Car Crash

Car Accident CartoonWith three (possibly four) fatal incidents coming to light, last week was truly a Car Crash for Southern Health. The media reports largely speak for themselves.

Especially disturbing was the Inquest into the tragic death of Ellie Brabant, which commenced on 5 November and ended on 12 November. The Forum for Justice, Accountability and Equality at Southern Health (“the Forum”) was well-represented – five people ensuring that one member was present for part/all of every day.

karl marlowe - Spin DoctorBBC journalist, James Ingham produced a superb report for BBC South Today and presenter, Sally Taylor interviewed the family solicitor. Producer: Ian Lauchlan¹: view full report here→.

Perhaps the most unedifying and (to the family) disrespectful images are the sight of Medical Director, Dr Karl Marlowe, scurrying away with his ‘spin doctor’ hurrying along behind.

Email your views to Dr Marlowe here→


There is also a written report here, which summarises the criticisms of Southern Health, which the Coroner will write in his Prevention of Future Deaths Report [“PFD”].

In addition, the Coroner will write separately to the Trust re: disclosure and preservation of evidence after a serious incident. Yes – the Trust was caught withholding key document (where have we heard this before?) and failing to secure the scene.

Unusually, Sarah Hemingway,  Counsel for Ellie’s family, who met members of the Forum present at the Inquest, wrote to CRASH:

“Thank you very much for your email below and your input during the course of the inquest…. I wish you and the families’ campaign group all the very best in holding SHFT to account.”

Sarah and her instructing solicitor, Alice Stevens, did sterling work in exposing Southern Health’s failings, making a compelling (and successful) case for a PFD.

We know less about the other three cases but press reports largely speak for themselves:

Martin Pope: Mr Moth’s family and friends had concerns about support from Southern Health in the weeks before his death with an apparent breakdown in communications. Assistant coroner Simon Burge said:

“As a result of the breakdown (in communication) there was a failure to appreciate how desperate Paul was.”

Sheriden Harris: We quote Fareham MP, Suella Braverman:

‘This is a tragic loss of life, we must think of Sheriden’s family and friends at this time.

‘It highlights the need for serious and meaningful change to ensure more patients are not failed, and to protect the most vulnerable.’

Southern Heath said it has learned from mistakes in caring for a woman with learning difficulties: they said they have worked hard on addressing failings identified by the report, following the Sheridan’s death in May 2017.

Where have we heard this before? Oh yes! Connor Sparrowhawk and Edward Hartley, young adults with learning difficulties, who passed away respectively in July 2013 and May 2014.

Connor’s family finally got justice on 26 March 2018, when Southern Health was fined £1,050,000 (excluding costs) for an offence under The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. Read more here→and Mr Justice Stuart-Smith’s sentencing remarks (on this and another case) here→.

Edward’s family are still waiting for justice even to this day.

Baby Stanley: WARNING: some might find this case distressing.

We  cannot prejudice a continuing trial in Winchester Crown Court and, at this stage, Southern Health’s involvement (if any) is unclear too. There is simple reference in the BBC’s report to a Health Visitor: Fareham & Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group inform us that Southern Health employees Health Visitors in its area.


¹ Ian Lauchlanalso an, “Obsessive Quins rugby fan.”


6 thoughts on “Car Crash

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