When we set out on #107days we weren’t really sure what shape the campaign would take. We thought we’d aim for an action, thought or reflection each day, but we never in our wildest dreams expected the degree of engagement, passion and conviction that emerged in the name of getting #JusticeforLB and all dudes. On Friday, the final day of the #107days campaign, and the first anniversary of Connor’s death, the most remarkable thing happened. The support and engagement and love was visible for all to see, as person after person changed their profile picture on twitter or facebook. This is what Sara had to say about it:
Friday was a day I dreaded with every bit of my being. When I woke, very early, I was surprised to see that overnight, people had begun to change their photos on twitter. Some couldn’t wait till the day. Rich and I went to the cemetery. We bickered on the way there about nonsense really, both stressed/distressed beyond words. The woodland section was beautiful and the cemetery was alive with rabbits, birds and insects. We lit a candle and placed it carefully among the long grass. Next to the buses and model policeman.
We had our usual ‘how.can.he.be.dead?’ looping discussion. Thinking about how, that time a year ago, he was still alive, looking forward to the Oxford Bus Company trip. How his death could have so easily, so fucking easily, have been prevented.
An hour or so after we got home, people started calling in and we spent the rest of the day, till the early hours of Saturday, hanging out, chatting, drinking and eating with family and friends. A couple of times during the day I had a quick peek at twitter/facebook and was astonished at the sea of black and white pics of LB. It was absolutely brilliant and so incredibly moving.
The next morning, I lay in bed reading through all the tweets. Hundreds of people. Stepping up in solidarity with the quirky guy who should still be here. Wow. I thought. Scrolling down and down. Wow. Wow. Wow. When I got to Divine Comedy, I couldn’t help laughing. Absolute genius. And the most brilliant timing.
#107days has been outstanding. And hopefully transformative.
Friday was the busiest day on the blog since it started, gathering 7,226 of our total 63,497 views. This post isn’t going to recap on all of the contributions to #107days, we will do that at some point but not yet. Instead we thought it would be good to share the image below… see how far #JusticeforLB has travelled, in the first 100 or so days. We’ve had 63k blog hits since this blog was established 113 days ago, an average of 550 hits a day, and we’ve reached more than half the world.
We also thought we should update people on the progress made so far to getting #JusticeforLB. At the start of the campaign we were explicit about what justice looked like, so going above and beyond in an attempt to engage the NHS, we’re using a performance dashboard to update on progress!! You never know we may write our very own robust action plan next. Anyhow, I digress. What follows is what #JusticeforLB looks like, progress so far, and an assessment of performance:
Staff, as appropriate, to be referred to their relevant regulatory bodies:
>> Waiting to hear what is happening from Southern Health: RED
A corporate manslaughter prosecution brought against the trust:
>> The Police investigation is ongoing: YELLOW
Meaningful involvement at the inquest, and any future investigations into LB’s death, so we can see the Trust and staff account for their actions in public:
>> No progress on the Inquest yet, pending the Police investigation. NHS England have been very open, and have fully involved the family at every stage in commissioning the pending Serious Case Review. The family will also choose one of two lay representatives on the SCR Board: GREEN
For Southern Health and the local authority
Reassurance about how they will ensure this cannot happen again:
>> Meeting on 16 May with reassurances given that contracts are being looked at, but no confidence gained that it wouldn’t happen again: RED
An independent investigation into the other ‘natural cause’ deaths in Southern Health learning disability and mental health provision over the past 10 years:
>> An investigation has been commissioned by NHS England to look at all unexpected deaths since Southern Health came into being in April 2011: GREEN
>> Terms of reference yet to be agreed or communicated and there are concerns that the Southern Health Board Minutes present an alternative picture to that which the family were led to believe by NHS England: RED
For all the young dudes
A change in the law so that every unexpected death in a ‘secure’ (loose definition) or locked unit automatically is investigated independently:
>> No Progress: RED
Inspection/regulation: It shouldn’t take catastrophic events to bring appalling professional behaviour to light. There is something about the ‘hiddenness’ of terrible practices that happen in full view of health and social care professionals. Both Winterbourne and STATT had external professionals in and out. LB died and a team were instantly sent in to investigate and yet nothing amiss was noticed. Improved CQC inspections could help to change this, but a critical lens is needed to examine what ‘(un)acceptable’ practice looks like for dudes like LB:
>> There appears to remain a gap in understanding ‘what good looks like’, or in implementing what is already known. It greatly concerns us however that the body appointed to address this very matter, Winterbourne JIP, appears to fail to make any real progress. We were surprised that they chose to not engage with the #107days campaign, especially given the pertinence to their remit and the widespread support from key stakeholders: RED
Prevention of the misuse/appropriation of the mental capacity act as a tool to distance families and isolate young dudes:
>> Lucy Series blogged about this issue on Day 32 and also blogged on her own website when the Government responded to the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
The most recent Supreme Court decision to directly impact on disabled young people is the Cheshire West case, which radically increases the number of disabled people whose placements involve a deprivation of liberty requiring justification to avoid a breach of their human rights – see the judgement here.
