Heroes & villains

Campaigners

Supergirl

Superwomen

Valerie Walsh – resigned as peer support worker to protect her health after being given “dressing down” for challenging things happening under Katrina Percy’s regime, likening it to the North Korean Congress – nobody dare challenge her. Read more

Jade Taylor – lost close family member in the Mid Staffs scandal; a whistle-blower in the NHS; and attended The Shambles, where she was deeply disturbed to find nothing had changed since the Francis Report.

 

Public Governors

Ninja

Silent Assassin

Peter Bell – 侍 (Samurai¹)

Leader of rebel governors: quiet and thoughtful but stands up square and firm to Tim ‘bovver boy’ Smart in the face of threats.

Read more →

 

Superman

Supermen

 

John Green, Richard Mandunya and Arthur Monks

For standing up to Tim ‘bovver boy’ Smart alongside Peter Bell and attending ‘The Shambles‘ despite threats of removal.

 

 

hovverers

Hoverers

Susie Scorer, Tom Whicher, Sue Smith, John Beaumont, Josie Metcher. We add Professor Holmes – an appointed governor but  who has unanswered questions over his independence.

Will these be promoted to supermen/women or relegated to chickens? Failed to attend ‘The Shambles‘ so have they succumbed to the bovver boy’s charms? The jury is out! 

 

chickens

Chickens

There are a few candidates in mind but, having witnessed Tim ‘bovver boys’ Smart’s intimidating tactics, we are reserving judgement (see above). The jury is out.

 

 

 

Staff Governors

48599760_sa

Gagged

Alia Gomez, Vicky Melville, Nick Sargeant, Paul Valentine 

One can only sympathise with staff governors in an organisation  akin to the North Korean Congress. There are stories of one being in tears at a meeting because they feel powerless.

We suggest just doing your best to uphold staff morale – campaigners hold nothing against you.

 

Appointed Governors

Head in Sand

Heads in the Sand

Andrew Joy and Paul Lewsey – too concerned about exposing their Councils’ serious failings (under their joint service agreements with Southern Health) to be of any use at all as governors. Bullied by Council officials into not meeting patients.

Adrian Thorne – huge disappointment as he represents Carers Together Hampshire. Failed to attend ‘The Shambles‘ to meet carers. Any carers out there should have a word in his ‘shell-like’.

 

Lead Governor

Vidkun_Quisling

Quisling

Andrew Jackman – collaborator² with the Board.

Traitor to the public he is supposed to represent, with a massive and largely undeclared conflict of interest. Read more

Deserving of a dedicated blog post – but a waste of space [pun intended].

 

 

¹ Originally, 忍者 (Ninja) seemed appropriate for Peter Bell – a covert agent, infiltrator or assassin in feudal Japan.  However, their covert methods were deemed “dishonourable” and “beneath” the samurai caste, who observed strict rules about honour and combat.

侍 (Samurai) were the military nobility and officer caste of medieval and early-modern Japan. Peter’s robust and honourable defence of governors’ rights and support for family representatives in the face of threats makes him far more Samurai than Ninja.

² The word ‘quisling’ originates from the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during the Second World War.

The Times editorial asserted:

“To writers, the word Quisling is a gift from the gods. If they had been ordered to invent a new word for traitor … they could hardly have hit upon a more brilliant combination of letters. Aurally, it contrives to suggest something at once slippery and tortuous.”

He was executed by firing squad at on 24 October 1945. The word “quisling” has since become a synonym for “collaborator” or “traitor,” reflecting the very poor light in which Quisling’s actions were seen, both at the time and since his death.

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Bovver boy

Fatcats

££££££££££££££££££££££££££

 

Named 14th fattest cat in the NHS by the Daily Telegraph in 2011, has Mr Tim ‘bovver boy’ Smart, done his job and fired Katrina Percy and Dr Lesley Stevens?

You bet not.

 

 

Instead, he has achieved the impossible by receiving two complaints against him alleging that he bullied family representatives and governors who chose to speak out against the Trust at the recent Board Meeting – and he did it in public! Read more….

And surprise, surprise, in the 2015 survey of NHS staff, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, (where he was Chief Executive Officer) had a worse record for bullying staff than Southern Health under Katrina Percy’s regime, which was itself recently likened to the North Korean Congress! In brief:

 

  1. The % of staff experiencing harassment, bullying and abuse from staff was “!Above (worse than) averageat King’s and had not improved since the 2014 survey, whilst at Southern Health it was “Average”¹ and no change.
  2. If discrimination in an indicator of bullying, those figures don’t look great either. The % experiencing discrimination at work at King’s was “!Above (worse than) average” whilst the comparative figure at Southern Health was “Average”.
  3. And in case anyone thinks that the % witnessing potentially harmful errors, near misses or incidents in the month preceding the survey could be worse than Southern Health’s ranking, “!Above (worse than) average” with no change since 2014 , then King’s tops the lot:

    “!Highest (worst) 20%

And it was worst in 2014 too.

SHNFT - Staff Survey 2016-05-26 001

 

For full surveys click here and search by Trust name.

 

 

 

 

 

Kings Staff Survey 2016-05-26 001

Here is the gist of a complaint to NHS Improvement and Southern Health (HR):

“Mr Smart has received two complaints about his conduct towards Governors and the public at the Board Meeting on 24 May 2016. To paraphrase your Bullying & Harassment Policy, his behaviour was perceived as offensive, intimidating, malicious and insulting (to one’s intelligence). It was an abuse of his position and (in ** opinion) intended to undermine, humiliate and denigrate. His behaviour was unwarranted and unwelcome to those in the public seats.

