‘A grunt and a nod…’

The Nursing and Midwifery Council produced its determination of facts yesterday. Six nurses referred by Southern Health who also decided the psychiatrist had done no wrong. (We referred her. She was eventually suspended for 12 months by the Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service panel last November, saved in part from being struck off because she worked in ‘the difficult field of learning disabilities’.)

The difficult field of learning disabilities

The NMC hearings have been going on for a few months now. We boycotted them. We didn’t think the nurses should have been referred (and the NMC sploshed our personal details to them and others). It turns out the NMC panel is as unenlightened as the MPTS panel.

The determination is 66 pages long and deeply repetitive as charges and evidence overlap. I seriously hope a dedicated and brilliant doctoral student will one day meticulously analyse the content of these disciplinary hearing documents which are laden with assumptions, snide judgements, some pontification and ignorance.

The most distressing part (these documents always rip your heart out, punch it repeatedly and intricately slice it with a Stanley knife seasoned with chilli and lime) is the callous dismissal of LB as someone ‘too difficult to make a care plan with’.

No one is too difficult to make a care plan with.

A sort of peripheral (that is, never engaged with him because he wasn’t ‘assigned to her’) learning disability nurse giving evidence said LB ‘didn’t verbally communicate a lot, he’d sit and listen and you’d get a grunt and a nod but you wouldn’t get much to go on’.

You fucking what? [Howl]

The panel accepted this statement without question and thought it important enough to regurgitate in the determination. It will be on public record, ironically demonstrating where serious nursing issues lie. With no comment or reflection.

How can an NMC panel be so complicit in denying LB’s humanity?

Why are these panels so fucking ignorant?

Why? As LB would ask, repeatedly.

The determination goes on to consider the charge that we were unjustifiably restricted from visiting LB by having to ring and ask permission to visit him in the unit. [There were advertised visiting times.]

I dunno.

Phoning to ask permission to visit a patient? Within visiting hours. Daily. For 106 days….

Ahhh. Difficult mum stuff again. They really can’t help themselves. Dismissed at LB’s inquest, publicly retracted by Southern Health in June 2016, and summarily dismissed at the Health and Safety Executive hearing in March 2018 (below), mother blame is back again. And again…

Tsk, said the panel, oblivious to this history. Oblivious to LB dying. [He died.] Oblivious to any understanding of what this experience must be like. Oblivious to anything. Including an almost complete lack of off site visits and therapeutic sessions that family visits could ‘clash with’.

The charge was unproved. (“difficult”) Relative A clearly misunderstood the point of having to phone and ask. This was no (quote) “unjustified” restriction. It was justified given the frequency of the family visits.

We visited too much.

A new coating of mother-blame assimilated into these disciplinary hearings without reflection. Do panel members ever venture out into daylight? Christ. Are these panels linked to the anonymous ‘panels’ that make decisions around budgets and other stuff when our kids turn 18? Who are these panel people? How do you become one? Are they middle class (typically white) people with exclusive life experiences?

Does anyone scrutinise panel membership?

There’s no logic, sensitivity or apparent thought underpinning this latest determination. And no dot joining between the evidence from other hearings (or around the deaths of Edward, Richard, Danny, Thomas, Oliver, etc etc etc). Each person is singled out as an atomised being, subjected to different, unfathomable, barbaric rules, actions and judgements. Without any apparent recognition or awareness by ‘panels’, coroners, ‘independent investigators’…

Why are these dots so hard to join?

Ordinary people (and juries) get it.

13 thoughts on “‘A grunt and a nod…’

  1. So sorry that they continue to dishonour you, your family, and LB. Shameful, inexcusable, callous, unprofessional, and… alas… predictable.

  2. Terrible and sad and eery how they do the same stuff over and over all over the world. I’m at the other side of the world. I was banned from visiting because i said to the doctor who detained my son ilegally for being” guarded” that i hoped God would forgive her ( I was actually being sarcastic) but that was me being “overly emotional ” a phrase they use in psychiatry to dismiss your claims of negligent care and to prevent you being a voice for the person you love. Sara thinking of you as you wade thru more shit one tough tiger mother love kx

  3. All these ‘regulatory bodies’ are like Mafia clean-up teams. They tidy up the mess and clean away the evidence so that nothing sticks to the real culprits – the funders and the decision makers. Then everything goes on as before. #corruptbydesign

  4. Sarah

    This is just so stupid – ignorant in fact. But to stick to something I know so much about

    “he’d sit and listen and you’d get a grunt and a nod but you wouldn’t get much to go on’”

    Aren’t lots of people – LD and others just like that? My husband springs oddly to mind..