So in summary we’re confident of progress: GREEN
An effective demonstration by the NHS to making provision for learning disabled people a complete and integral part of the health and care services provided rather than add on, ad hoc and (easily ignored) specialist provision:
>> No progress. RED
Proper informed debate about the status of learning disabled adults as full citizens in the UK, involving and led by learning disabled people and their families, and what this means in terms of service provision in the widest sense and the visibility of this group as part of ‘mainstream’ society:
>> This is where you guys come in. We were blown away by the engagement with the #107days campaign which showed a version of collaboration and co-production that the social care textbooks could only dream of. LB and dudes were central, always central, there was no hierarchy, fancy job titles, pay packets, pecking order, communications strategy, spin or fact-finding visits. You stepped up, you debated and contributed, you made suggestion and led by example, and through it all ego never entered the arena. Most of all you gave us, and each other, hope. Hope for a better, brighter, alternative future. This is what Mark Neary had to say:
It has been a very moving 107 days but yesterday was quite phenomenal, with so many people recognizing the importance of the campaign. I do feel hope. In the last couple of weeks we’ve had several of the great and the good wringing their hands and declaring that they are at a loss about what to do about ATUs and the future of the people trapped in them. The Winterbourne JIP has failed to bring about any meaningful change. Norman Lamb says the right words but admits he has hit a brick wall. This week I was invited onto BBC Radio London to discuss adult social care and one of the leaders from ADASS was on, also confessing his fears of the future. Its looking like these people can’t do it. I’m not sure the will is there. Perhaps the system can’t be changed from within the system. Perhaps it will be movements like #JusticeforLB that change the social care world. The will, the passion, the energy, the humanity is there. I think we have to stop waiting for the leaders and the social care world to show its humanity. It ain’t going to happen. Apart from some isolated (albeit powerful) examples, I don’t see any drive from within social care to truly serve the people they are meant to be serving. Service is dead. The drive, the humanity is coming from the families, ordinary people and the legal world. Coming together makes us very powerful – we’ve already seen lots of examples of the system feeling very threatened by that power. Good. This isn’t the time for observing niceties. This is the time for action. I’m sick to death hearing about culture changes being needed. Sod organizational cultures – let’s start applying the law. The human rights act. The mental capacity act. If your culture means you can’t apply the law, in fact you break you law, then you’re not fit to do your job. Let someone else take charge.
So we’re giving this performance marker a big fat GREEN.
This gives us the following summary of confidence in performance:
1 indicator YELLOW: Police
4 indicators GREEN: 2 NHS England, 1 unclear, 1 JusticeforLB’ers
Each and every one of you who have contributed to the #107days campaign has inspired us, and renewed our hope, that there is a better way and it’s in our grasp. We aren’t waiting for anyone’s permission to shape it either. For those who have been asking #107days is over for 2014, but #JusticeforLB has only just begun. We will continue to update this blog, twitter and facebook, from time to time, and while the days of action have completed, you are welcome to continue to use the blogs to debate and discuss things. In the words of Mark Neary:
Pulling this post together, I guess I’m hopeful for the future for Steven, and for social care because the #justiceforlb campaign showed that you can have your guts ripped out but through love, humanity, downright common sense and a fantastic dogeddness, find the strength and compassion to fight on.
#JusticeforLB and the #107days campaign has been amazing and inspiritional. To see so many people come together behind a cause shows something of what might be achieved in terms of a real and lasting legacy. It has made me feel hopeful that it is possible to change the way people with disabilities and learning difficulties are treated. As a mum to a young dude I am constantly thinking of how to keep him safe and cared for in the future. I cannot imagine how difficult the last year must have been for Connor’s family, without him. The sight of so many LB profile pictures on Twitter today was a very fitting way to round off the #107days. A reminder of the person at the centre of it all. A handsome, quirky, funny, unique and special 18 yr old young man. He should not have died. x
and finally Anne-Marie:
“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
#107days is hope.
Thank you all for the support. Let’s keep the hope alive.