It made many in the public seats feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated and offended. As your policy confirms, even if there was no intent to cause offence (which * dispute), if an individual’s perception is that the behaviour and conduct is unacceptable; it is the impact of the conduct and not the intention which determines whether or not the behaviour is unacceptable.”

The fact that he has received two formal complaints speaks for itself. At least two people perceived he was bullying them and both know (from discussions after the meeting) that they represent the views of others present.

 Bully2                             

Great start Smart!

 

 

And NHS [Un]-Improvement’s response, “Dear John….” – too angry to comment tonight.

¹ The ‘average’ refers to the ranking across England compared to all acute trusts for King’s and all combined Mental Health, Learning Difficulties and Community Trusts for Southern Health. It is reasonable to argue that the majority of Southern Health’s patients are seriously ill, albeit not in terms of physical illness.

Bullying

Bully

Classic example of bullying yesterday … not towards staff (who are probably used to it anyway) but towards Governors and the public who had the temerity to ask difficult questions to Interim Chairman, Tim ‘bovver boy’ Smart yesterday.

 

First, here is a snippet from the The Lymington Times‘ following The Shambles.

Lymington Corner 2016-05-25 001

 

So even before the Bored Meeting [typo intended] this week, Southern Health threatened to remove the four governors prepared to speak up for patients and families.

 

In this context, it was rank hypocrisy for Smart to tell the Board that families would give their views through the Council of Governors. Yet when they tried to gain the views of families, he tried to stop them from doing so and threatened to remove them.

For brevity, here is the text of a letter from Peter Bell (a rebel governor) to Smart dated 24 May 2016. (For brevity courtesies removed and some paragraphs combined.)

“I would like to raise two items immediately with you following today’s meeting:

  1. Exclusion of Governors from Part 2 of the board meeting

At today’s meeting, having made an initial statement concerning the governance practices you were going to adopt, which included openness and transparency, you then reversed the decision of the previous chair, Mike Petter, which was to allow the governors access to copies of the Part 2 board papers and to be invited to observe the Part 2 meeting.

This action was taken by the previous chair so that there was an independent view from the governors on whether items were properly taken in Part 2 of the meeting and representations and challenge could be made as to the appropriateness of excluding press and public from particular items or alternatively suggestions made as to how the larger part of the discussion and decision could be taken in public session with only those essential parts of the report which contained confidential information discussed behind closed doors. 

Indeed, following the last board meeting I made representations to the chair that a large part of the discussion that I had witnessed could more properly have taken place in public and I believe that the former chair was largely in agreement with those observations.

Your decision to reverse the brave decision to invite governors to observe Part 2 on the basis that confidentiality of the Part 2 papers and/or discussions had been breached would appear to be a retrograde step in the move towards openness and transparency.

Could I ask if you are able to provide any clarification on the reason that you gave – in particular, what confidential information has been disclosed, at which meeting was that information tabled or discussed and what can you tell me about your investigations in to who it was that is alleged to have made the disclosure?

As I recall, there were only two members of the Council of Governors who witnessed the last Part 2 board meeting (although, as you know, my short term memory is faulty, so I have little recall of that meeting). So the potential Governors who could possibly have disclosed confidential information are few in number. Accordingly, I would ask that you provide any evidence that you do have of this breach of confidentiality so that the person(s) suspected of this breach could be asked to answer the allegations. 

  1. Complaints raised with you concerning my conduct as a governor

During the first break, you advised me that you had received a number of complaints concerning my conduct. When I indicated that this did not surprise me, you replied that I should as it was my fellows (presumably you mean fellow governors). You also advised me that you were taking legal advice on the situation. 

You will be aware that this matter is covered in the constitution, standing orders and code of conduct and I would ask that you ensure that you comply with the constitution and put any complaints in writing to me so that I could answer them. I would expect this to be done promptly.

I was initially heartened at your statements at the beginning of the meeting concerning the conduct of meetings and the governance standards you expected. However, almost immediately you failed to ensure that speakers announced themselves as you had requested and regrettably I was obliged to bring this to your attention.

Then there was the question of the retrograde step of closing Part 2 meetings. I note that you justify this on the basis that it is common elsewhere. Commonality and the right thing are not necessarily one and the same. I forget the number of times that as a compliance officer a failure to follow best practice has been justified by – it has always been done this way or everyone else does it this way.

My aspirations for this Trust are for it to become one of the best – which means examining critically what is done and I would suggest that both of the usual excuses for not changing the status quo – “it has always been this way” or “everyone else does this” – are a poor substitute for critical assessment of what is actually the best practice. In order to change then the errors of the past do not need to be repeated. If things did not work in the past, simply repeating them is unlikely to provide the changes needed to produce a step change in performance.

And finally, I have to raise concerns about your attitude towards some of the persons (both public and governors) asking questions at the end of the meeting as this did not, to my mind, comply with one of the tenets you set out at the start of the meeting – respect [CRASH’s emphasis]!

I did, as it happens, have some further questions, but your failure to adequately control the questions from the public meant that there was little opportunity for me to put them to the board in a calm, controlled manner and with the respect on both sides that you requested.

I do realise that with the press and public attention emotions can run high however in my experience (which is far more limited than yours) a firm but gentle lead from the chair can make a huge difference to the tone of the meeting. I do not think it looks good for the reputation of the Trust if the chair starts his chairmanship by ending the first public meeting in a rather intimidating fashion.