    But no-one asked to work out care plans with LD people should expect them to be particularly verbal – and especially not if they are ill or just on unfamiliar territory.

    Sending as many good wishes as I can scrape together

  5. The most agonising situation that your blog highlights Sara is the fact that things can be written about your loved one by doctors, psychiatrists and other medical staff which may not be correct or truthful and it stays there and follows them all through their life. Every future doctor picks up the file and believes that what is written down is gospel.

    My son had an hip operation when he was 17 years old. He was refined to bed with a wooden pole keeping his legs apart. He was like that for nearly three months. Towards the end of his stay in hospital he began to get angry with me. I visited every day and did his personal care. I was even written into his hospital notes. My husband did the night shift after he came home from work.
    He never got angry with my husband or the doctors, nurses or any other hospital staff. Only me.
    He probably knew he was safe with me because like most mothers we give unconditional love. He knew he would be forgiven and so he would vent his frustration out on me. He was bored and he hated the physiotherapy because it hurt! The thing is the doctors wrote into the notes that he was challenging. My son came out of hospital suffering with epilepsy probably caused by the trauma of lying on his back for three months or maybe even the anaesthetic, but he stopped being challenging for 26 years.

    Roll forward 26 years and my son now is suffering from a psychosis caused by the number of years spent on AEDs, and with the trauma of withdrawing from them. I have questioned the fact that the anti-psychotic medication he now takes is making him angry and challenging but his psychiatrist says but he was challenging when he 17 years old. No explanation is in the notes as to why he was angry. Just that he was. Wrong wrong wrong.

  6. The NMC nurses sound not particularly bright, may have an axe to grind, and the whole event is like being stabbed in the back, just muddying what was already clarified.
    The one that wasn’t assigned to LB is even quoted???

    So many hearings with so many people including many unnecessary people, but they couldn’t listen to LB when he needed it.

  7. This puts me off even trying to pursue complaints. It’s good families are trying to shine light on how crap the whole regulatory system is because it is obvious that as a patient I would get nowhere. I wish care in the UK was safer. Im scared about my future when even a high profile fight for justice like this still shows the family blamed/smeared and standards of regulation practically inept.

    • Very well put, but that’s what they want, for people not to complain. We need a genuinely independent investigation and shorter process.
      Years ago, complaints in my experience were dealt with a lot better. And this high profile case is highlighting where the system is at.

  8. There are no words to add in respect of ‘mother-blame’ for visiting LB almost daily. Of course, one doesn’t know the situation of the families of other patients in the unit but all NHS Trusts should welcome family involvement – not discourage it – whatever the age of the patient.

    The only criticism on visiting ‘loved-ones’ I experienced was when, having lived abroad for four years, we brought our two cats back to UK. We were criticised by the Kennel owners for visiting them two much whilst they were in quarantine!! But never, ever have I experienced such an attitude when I or any of my family were in hospital.

    There is another all too common practice identified in paragraph 3 of the NMC’s Determination of the Facts: important documents were withheld from the NMC’s expert, which “Should have been obtained by the NMC”. This implies that Sloven withheld the documents and that they were only discovered when produced by the ‘defendants’. This is a common theme throughout Sara’s blog – whether for ‘independent’ investigations, disclosures to Sara, and even to the Coroner.

    And Sara is not alone – it’s still going on. It happened with CRASH’s complaint to the GMC (key evidence destroyed or withheld by Sloven) and with another complainant right now: https://999crash.wordpress.com/2018/07/08/polishing-a-turd/.

  9. Connor was a unique, beautiful – quirky – beloved – son and brother.

    I undersdand .the phrase – ‘blowing smoke up …’..etc….

    Truth deliberately obscured.

    ‘Smoke’ of all colours and density has been been blown here.

    We mums and dads know all about this.

    We breathe in it while we love – support – and struggle to keep our beautiful boys and girls safe and happy…

    while careless and lazy people – minimise us and ours – reduce us to ‘ difficult’ ….while obscuring their motive… and mistakes.

    ..blowing ‘ ‘who do think you are” ..smoke…” mother blame” smoke. Deliberate, brutal – personal attacking.. choking ‘smoke’ .

    to choke us. . by design…to cripple..us… to a dead stop.

    But we are not blinded. ..by it..

    For we know our beautiful boys and girls are crippled and they die from ..

    care ….less….ness.

    Crystal clear.

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