the direction we want, use the language we want.
        Bureaucracy is a second language, not our first.
        Hope this makes sense.

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