I am sure that you do not wish to be perceived as a bully as this is one of the traits that we are concerned to eliminate from the management of the Trust at all levels. [CRASH’s emphasis]

Could I ask that, difficult though I know it is, that calm and civility is maintained throughout? Preferably on both sides.

I have been asked by several people about my motives in doing what I have been doing as a member of the Trust and latterly as a Public Governor. I am more than happy to set down in writing that my only motive is to try and ensure that the Trust and all of its staff give the best service to the public that can possibly be achieved with the staff and resources available to the Trust. I have no other agenda.

I would hope that the above statement puts us both on the same side? We may perhaps differ in our approach but I hope that our aim for the Trust is aligned? I look forward to working with you over the coming months.”

To read Peter’s pre-amble and thoughts, click here.

We slightly disagree in respect of Smart’s alleged failure to adequately control questions from the public: yes, Smart was the cause but by his refusal to give straight answers to straight questions and his intimidating manner inflamed emotions.

Then again, Peter is the silent assassin and CRASH is CRASH! In any event – not guilty – we followed on after Peter.

And now, CRASH’s email to Smart:

“Your conduct yesterday towards governors and those asking legitimate questions yesterday was (to put it mildly) distasteful, unbecoming and intimidating. I am not alone in this perception: you should be making allies not enemies.

You should remember that people will treat you in the way that you treat them: your intimidating management style is bound to be met by a fight or flight response. The fact that you addressed me formally (against my express wishes) demonstrates you do not have a clue about the proper way of addressing patients and complainants.

Your implied threat to Peter Bell was disgraceful and your dismissal of John Green’s question unjustifiable. When I challenged you about your attitude towards Peter, you read out a written statement you made at the start of the meeting, which bore no relevance whatsoever to the point I was making. Clearly governors and patient representatives, who are prepared to stand up to you, are unwelcome.

You did not give a straight answer to a straight question – from any of us. I pose mine again (with a third added for clarity):

  1. Do you have a zero-tolerance policy towards Trust Directors who break the law – YES/NO.
  2. Do you have a zero-tolerance policy towards dishonesty by Trust Directors.” – YES/NO.
  3. Do you agree that dishonesty includes both deliberate dishonesty and dishonesty where directors should have known that they were being dishonest (on the principles laid down in Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957] 2 All ER 118) – YES/NO.

These are three very simple questions, you don’t need a team of independent advisors to answer them. It is beyond belief that you could not give a straight answer yesterday.

I emphasise again – you do not have my consent to discuss my personal issues with any other director or officer of the Trust. You have broken patient confidentiality once and I will be discussing this with the Information Commissioner’s Office this morning so that I am fully prepared if you do so again.

I was surprised that John Beaumont had to give you a copy of Hansard 18 Apr 2012: Column 79WH – surprised because you clearly had not done your research.

I attach another recent debate, in which Southern Health was trashed – this time for breaches of data protection legislation. Please see page 4 of the Hansard chapter(attached). On page 4, Mr Clifton-Brown notes:

“One NHS trust, which is alleged to have consistently failed to adhere to data protection principles and to have hidden its failings from NHS England. Make no mistake: concerns about the handling of patient data are very real.”

Unfortunately, Mr Clifton-Brown did not name the Trust or even the geographical area. However, I know he was talking about Southern Health.

And the first thing you do is to break patient confidentiality.”

Bully2

 

And just for fun, the Trust’s policy on bullying is here. Perhaps Smart would like a copy!

 

 

Oh – and while we are on the subject, where was the other member of NHS [Un]-improvement’s dynamic duo yesterday – it’s [Un]-improvement] Director Alan Yates? We were looking for an image of the Invisible Man – then realised, you won’t be able to see it anyway!

Dynamic duo

On 29 April 2016, NHS [Un]Improvement [Monitor] announced: 

“We’re proposing that Tim will join Alan Yates, who was appointed as Improvement Director at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust earlier this year. Tim’s proposed appointment at the top of the organisation will speed up the dramatic change that is needed urgently at Southern Health.”

Tim Smart

Tim Smart

AlanYates_280px

Alan Yates

 

So what urgent and dramatic changes have they made so far?   

 

 

At his first Council of Governors Meeting, Alan Yates was keen to limit expectations because he only works at Southern Health one day a week. Here is a subsequent email to him his business address:

From: [Redacted] Sent: 10 May 2016 10:57 To: ‘info@uhsltd.co.uk‘ Subject:  [RESTRICTED] Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust  Attachments:  To Petter – 20.10.15.pdf; SHNFT – Open Letter to KP, LS – 01.05.16.pdf; Southern Health Open Letter 2 – 20.12.15.pdf Importance: High

Alan

It was a pleasure meeting you, albeit briefly, at the recent Council of Governors Meeting. I cannot recall if you stayed until ‘public questions’ but I believe my deposition finally had impact. Governor agreed that my allegation that Katrina Percy had colluded with Deloitte LPP in order to mislead the Department of Health and Southampton CCG was extremely serious and asked if I could prove it: I did so – I had the documents with me.

Images of the emails are at https://999crash.wordpress.com/2016/02/28/deloitterers/. The redactions are my name and the names of specific officials at the DH and CCG supporting me. It did not surprise me to learn that Deloitte’s Director, Dr Bevington, is a medical doctor! How can anyone justifying paying a fortune to Deloitte for a review of quality and governance – only to manipulate the facts when asked by a CCG and the DoH!

And this is not the only scandal in my data. No wonder a number of executive directors colluded in refusing to complete my Subject Access Request – it took circa 880 days! 

