Antelope House and those old tear waterfalls

I’m stripping this post back to the minimum in an attempt to try to help Jim Mackey, Jeremy Hunt and others understand the gravity of what was/is happening here. Screen grabs, minimal text and links.

Going back to 2011 when the CQC found major concerns at a Sloven run mental health unit, Antelope House, after the death of Michelle Connor.


In response to this inspection, Percy pitched up to a Hampshire and Southampton Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee Joint Meeting to answer concerns. She typically dismissed the seriousness of the inspection report. The deeply inappropriate ‘we’re no worse’ excuse dragged out five years later when the Mazars review was published:


And went on to state:

Overall, a shift in the culture of the organisation was needed, and bad practices of the past needed to be left behind.

Bad practices of the past, eh? A set of responses were presented, summarised here (worth reading in full if you can bear to):

  • Internal inspections were currently going on across the whole trust.
  • An audit and completion of all care records was completed within 12 hours of receipt of the CQC draft report.
  • Care plans are now subject to regular, unannounced spot checks.
  • Implementation of immediate training and training scheduled for the near future.
  • The locked door policy was not being fully implemented.
  • Patient experience is important. Sloven want to return the trust and confidence of the public.
  • And a load of other utter bollox. Including training is embedded into practice, “a very senior nurse”has been brought in to provide the clinical leadership needed. Oh, and “The CQC unfortunately did not speak with service users whilst undertaking their inspection.”

Recommendations that have been regularly and repeatedly ringing ever since. With each death and inquest. Oh, and there was the usual evidence of the (Percy) Sloven way. A focus on ‘awards’ and glitziness to distract from the serious issues.


The meeting ended with blankety blank type shite.

A year later Hannah Groves died…


And other unfoldings…

ah3In the meantime, Sloven took over the Ridgeway provision in Oxfordshire. Apparently experts in mental health and learning disability provision (despite all these experts having left in the previous year or so). Ms Percy was huffing her puff and stuff online, regardless.

Once the lucrative contract was signed, Sloven withdrew from pretty much any engagement with the Oxon services. The white noise they talked about in the 2011 meeting didn’t translate into action. Just words to appease vaguely interested audiences. The 12 hour urgency type stuff was fakery. The exec never took the very obvious health and safety failings seriously. And haven’t since.

Here we are. Five years on. Deaths. More deaths. And closure.


However, Southern Health did not believe that the areas requiring improvement were of a serious nature, and were not of the scale seen on recent documentary programmes (e.g. Panorama programme on Castlebeck). [2011]

Our beautiful, beautiful boy. A life (one of many) snuffed out because the Sloven exec (and those who should have been keeping watch from above) simply didn’t.

There was a ruling yesterday by the judge in the horrific Alton Towers crash case. So much resonates here.

at1 at2 at3

Sloven’s catastrophic failure to assess risk, woefully inadequate safety procedures, failure to communicate and being a shambles explains why LB, and so many others, died. Well, with a hefty dose of arrogance, an obsession with reputation and awards, and stupidity. Typing this through a now familiar waterfall of tears and rage, I don’t understand why we are still fighting. Why people are spending their time digging through this shite, committed to exposing the grubbiness that is publicly available, when so many are paid to do so and don’t.

If anyone from NHS Improvement, NHS England, the Health and Safety Executive or Department of Health (well anyone, really) could explain why we still have no answers or accountability over three years after LB’s death, please do.

This is state sanctioned cruelty.

2 thoughts on “Antelope House and those old tear waterfalls

  1. Jeremy Hunt et al absolutely understand the gravity of what is happening, just as the Welsh Govt understand the gravity of what is happening in the mental health services in north Wales – vulnerable people are being wiped out by the NHS. Yesterday I met with a senior manager of the Health Board in north Wales which is now in special measures. She spent a long time with me, listened and kept telling me that the senior management team were ‘absolutely committed’ to transforming the mental health services in north Wales. Unlike previous senior managers in north Wales she had a good grasp of social policy and clearly knew just how dire the service in north Wales is. She talked a lot about patient engagement, culture change and overcoming ‘legacy’ issues (I presume what she was referring to here was the historically dreadful service in north Wales that has been dominated by a small group of notoriously abusive practitioners). She clearly recognised that there is a mountain to climb. But the point that I kept putting to her that she didn’t deal with is how do you transform a service when no-one – either practitioners, managers or Board members – is ever removed no matter how great their wrongdoing or how much evidence is produced to demonstrate that wrongdoing. Your blog posts eloquently demonstrate that this is happening in Southern. I have watched it in north Wales. You can kill a lot of people in the NHS and remain in your job. Your organisation can kill a lot of people and even if an investigation is held no-one will be held accountable. The best the complainants will ever get is an admission of ‘systemic failure’ or a generalised ‘mistakes were made’. I will keep repeating the Mid-Staffs point – after the biggest NHS scandal in history, the GMC took action against no-one. The Government at the time knew what was happening at Mid-Staffs and took no action. You are quite right to contrast what happened in the wake of the Alton Towers crash this with what happens in the NHS. The state can kill and harm people on a scale that no-one else can.

  2. Who designs and builds these awful unnatural environments like Antelope House?
    They cost so much but look so unliveable. It must feel like 1984 to go to one of these places.
    Where are the experts who are supposed to understand mental wellbeing – I’m sure they’re working in places that are humanely designed and nicely furnished, home from home.
    We’re spiritual beings – not minds to be played about with.

    Physical illnesses need easy clean designs, the most basic aesthetics, as art and design aren’t needed much where surgical operations are happening.
    Mental disability or illness need a nurturing environment. Nurturing.
    Even if places aren’t homes, they should look and feel human.
    What waste of money, and neglect of life.
    People and families should be design consultants.

    Why not start with a ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’ type film, to make the point.
    And a short stories collection of our own experiences?
    I just read Mark Neary’s play idea, and have often thought similarly.
    My daughter invented some short amazing fantasy stories years ago, about her brother, to help us cope when everything crashed – I couldn’t have laughed during that time if it wasn’t for her. We used to cry and laugh and believe they could happen.
    Her fantastic images I can’t write about here, but they’re in my head to go to when I need to, and I love her for her imagination.
    The siblings share each other’s life spans – we need guidance from them.

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