Three questions posed to the Board on 26 January 2016 – all (except partly question 3) to be answered in the Minutes or at next Board Meeting on 23 February 2016. The questions are abbreviated but the colour-coded chart, ‘Un-investigated Incidents’ (Question 2) is as circulated to Board members at the meeting.
“The Trust claims to promote Equality and Diversity: mindful of the Trust’s specialisms, is there a Board Director who has suffered or is suffering an illness (including if in remission) coming within classifications of Mental & Behavioural Disorders set out in World Health Organisation ICD-10 or American Psychiatric Association DSM-IV? YES/NO.”
I referred at the previous meeting to near-misses. Please refer to the colour-coded document. Katrina Percy recently said, “We are constantly striving to find ways to do things better.”
Why has she engaged proactively in dirty tricks to avoid investigating incidents that range from unlawful to potentially harmful to degrading to discriminatory to unprofessional (and non-therapeutic) to ‘jobsworth’ conduct designed to agitate patients?
It appears to me that she is constantly striving to bury such incidents.
- Patient denied the ability to apply for discharge by deliberate obfuscation, for example (amongst other things) falsely claiming not to have a copy of The Mental Health Act; refusing to print the MHA from the opsi.gov website; and refusing to supply detention paperwork – all for 3½ days. The Trust is obligated to make sure patients are aware of their legal and human rights. How can they do this without giving patients relevant documentation? Clinicians should be available at all times to discharge patients. I quote Patient Information (S2):
“You can do this [request discharge] at any time.”
Potentially harmful conduct: (2) to (5) are relevant to the Connor Sparrowhawk case.
- Hospital had no medical reports on patient’s seizure and suspected stroke/tia for 3½ days after the seizure and suspected stroke/tia – in fact, until 1½ hours before discharge.
- Psychiatric hospital running out of diazepam – potentially needed for seizure patients too.
- Defiance of NICE Guidelines for seizure patients.
- No risk assessment of seizure/suspected stroke patients.
- Defiance of NICE Guidelines and the FAST principle on treatment of suspected stroke/tia patients.
- Patient reported neck injury (potential whiplash from forcible restraint) and asked to see doctor. When patient saw doctor chatting up nurses in the office, Doctor shouted to patient, “Well, it’s still working isn’t it.” Finally examined by different doctor after 3½ days.
- Male patient given another patient’s razor – HIV, hepatitis etc!
- Lack of towel rail in (private) bathroom – patients must leave towels on floor or hung over dusty top of door – infection control! Yet patient information contains an MRSA warning including by, “Contact with dirty surfaces.”
- On-call Consultant trying to change a patient’s medication in a perverse manner, which would have the opposite effect to that intended and also would have obstructed the patient’s ability to apply for discharge – all without a face-to-face review.
- ‘Safe’ patients not allowed to receive visitors in own room.
- Nurse discussing a young lady’s birth control – the lady in nightdress and dressing gown – over a meal with a male patient present.
- Allowing male/female patients to wander around public areas in nightclothes – even during the day. It is best practice and therapeutic to make them get up and dressed in their rooms before entering public areas. It is embarrassing for other patients and visitors too.
- Doctor using, “Slightly dishevelled in appearance. Sweaty and without shoes” as symptomatic of mental illness. Did she expect a patient who’d had a grand mal seizure (with incontinence) 10 hours previously; had been taken to A & E by ambulance without shoes; had been kept hanging around in for 10 hours without knowing what was going on, without food and an opportunity to wash; and was restrained dangerously by the police because no one had carry out a risk assessment – to be dressed for a black-tie dinner?
- Sarcastic comments to patients who can afford private care, for example: “X was reminded this was NHS not private” – in response just to lack of towel rail – which has infection control issues too. In the health sector, discrimination includes discrimination for non-protected characteristics, such as perceived class and wealth grounds, as well as those protected by statute.
Unprofessional and un-therapeutic:
- Doctors, nursing and administrators all sitting aloof at same table at mealtimes not mixing with patients.
- Mixing patients with mild (if any) mental illness with those with severe (and frightening to others) mental illness, inconsistent with requirement for a calm and restful environment.
‘Jobsworth’ conduct – designed to annoy.
- Jobsworth, for example application of PAT testing and other rules.
- ‘Safe’ patients not allowed to keep personal items such as razors and cables in their own rooms –which contain lockable boxes.
This is not necessarily an exhaustive list.
The reaction to this question was telling: Katrina Percy’s face was a picture and a Director/Doctor retorted, “Where did you get all that from?” Unfortunately, the questioner told the truth but “That’s for me to know and you to find out” would have been better.
They’d better get the answer right – otherwise more trouble!
Does the Chairman have a zero-tolerance policy towards breaches of the law and dishonesty? When there is prima facie evidence of such conduct, which arguably is corrupt, will he suspend any officials pending a full disciplinary inquiry?
ANSWER to Q3
The Chairman answered, “YES” to breaches of the law but hedged his bets on dishonesty: our views on dishonesty differ. I include not just deliberate dishonesty but dishonesty when professionals (by their professed knowledge) should know they are being dishonest, i.e. the ‘Know or should have known’ test for negligence.