I sent the email below to Tim Smart* (via Monitor) with the same attachments. They are largely self-explanatory and the email contains a number of links, which provide further evidence of serious misconduct by SHNFT Directors. I would be grateful if you could read the email, the attachments and web content via the links provided.

You will note that I requested complete confidentiality, which Mike respected: I would ask you to do likewise, at least until you have more details. Otherwise, you will not get to the truth. Mike was dealing personally with my case so I assume Mr Smart will take it over anyway.

Naturally, if/when you have a dedicated and secure email address at Southern Health, I will use it. Meanwhile, as you will see that I did with Mike (with his agreement), I will use your direct address.

With kind regards, Yours sincerely

* Email to Mr Smart (also dated 10 May 2016) predates those below. For brevity, we do not repeat it here. It contains links to this blog and those of Sara Ryan and George Julian all containing evidence of misconduct (or worse).

Response? None, not even an auto-receipt.

Now an email exchange with Mr Smart.

From: [Redacted] Sent: 17 May 2016 09:47 To: Smart, Tim Subject: Meeting Today Importance: High

Dear Tim

I do hope that you will attend the Council of Governors meeting today, if only to meet some of Southern Health’s victims.

You say (I understand) that you require six weeks to collate evidence. At an earlier Board Meeting this year, Mike Petter confirmed that he had a zero tolerance policy towards officials breaking the law and a (qualified) zero tolerance policy towards officials being dishonest.

Please give me one/two hours of your time (not today) and I will provide proof of both Katrina Percy and Dr Lesley Stevens breaking the law, being thoroughly dishonest and acting in a wholly improper manner – what’s more, the Information Commissioner, the Department of Health and the National Audit Office can corroborate my evidence.

With respect, you do not need six weeks – meet me and you will have grounds to suspend both immediately pending a full disciplinary process. I can also provide damming evidence against two NEDs – Berriman and Spires.

Suspend these four and you are on the way to ensuring Southern Health’s recovery.

I hope to meet you later today. With best wishes etc.


From: Tim.Smart@southernhealth.nhs.uk Sent: 17 May 2016 12:53 To:[Redacted] cc: Louisa.Felice@SouthernHealth.nhs.uk Subject: RE: Meeting Today

Dear [Redacted]

I hope you have seen various pieces of correspondence which confirm that the Extraordinary Council of Governors scheduled for today was adjourned by the Chair on legal advice.

Any meetings taking place today do not have any legal force.

I have met informally this morning with members of eth Council of Governors, and I will shortly reconvene the extraordinary CoG to consider the outputs of a process which the CoG will undertake with the support of independent legal advice which the trust will fund.

On a separate note, I fully intend to meet with patient representatives, as part of my fact finding and considerations, and a programme is under development to enable me to do that.

[Note – no closing courtesies]

Interim Chair Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust 023 8087 4313


From: [Redacted] Sent: 19 May 2016 13:04 To: Tim.Smart@southernhealth.nhs.uk          Subject: OPEN EMAIL Importance: High 

OPEN EMAIL

Dear Tim

Thank you very much for your prompt response. Firstly, I prefer to work on first name terms.

I was fully aware that it was not a formal Governors’ meeting – in fact I think the few Governors, who did want to meet victims and their families, learnt more than had it been a formal meeting! It is a great shame that you felt constrained not to come along on the same basis and also (it appears) actively discouraged other governors from attending.

My immediate concern is threefold.

  1. I refer to my email dated 10/05/2016 at 09:48 hrs, sent to you via NHS Improvement: “I am attaching an email chain between Mike Petter and me to demonstrate that initially (owing to the circumstances of my complaint) we communicated through alternative addresses and he met me at home. In my email of 17 October 2015, I requested complete confidentiality, which Mike respected, and I would ask you to do likewise, at least until we have met.” I am deeply concerned that you have not respected my wishes by copying your recent email to Louise Felice: it does not inspire confidence. Louise is linked inextricably to the institutional dishonesty, to which I have been subjected in the last 4½ years. Undoubtedly, she will attempt to discredit me and probably has already done so: perhaps it explains your reluctance to meet me. I have no problem of course with your PA keeping copies of our correspondence.
  2. In a long career, I have been responsible both for dismissing staff and was unfairly dismissed myself twice. In both respects, I have a 100% success rate and, in respect of dismissing people, I never became even close to being taken to a Tribunal. With this experience, I am confident that the following advice is legally sound. With respect, your claim to need six weeks in respect of Katrina Percy and Lesley Stevens is untenable. At a one hour meeting, I can provide prima facie proof of multiple examples of dishonesty and breaches of Acts of Parliament (arguably amounting to corruption), which is more than sufficient to suspend both of them immediately pending a full disciplinary inquiry. Having suspended them, that is the time to start meeting patient representatives and hear even more evidence for the disciplinary process. There will be less hostility towards you, enabling the meetings to be more constructive. Valerie Walsh’s allegations of being so bullied for speaking out that she had to resign (only last week) to protect her own health shows that nothing has changed. Suspending Percy and Stevens will reduce the fear of reprisals amongst other staff who wish to speak out.
  3. You, “Fully intend to meet with patient representatives” and make no mention of survivors of maltreatment by Southern Health, who can talk from personal direct experience. Please confirm that you intend to meet survivors too. Unfortunately, I have to report that one patient’s representative is very hesitant about meeting you (without dismissing it completely) because of a lack of confidence in your independence already. It is evident that the Trust’s reputation is still spirally rapidly downwards and will continue to do so with Percy and Stevens at the helm. Until they go, you cannot even start the long uphill process of rebuilding public trust. Nothing you say (however well-intended) will help. I hope that you accept this email in the spirit intended.

