The slippery slope


We have said before that Southern Health lurches from one crisis to the next. 

Only they could manage three public relations disasters in one day – 25 October 2016.



Board Meeting

In the morning, the Trust published the Carolan Report. Stephanie Carolan made a thorough , hard-hitting presentation to the Board Meeting (held in public). The full text of her report can be downloaded here→.

The bad news is that Stephany’s report highlighted exactly what families have been telling Southern Health (including Dr Lesley ‘Slippery’ Stevens) for over three years – especially about engaging with families. Stephany even highlighted the importance, not just of engaging with families after death, but also with families as soon as new mental health or learning disability patients are referred to the Trust.

Family engagement appears to be a new concept in adult care for Southern Health. One of its Consultants, the excellent Dr Mayura Deshpande, who specialises in Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry, gave a presentation on the subject at the AGM, emphasising its  importance. Was it too much for Southern Health to listen to their own Consultants and extend the principle to adults?

In the private sector, one of the first things Consultants wish to do is to speak to the family! It should be standard practice, not ‘news’. 

Unfortunately, we missed public questions – couldn’t resist the temptation to talk to a Deloitte official about the practices at her firm as reported here→ and here→

However, we understand that a bereaved family member ‘took Dr Stevens apart’ with his questions and comments. We look forward to hearing the recording.

Council of Governors (“CoG”) Meeting



A complete farce – a car crash – frozen in headlights like frightened rabbits.



Regular readers (with a good memory) might recall that resolutions to remove certain Non-effective Executive Directors were first considered long ago but postponed for consideration. On 17 May 2016, Tim ‘Not-so’ Smart cancelled the Emergency Meeting to enable the CoG to ensure the resolutions were legally valid. He undertook to reconvene it, “Shortly.

Now,  five months later, one would expect the resolutions to be absolutely watertight – that is if it were any other Trust than Southern Health. But no, most of the governors left it until the meeting itself before receiving the legal advice only to be advised that some of the resolutions are still considered unlawful!

So we (taxpayers) were paying two firms of solicitors (Blake Morgan advising the CoG) and Southern Health’s friends solicitors (Capsticks) to run around like headless chickens whilst the public were excluded. (The CoG voted not to waive legal professional privilege so that we – the public, who they purport to represent – did not hear the legal argument.) 

Additionally, it appears that the meeting was not quorate for some resolutions even to be passed – owing largely to the absence of all four staff governors. A fix? Perish the thought!

In short, in our opinion, the governors individually (with notable exceptions) and the CoG(as a group) are demonstrably not fit for purpose and riddled with conflicts of interest. Three of the resolutions that were voted upon illustrate this nicely.

“Resolution 1)  [The Council] has no confidence in the Trust Board.”

The CoG voted against – i.e. they have confidence in the Board.

Resolution 5) The CoG of Southern Health (NHS) Foundation Trust sends a clear message to the patients, their families and the community that this Council, as their representative body, has both heard and understood them.

The CoG voted in favour. ABSURD – if the Council has heard and understood the views of patients, their families and the community, how could they possibly have confidence in the Board (resolution 1)? Moreover, the governors had not received the Carolan Report or the Minutes of a meeting with these parties facilitated by Healthwatch Hampshire on 23 September 2016, so clearly they had not ‘heard’ (much less understood) these views.

And it gets worse:

“Resolution 13) The CoG of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust hereby resolves to establish a committee of the CoG to be known as the Governors Public Consultation and Communication Strategy committee…. [duties etc.] set out in Appendix 1….”

The purpose in Appendix 1:

“This Committee is responsible for creating, updating and reviewing a strategy for the CoG which promotes and supports the duty of Governors either as a body or individually to consult with the members of the Trust and with the Public and for the CoG either as a body or individually to communicate to the member of the Trust and to the Public such information as properly ought to be communicated to them.”

Yet the CoG voted down this constructive and perfectly logical proposal. From the absurd to the RIDICULOUS. The governors do not want to improve feedback from patients, their families and the community – even though that is their role in life. They don’t really want the work and hassle of being effective governors. The CoG effectively resigned.



The Three Wise Monkeys would do better.  



Inquest latest

First reports of the inquest into the sad death of Marion Munns, which started on 24th. September, started to emerge.

It is alleged that a Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Vicki Osmond-Hicks diagnosed Marion by phone, as not needing to be seen, and did not put Marion on the risk register. Apparently, adult mental health services (even in a crisis) are not available after 17.00 hrs. A care worker told her daughter that they could not respond to a “crisis call” because the office was about to close for the day! Read more→

But then, what does one expect when the Trust’s Medical Director,  Dr Lesley ‘Slippery’ Stevens, known also as ‘Mystic Meg Lesley’ diagnoses a person she has never met or spoken to at all – much less on the telephone.

Footnote: Dr Vicki Osmond Hicks is part of The Undergraduate Medical Education team, which coordinates teaching for Southampton Medical students in Psychiatry.  She is Lead Tutor for the Southampton Hub. Read Victoria’s Story.

And finally:

How much of our money has Southern Health spent this week on lawyers and consultants?

Capsticks, Blake Morgan and Deloitte for the Board and/or Governors’ meeting on 25th September and probably solicitor(s) and barrister(s) for the 4-day Inquest. And that’s excluding preparation time. As Barten Holyday [1593–1661] once said:

A man may as well open an oyster without a knife, as a lawyer’s mouth without a fee!



And so, Southern Health carries on down the slippery slope.




3 thoughts on “The slippery slope

  1. Pingback: One day in Winchester | Campaign for Reform At Southern Health

  2. Interesting comments on very sobering issues. One wonders when this will ever be scaled back, (the failures of the Trust and the absurd telephone diagnosis!)


  3. Pingback: A Year for Change? | Campaign for Reform At Southern Health

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