Open letter to Chairman

[Author’s details redacted for online purposes only]

OPEN LETTER                                                                              22 December 2015

[Southern Health’s address redacted for brevity]

Dear Mr Petter

Crisis Management & The Mazars Review

It is clear that the serious delays in publication of the Mazars Review; the Trust’s alleged challenges to the Review; obfuscation over publication date; and its responses to leaked extracts and the final report are achieving the opposite of what they purport to achieve.

I refer for example to the ‘Briefing note’ prepared by Dr Gordon dated 16th November 2015:

“Our primary concern is for the wellbeing of the patient groups that the Trust serves.”

“Well-being, motivation and morale of the Trust’s workforce is [sic] also at the forefront of our consideration….”

It is evident from TV interviews with families and the leak of staff circulars that the Trust’s actions are having exactly the opposite effect. Lack of decisive action is: seriously harming the wellbeing of patient groups and staff morale, whilst Katrina Percy’s mulish refusal to resign; the Board’s failure to suspend her; and allegations of surveillance are equally counter-productive.

There are 15 members of staff in your Communications and Engagement team, which purportedly is responsible for reputation management, yet the Trust’s actions suggest none of them has expertise in Crisis Management – or the Board is not listening to them.

The first principle of Crisis Management is to bring the crisis to an end as quickly as possible to limit negative publicity and move into recovery. Intended or not, the Trust’s actions have served only to extend the crisis and increase negative publicity. So long as this continues, negative publicity will increase and the Trust’s ability to recover decrease – both logarithmically.

Also it appears there is nobody guiding your executive directors on what they should say and write. For example, it was ill-advised of Dr Gordon to make the above comments, which many interpret as insincere, and, whilst reference to, “Killing” people (implying intent) are inexcusable, it is injudicious to give defamatory comments even more publicity by re-publishing them.

I hope you will reflect on this over the next few days and take affirmative action to end this crisis.

Yours sincerely


See more on Crisis Management at:

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