           Yours etc.

So where, Mr Smart and Mr Yates, is the urgently needed dramatic change at Southern Health? You know that all the evidence is available but refuse to hear it in person – and STILL need another six weeks.

Meanwhile, solicitors and consultants line their pockets at the taxpayers’ expense.

Solicitors recently linked with Southern Health – Capsticks [yes, I know] – won ‘The Health Investor Award (recognising achievement in the business of healthcare)’ for ‘Legal Advisors of the Year – Public’ in 2015 and are shortlisted again in 2016, so why would they want to upset the NHS applecart?

Deloitterers feature in the awards and shortlists too.

Packages for the awards dinner at The Grosvenor from £4,500 for a table of ten (with additional benefits) down to £325 for an individual ticket, both exclusive of VAT. Would be interesting to see the guest list – and who pays!

         

Harmony & shambles

Delightful contradiction on the front page of the printed version of ‘Daily Echo’ on Wednesday, which we just had to share.

Harmony or Shambles 2016-05-19 001

What a contrast. Perhaps the Captain of the Harmony of the Seas and his medical team could swap places with Katrina Percy and crew: that would put the ship on the rocks!

Other bits & pieces

DoH

 

To follow on from my first two emails to the Department of Health, here is the text of the third

 

“You may wish to forward this link to [redacted] too – MPs are calling on the government to intervene. What about the Civil Service beating them to it!

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/health/14498877.MP_calls_for_government

The printed version is even better – am trying to get a spare copy. Meanwhile attached is an image part of the front page – Harmony and Shambles on the same page – ironic really. There’s a double page spread inside too – with a pic of [redacted] above a picture of the Secretary of State.

Would you like me to get hold of a copy for the Department and, if so, shall I post it to you or to [redacted]?

I will be emailing the two named MPs and will let you have a blind copy.”

HarvardHarvard2

 

 

 

 

It appears that a doctor at Harvard Medical School is taking an interest in Southern Health – perhaps a case study on how not to manage a healthcare organisation or a crisis.

Will research this some more but meanwhile at Tuesday’s meeting with the fab four Southern Health governors, Valerie Walsh likened Katrina Percy’s regime to the North Korean Congress? In the US only last year, ‘Sinical Surgeon’ likened a State organisation – a Professional Health Program (“PHP”) – set up to help clinicians to the Gestapo, starting his letter:

“The word of the day is “GESTAPO”, as a noun it is defined as; The German internal security police as organized under the Nazi regime, known for its terrorist methods directed against those suspected of treason or questionable loyalty.”

To read more from the Sinical Surgeon and other medics in the US, click here. Perhaps Katrina Percy should get a job at a PHP in the US.

And researching PHPs, we found a job for Dr Lesley Stevens too. There is a PHP in the UK too – the NHS Practitioner Health Programme – a free and confidential NHS service for doctors and dentists with issues relating to a mental or physical health concern or addiction problem, in particular where these might affect their work. That’s free to the practitioners of course – not the taxpayer.

As Dr Mystic Meg Lesley Stevens can diagnose patients she has never met or even spoken to, she could reduce considerably the cost to the taxpayer of the NHS PHP!

Shambles

HEALTH TRUST ‘A SHAMBLES’

Shambles1

Southern Health Data Controller & RiO Notes!

 

Firstly congratulations to Maxwell Kusi-Obodum for the superb exposé in yesterday’s ‘Daily Echo. The printed version – even better.

Rushed off feet yesterday dealing with fallout from Tuesday’s meeting – emails flying about all over the place.

 

 

 

However, by circa 11.15 hrs, we had confirmation that the two emails below were on the desk (or screen!) of the Assistant Director, Mental Health at the Department of Health and a link to the ‘Shambles’ article will be in the Department’s in-box this morning.

But the story so far: 

1st email to Department of Health:

“I believe I suggested last week that Ministerial intervention is required. Please just read the following three articles – and then perhaps we should talk on the phone with a view to a meeting with [redacted] and her immediate superior (in London) – not just with me but a small number of other ‘victims.’

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/14493859

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/14497597.UPDATE

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/14498877.MP_calls_for_government

The first whistle-blower turned up – but only because she resigned [from Southern Health] last week: she had spoken out internally and severely criticised for doing so – I believe by Percy direct. She described it like working for the North Korean Dictatorship: staff morale is at rock bottom.

It is reported also that the staff governors were nearly (if not actually) in tears at a recent meeting with other governors: simply because they feel powerless and (I suspect) in fear of reprisals themselves.

Some of the stories were harrowing. One mother showed me a letter from Percy, which implicitly apportioned some of the blame on her. It ended something like – “It is a pity that Southern Health and you could not have done more to help your son.” Someone arrived (unexpectedly) who had lost a parent in the Mid Staffs scandal and was in tears: she agreed with what I have been telling you for years – the Francis Report and the Statement of Common Purpose should be torn up.

In fact because the meeting could not be held as a formal Council [of Governors]meeting, it became an informal opportunity for the four strong governors, [who] learnt far more than they would ever have learnt at a formal meeting, where the patient groups’ contribution would have been severely restricted.

In addition ITV and BBC were able to film the whole meeting and there was damming comment on BBC South and Meridian News. There were more reporters from the printed media than even attended the extraordinary meetings in January.

The ‘fab four’ governors are probably worrying about reprisals against them now.

