Laminating the dead

These posts are coming a bit quicker right now. Sign of grim times still. There was an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Learning Disability meeting yesterday. Barbara Keeley MP tweeted after the meeting clearly laying out the continuing failure to get people out of ATUs. The meeting involved a mother talking about her son’s ongoing inpatient treatment then a load of blather. Helen Whately, Care Minister, was present and again, seemingly excelled in mediocrity.

I don’t know why, nearly 10 years on from Winterbourne View these meetings need to involve the live retelling of atrocity stories. We’ve heard so many now it’s become almost voyeuristic, generating faux horror from a bunch of dusty parliamentarians many of whom couldn’t give a flying fuck outside of that space. It can also be parasitic and draining emotional labour for the storytellers and others present.

The way in which these meetings are organised sustains a narrative of disposable humans and bleak lives while taking time from what should be a clear, focused and strategic discussion on, er, action. It always seems to be the same parents in attendance too. The same small group of cherry picked bods.

This morning on twitter the discussion continued with John Lish dismissing APPGs as a meaningless industry. Five seconds of googling found that it is our old chum Mencrap which organises these meetings. Bit of a giveaway really in calling it ‘Our APPG’ on the website.

Holy macaroni. I tumbled straight back to an underground cafe near the Houses of Parliament where, months after Connor died Rich and I were invited to a meeting at the House of Commons by Mencrap. Not the learning disability APPG I’m now wondering? Surely not… In that dim space, we met other bereaved families and I was given an A4 laminated photo of Connor. Eh?

An hour later, ‘important’ people spoke at the meeting while families sat silently around the edge of the room. Five minutes before the end of the meeting, we were told to stand and hold up our laminated dead.

Seven years on and Mencrap is still laminating the dead. Still following the same revolting template of presenting bereaved or devastated parents to a room of pomp and performance. Nothing has changed. John is right. This is an industry. And further evidence that nothing will change while Mencrap retains the power the organisation has to effectively maintain the status quo in its own self interest.

4 thoughts on “Laminating the dead

  1. It’s hard to explain how much I needed to read this today. How important to hear your truth. I’m still stumbling forward trying to do more good than bad. This is essential reading. Thank you. Again.

  2. I share your concern. But M.P.s are not elected to care and most of them don’t. The committees are just talking shops. You only have to look at PACAC investigations and reports in to the long term and ongoing failings of PHSO the NHS and associated groups. Jeremy Hunt was and still is a voice in the wilderness who nobody takes any notice of. . These meetings are pointless until they start getting something done for the people who pay their wages.

  3. At the inquest into the death of Joanna Bailey, the coroner refused to permit the jury to consider Joanna’s death was contributed to by neglect, despite the jury finding that found that: CPR was not administered prior to emergency services arriving; there were inconsistent observations of Joanna; and that her care plan was not accessible to staff. In total, the jury expressed 11 concerns:

    1. The availability of radios and communications
    2. Quality of audits and spot checks
    3. Quality of training and competency including regular follow ups
    4. Communication, comprehension and understanding e.g. language barriers with staff and patients
    5. Staff shortages
    6. Communicating effectively with family
    7. Training on relevant and patient specific equipment
    8. Fear of blame culture stopping adequate care of patients in response to emergency situation
    9. Management information
    10. Relevant patient information to be accessible to all staff
    11. Governance and control

    AND EVEN THE SUM TOTAL OF THAT LOT DOESN’T CONSITUTE NEGELCT. I would call it corporate neglect.

    If anyone wishes to express their views, the Coroner was Yvonne Blake at Norwich Coroners Court. You might like to copy them on Sara’s blog too.

  4. ‘A rage, a deep sadness and despair is what we are left with.’ Your sentence Sara sums it all up.

    I weep for the injustice shown to the parents of Joanna Bailey and Thomas Rawnsley. They must feel so bloody angry and hurt and powerless. I feel so sad that caring parents and their loved ones are so under valued by the leaders of our judiciary, government and NHS. These are the people who should be called ‘them’.

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