Anyone who thought that Dr ‘Mystic
Meg Lesley Stevens no longer has any influence over mental health services in Hampshire – think again! This is a Comedy of Errors!
Dr Stevens now turns up as Clinical Director (Mental Health) of Hampshire & Isle of Wight, Sustainability and Transformation Planning (“STP”):
“Working together to improve mental health services across the area.”
Anyone, who has followed the tragic events at Southern Health from 2011 to 2016, will see the irony in this position being ‘awarded’ to an ex-member of its Board of Directors, which was found ‘guilty’ of a four-year failure of leadership and governance. A second “Reward for Failure” for an ex-Southern Health Director.
In addition, from incidents during this period, Southern Health recently picked up its first two criminal convictions. Please see footnote 1 below.
Readers will recall that, on 18 April 2012 [‘Hansard’ 18 Apr 2012 Column 79WH], Dr Stevens, as a member of Southern Health’s Board, was accused in Parliament of allegedly using “Slippery methods” to justify closing Woodhaven Hospital. Her dubious use of statistics led to a serious shortage of beds (with potential life-ending consequences) and huge expenditure on ‘out-of-area’ beds, i.e. referrals to private psychiatric hospitals.
So beware – Mystic Lesley is ‘on the march’ collecting statistics again.
Sent: 21 September 2017 11:25
Cc: [30 email addresses disclosed by Southern Health without consent]
Subject: FW: Help us gather people’s views on mental health hospitals in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Please see below: for your interest. Please forward on to service users, families, staff and organisations who may be interested in giving views on mental health hospitals in Hampshire and Isle of Wight.
From: [Redacted] (NHS SOUTH EASTERN HAMPSHIRE CCG) firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: 20 September 2017 16:22
Subject: Help us gather people’s views on mental health hospitals in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Sent on behalf of Dr Lesley Stevens, Clinical Director, Mental Health, Hampshire and Isle of Wight STP and [redacted].
Help us gather people’s views on mental health hospitals in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
The local NHS in Hampshire and Isle of Wight are working together to improve mental health services across the area. As part of this we are keen to get the views of people using these services, caring for someone who does, or working in them.
Right now, we are interested in gathering people’s views on mental health hospital care. We have made three surveys:
• For service users, carers and family members: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/STPmentalhealth/
• For members of staff: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/STPmentalhealthstaff/
• For colleagues in provider or partner organisations: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/STPmentalhealthproviders/
The information we get from these surveys will help understand what’s working well and where we need to improve services for the future.
We would be extremely grateful if you could help by sharing the relevant survey(s) above within your networks and channels, or with the people you support if they have had experience using mental health hospital services.
If you have any queries about these surveys, or would like to know more about our work, please contact Jo Jones on email@example.com. It would be helpful if we could have as much response as possible by 31 October. Many thanks in advance.
Clinical Director Programme Director, The Mental Health programme of the STP.
It is unsurprising also that, whilst the announcement originated from S.E. Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, this comedy of errors was designed by W. Hampshire
Careless Clinical Commissioning Group². WHCCG, by its failure as Lead CCG of Southern Health to supervise adequately and demand remedial action, is, in CRASH’s opinion, culpable for many of Southern Health’s past short-comings.
And now the catch. CRASH found several aspects of the survey deeply flawed: CRASH petitioned successfully to have it amended twice and then taken down. Later, when the survey went live again, some of the flaws remained. For example:
- Woodhaven is not listed as an option in the drop-down box so there is no facility in the survey to petition for it to be re-opened. Of course, this would be seriously embarrassing for the Mystic one!
- There is no facility for feedback from patients (and families), who should have been inpatients when no beds were available, sometimes leading to suicide. Of course, this would be distinctly embarrassing for the Mystic one too.
- The latest version contained a new exclusion, “Secure units” – yet Antelope House, which looks more like a prison that a hospital – even in reception when CRASH delivered a letter there – is listed on the survey but others secure units are not.
- There is no facility for in-patients (and families) who were referred out of area.
- Although CRASH was told that feedback from families living outside Hampshire would be welcome, there is no facility for them to do so.
And so on. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this comedy of errors is aimed at covering up previous mistakes and also justify closing even more beds.
Notwithstanding all this, we should not boycott the survey. We should take maximum advantage of the loopholes – for example:
- On page 1, if you are a patient (or family) for whom a bed was not available – say that you were and clarify it in the ‘Comments’ box on page 2.
- On page 2, if the hospital/ward is not named in the drop-down box select ‘others’ and clarify it in the comments box. There is a duplicated question on this page: use it if you wish to comment on more than one hospital.
- On all the remaining pages, make maximum use of the ‘Comments’ box.
This is the third variation of the same survey so quite how the STP will collate the results is a mystery. One thing is for sure, the resulting statistics will be totally unreliable.
¹ Criminal Convictions
Basingstoke Magistrates Court – 29th June 2017
Southern Health pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to provide safe care and treatment and failing to assess risk to patients at the unit. This followed an incident in December 2015. The case has been adjourned for sentencing. Read more here→
Banbury Magistrates Court – 18th September 2017
Southern Health pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This follows the death of Connor Sparrowhawk on 4 July 2013. The case has been referred to Oxford Crown Court for sentencing. Read more here→
² West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group