It is evident that whoever selected Tim Smart as Interim Chairman was extremely ill-advised. He has managed to make the reputation and image of an already discredited trust  even worse – in just two weeks. He says he needs 6 weeks – he has access to sufficient evidence against Percy and Stevens to suspend them right now and then go through a proper disciplinary inquiry. No-one is suggesting summary dismissal – just a proper disciplinary process.”

2nd email to Department of Health: (Written reports relating to the TV news bulletins may be still available by searching the BBC and ITV Meridian web sites.

“View some of yesterday’s strong emotions – including bereaved families and the whistle-blower. 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07bgky3/south-today-17052016 and

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2016-05-17/extraordinary-meeting-for-southern-health-leadership-is-cancelled/ 

NB South Today stays on BBC I-player for only 24-hours: the programme went out at 18.30hrs yesterday. I suspect that ITV is the same.

And no comments about me please – have already has “pudding face” from wife and “more chins than China from son.”

In addition to earlier links, which I sent, Articles about the meeting are also at:

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/health/concerns-raised-over-southern-health-at-public-meeting-1-7387770

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/14493555.Vote_of_no_confidence_in_bosses_

There was a reporter from Lymington Times too – but it’s web site is only updated when next (weekly) hard copy is published.

And now the latest horror story:

http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/health/under-fire-trust-will-change-after-suicide-tragedy-1-7380550  13 May 2016, Dr Lesley Stevens

We have also started work to review the risk reporting on our patient records system.

If I had £5 for every time I’ve seen her saying or writing this in the last 4½ years, I might not be rich – but it would more than pay for my season ticket for Harlequins next season!

Shambles2

 

Must have been emotional (and not a little cross) myself yesterday:  my next email to the Department of Health will include an apology for all the typos in the previous emails – identified (and corrected hopefully) here!

 

Spinning heads

Spinning Heads37534697_s

Firstly, click here for details of the bombshell that tempted us to bring a lump hammer to our laptop yesterday:

 

Yes, so it appears that there will be no meeting of the Council of Governors after all – or will there!

The governor, who filed the emergency resolutions, claims that he actually requested funding from Southern Health for independent legal advice but they refused to authorise the expenditure.

So Southern Health allowed him to rely on his knowledge and belief to submit the resolutions – and then suddenly conjured up ‘loadsamoney’ to pay solicitors to discredit his efforts. Is this one of the firms, who already stuff their pockets full with Southern Health’s taxpayer’s money – surely not?

As Mario Puzo said in ‘The Godfather

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“One lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns …”  

 

 

And just to spin your heads around again, one of the furious Governors sent an email this morning:

“As far as I am concerned only the CoG [Council of Governors] itself has the power to adjourn the meeting and so as far as I and a number of other governors are concerned the meeting is still on.”

There’s a very simple solution to this.

Yes, it would incur more legal costs but, rather than use taxpayers’ money to suppress open and transparent debate, the interests of the public, the Trust’s staff  and its patients would be best served by Mr Smart:

1. Instructing an independent Employment Law expert to:

  • Carry out a full disciplinary inquiry into the conduct of relevant executive directors.
  • Review relevant NEDs’ contracts to determine if they can be terminated with immediate effect or (if necessary) carry out a full disciplinary inquiry into their conduct too.

2. Suspending the executive and non-executive directors concerned until the outcome of disciplinary inquiries.

And there’s more. Southern Health’s policy and most of the evidence is in the public domain already. At a ‘Bored’ Meeting on 26 January 2016, the Chairman, Mike Petter took this question:

“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?”

Mike answered:

  • Unequivocally “YES” to breaches of the law.
  • “We have different ideas on what constituted dishonesty.”

The latter is fair comment – there is deliberate dishonesty and there are circumstances when professionals (as a result of their professed expertise) should know they are being dishonest, i.e. the know or should have known test for negligence established in Bolam.

Amongst the evidence against the five named already, there is prima facie proof that:

  • At least two are innately dishonest. 
  • Three have broken the law.
  • One has been asleep on the job and has other failings: click here for more.

And another, who seems to do nothing, save act as Katrina Percy’s lap dog. Indeed, a Governor is reported as having written to the Trust to enquire what he does – when our spies disclosed this, the Trust had not responded. Perhaps they don’t know either. Redundancy probably is the safest bet – unless the lawyer uncovers evidence.

Yes – I know this makes seven – but some directors fall into more than one category.

Most (if not all) of the evidence is in the public domain already too. 

Always provided the Trust follows due process, there is minimal risk in dismissing these five and minimal risk of compensation being awarded by a Court or a Tribunal.

What the Trust needs here is a solicitor with the reputation of a Rottweiler. We know at least one who probably would be delighted to take it on.

And whilst they are doing this, let’s have a new Lead Governor too.

Job done – legally and at minimal risk to the public purse – and the Trust can start to recover the trust of the public, its patients (and their families) and its staff.

Stop spending money to prevent action. Spend it to start recovery. 

Is this rocket science?

Cunning stunts

FuriouscartoonTake a look here at the Agenda for the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Governors at Lyndhurst Community Centre on Tuesday 17th May at 11.45 hrs.

At item 11, apparently it’s prejudicial to the public interest for the public and media to know what’s going on to improve a failing Trust.

 

We would argue exactly the opposite. It is counter-intuitive, undemocratic, illogical, offends common sense and will further damage the Trust’s already trashed reputation for the Trust to think it prejudicial to the public interest for the public not to know what’s happening at a failing Trust – or to know the views of governors, who represent the public! It appears already to be having a serious adverse effect on the Trust’s reputation.

It was reported widely on Friday on BBC South Today and Meridian News and in the Oxford Mail.

The more responsible governors are furious too: one has leaked the emergency resolutions (click here), which are due to be heard during the ‘closed’ part of the meeting.  For other essential reading, please visit:

https://mydaftlife.com/2016/05/12/painted-a-different-colour-and-the-picnic spot/#comments

http://www.georgejulian.co.uk/2016/05/12/keep-reaching-keep-working-keep-fighting-justiceforlb/  

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-do-southern-health-keep-getting-so-wrong-mark-aspinall

Allegedly the new Chairman imposed the resolution to remove the public and press with advice from the Lead Governor. Unless he has changed, the Lead Governor:

  • Has an impossible conflicts of interest – his employer relies to a great extent on construction work for the NHS. No wonder he doesn’t want to be seen in public criticising a Trust robustly; equally, it is not in his firm’s interest that he is associated with a total failure in governance of a Trust.
  • Has been Lead Governor for several years and therefore is implicated directly in the failure of governance.
  • Fled like a frightened rabbit from the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Governors in January as soon as the others agreed to let in BBC and freelance film crews.
  • Broke a promise to a patient by failing to investigate a complaint about the conduct of a previous Chairman (Simon Waugh): instead he ‘dobbed the patient in’ to the Chairman, whose conduct therefore was covered-up.

We have little doubt that this is why he fled the other meeting and now again doesn’t want to be seen and reported in a debate about a vote of no confidence in the Board. Taking ther Lead Governor’s bias into account, we have asked Mr Smart to review his decision.

Putting on our (unqualified) judge’s wig, The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 (as amended) makes interesting reading. In simple terms, section 1(2) allows exclusion of the public and media whenever publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest or for special reasons stated in the resolution.

There are no special reasons stated in the Resolution on the Agenda so the Chairman and Lead Governor must believe that it is prejudicial to the public interest to know what the Governors are doing to reform the Board of a failing NHS Trust – a Board, who we pay as taxpayers – or to know the views of governors, who represent the public.

It is counter-intuitive to think it prejudicial to the public interest for the public not to know what’s happening at a failing NHS Trust. We would argue exactly the opposite: the decision to exclude the public and media is prejudicial to the public interest. It is illogical, undemocratic, offends common sense and will further damage the Trust’s already trashed reputation. It appears already to be having that effect so it is prejudicial even to the Trust’s interests to exclude the public and media.

The resolutions relate to certain directors – Katrina ‘Teflon’ Percy, Dr Leslie ‘Slippery’ StevensDr Chris ‘Lapdog’ Gordon, Trevor ‘Honest John’ Spires and Malcolm ‘Leaky’ Berryman, all who whose performance  has already been implicitly or explicitly discredited by the Mazars Review, the CQC. though other conduct. These are public officials paid with taxpayers’  money – the  public has every right to see them held to account.

To exclude the public and press is akin to excluding shareholders and media from an AGM of a PLC on the grounds that is it is prejudicial to the shareholders’ interests to hear the Board held to account. In the ‘real [commercial] world’, there is more chance of meeting Elvis Presley than a PLC Chairman pulling off that stunt successfully.

There is an important upside to The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960. At s.1(5) the meeting is subject to qualified privilege, i.e. a defamatory statement can be made provided it is an honestly held belief and not malicious. Past Chairman ried to suppress comments and minutes because they could be defamatory: they were wrong to do so.

For more on qualified privilege, click here – second article down.

This latest stunt demonstrates once again Southern Health’s total incompetence in Crisis Management. Indeed, Southern Health would make an excellent case study or tutorial for academics in how not to manage a crisis. For more, click here.

Furious male

Finished drafting this yesterday just as a new bomb exploded in the inbox. Am posting it anyway to put my next post into context.

 

Honest John

Sara Ryan is not alone in receiving inappropriate communications from Sloven (as she – more aptly refers to Southern Health. Click here for one of many.

Trevor Spires - Smiling1

 

Below is a reply to another complainant – from a NED.

Trevor “Honest John” Spires

 

 

The presentation of the letter speaks for itself – no respect for patients!

Spires2016-05-09 001

  • Plain A4 – not Southern Health notepaper.
  • Unsigned.

Yes, he sent it by email but this doesn’t prevent use of headed paper or a signature. He ignored a request to remedy this. Comment:

  1. It was a response to a letter, in which the author fully argued his case and provided evidence – some of which is now on this web site.
  2. He avoids incontrovertible points, in his words,   “I do not intend to individual points made in your letter or the accompanying papers.”
  3. Spires is Chairman of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Tribunal, which he does not declare – in his declaration of interests or his profile on Southern Health’s web site.
  4. Southern Health’s victim would not apologise for calling the Trust corrupt, it being his honestly held belief.
  5. Arrogance – Spires even thinks the victim would allow him to review his case.
  6. The vexatious complaints policy – Southern Health doesn’t have one!
  7. MOST IMPORTANTLY – he is wilfully blind to further evidence against Executive Directors – refusing to read it if received by any route.
  8. Spires declares in his Southern Health profile that he is Chairman of the Rural Payments Agency – another public body allegedly suppressing a critical report and later severely criticised by the National Audit Office – both in 2015. 

The National Audit Office Report says of the Rural Payments Agency, inter alia:

  • Poor and dysfunctional leadership.
  • “Inappropriate behaviour” among senior leadership.
  • Ineffective risk management.
  • Officials “felt inhibited from raising their concerns … for fear of being seen as “not on board”

Sound familiar? Cannot find reference to the Chief Executive leaving the Agency either.

In fairness, his penultimate paragraph is correct.

As a NED, Rear Admiral ‘Hello Sailor’ Spires has (metaphorically) been in bed with Katrina Percy since Southern Health’s formation and prior to that in the Trust’s old name.

Ipso facto, it is reasonable to argue that the failure in leadership and governance identified by Mazars reflects equally his failure to fulfil the role of NEDs in holding executive directors to account. As (he claims) an honourable NED, who has been around that long, he should have resigned already.

The Council of Governors should fire him.

What is it about retired military officers (Andrew Joy was one too)?   

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They spend their entire military careers kowtowing to more senior ranks but leading and (when necessary) disciplining their men.

They become civilians and the reverse applies: they appear to kowtow and fail (when necessary) to discipline those they should hold to account – but fail to act in the interests of those they purport to represent: the Trust, its stakeholders and the wider community. 

Read more about the role of a NED: click here

 

Battle of Tatchbury Mount

On 2 May 2016, kara2008 commented about Southern Health directors:  

Agincourt9488729_s

“Can I volunteer to participate in the massed ranks proffering an Agincourt salute on the frabjous¹ day when they finally do depart, preferably minus any payoff?”

You’re welcome!

 

 

Save for direct action by the Chairman, the public must rely on the Governors to hold NEDs² to account i.e. in turn to ensure NEDs hold Executive Directors to account – roles at which both Governors and NEDS have failed spectacularly since Southern Health’s formation: CQC reports and The Mazars Review speak for themselves.

The email exchange below with Hampshire County Council’s Appointed Governor, Andrew Joy, proves that we still face an uphill task. Southern Health’s senior management and NEDs arrange brainwashing sessions workshops with governors, no doubt using their ‘slippery‘ skills to get them onside. It appears also that they have brainwashed trained at least some of the governors in their own habit of avoiding difficult conversations with complainants by making the latter put everything in writing. At least we got the truth in the end – even if it did take six emails. In order [courtesies redacted for brevity]:

CRASH to Joy – 3 May 2016 at 10.00 hrs.

“When you have a few minutes available, I would be grateful if you could call me: it is not about my specific case. If you are calling either for a discussion or just to make a telephone appointment, please note: [redacted – CRASH’s dates available].”

Joy to CRASH – 3 May 2016 at 11.30 hrs.

“It would be helpful to have an outline of the matter(s) you wish to discuss prior to a phone call. If it/they are related either directly or indirectly to any issue or subject referred to in previous contact with or through Hampshire County Council then, of course, you should contact the corporate.complaints.team@hants.gov.uk.”

CRASH to Joy – 3 May 2016 at 11.52 hrs. (Getting cross – can see what’s coming)

“I wish to talk to you as a Governor of Southern Health – and no, I’m not writing first: I’ve been doing that [with Southern Health] for 4.5 years.”

Joy to CRASH – 3 May 2016 at 12.20 hrs.

“I don’t need a detailed submission but I do need to know the subject, purpose or issue as a basis for a discussion.”

CRASH to Joy – 3 May 2016 at 16.16 hrs. 

“I wish to discuss last week’s Council of Governor’s meeting. In particular your attitude to the extraordinary resolution (which has now been published) and your expression of confidence in KP and LS.”

CRASH to Joy <andrew.joy@hants.gov.uk> – 6 May 2016 at 13.14 hrs.
Cc: governors@southernhealth.nhs.uk                                                                                       Attachment: SHNFT – Open Letter to KP, LS – 01.05.16 (Redacted).pdf

“Thank you for identifying the subject you wished to discuss. My draft conclusions, regarding progress made and planned, for consideration by those governors who attended both facilitated joint discussions and workshops between the SHNFT Senior Management Team, Non-Executive Directors and Trust Governors were just that – draft. They were drafted on behalf of, and as a reflection of the views articulated by, Governors at the conclusion of the second joint session.

In light of subsequent intervention and reports by CQC, Monitor and others and as agreed with Mike Petter, Chairman of Governors, it was agreed not to publish them without further discussion with Governors. That remains the position and I have nothing further to add.

Any discussion you wish to have regarding the attached ‘open’ letter calling on Katrina Percy, CEO, and Dr Lesley Stevens, Medical Director, to resign, should be addressed to the Interim Chair of the Board and Council of Governors, Tim Smart.

Andrew Joy, Hampshire County Cllr, Executive Member for Communities, Partnerships & External Affairs, HCC Appointed Governor to Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

01962 667916, 01420 85251, 07814 819886″


Summary of long response from CRASH:

  1. No longer represents views of  Hampshire taxpayers.
  2. Does not change fact that comments at governors’ meeting were perceived as vote of confidence in leadership. 
  3. Disappointed he was indoctrinated so quickly.
  4. Letter to Sara Ryan stating (falsely) that it was approved by all governors.
  5. Reminder of duty as a governor to take public views into account: improper to dismiss Open Letter to KP and LS. Had we spoken, he would have been directed to proof of allegations.
  6. Difference between his attitude and those of other governors.
  7. Agreement at last meeting that governors needed to talk more to patients. 
  8. He has adopted the same tactics as the NHS to avoid contentious discussions.
  9. Should resign as Appointed Governor.

Joyless

What else does this tell us about Cllr Joy?

 

 

  1. Of his own volition, he is not interested in patients’ opinion of KP and LS.
  2. Guilty mind – he proffers option of contacting Hampshire CC’s corporate complaints department!
¹ [1872] Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass; perhaps meant to suggest fabulous or joyous.
² Non-Executive Directors.