What a difference a year makes? #JusticeforLB

It’s now 74 days since the spectacular finale of the #107days campaign, 439 days since LB died, preventably in STATT.

Progress towards #JusticeforLB continues at a pace, in the last week alone we’ve unveiled the beautiful LB Justice Quilt, and yesterday we launched the LB Bill website. All this in addition to the other actions documented in our earlier post about maintaining momentum. Quite a lot of action for an entirely volunteer campaign figured headed by a family in the worst situation imaginable. So yesterday Sara and I were talking about how much has been achieved since the end of the #107days, in those 74 days.

Contrast that progress with the progress made in STATT in the 74 days that immediately followed LB’s death. Over to Sara:

Apologies for the somewhat ironic title for this post. A year ago this week, the CQC went into the Slade House site (which included the STATT unit) and did an inspection that (at last) made visible the level of disfunction/malaise/failure that characterised provision there.

A marker of how bad it was, LB’s death hadn’t sparked any apparent consideration around whether or not there might be issues around the quality of care provided. Nothing, in 74 days after the worse outcome of ‘care’ imaginable, no action, no change, no improvement.

The CQC inspection team pitched up for a routine inspection and did their job.

The full horror of what the team found can be read here. It’s a deeply sad, harrowing, unbelievable and enraging read. And was followed by similar failures at other provision in Oxfordshire.

Here in the justice shed we try to remain positive and optimistic so, in the spirit of 107 days of action, we raise a cuppa to the CQC and effective inspection of health and social care provision.
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It is impossible to know, but our suspicion is that without CQC conducting routine inspections, issuing enforcement action and continuing to monitor the ‘progress’ at Southern Health, it is a very real possibility that STATT could still be open. The inevitable outcome of that is too much to imagine.

We have a long old road to get #JusticeforLB, but there are inklings that in small ways we may already be improving things for other dudes. So, as ever, thanks for all your support. Huge thanks also to CQC, for doing their job, but doing it with care, compassion and attention to detail, something the evidence suggest were rare commodities around STATT.

Day 11: A mother’s thoughts #107days

Day 11 was adopted by Shelley Mason. When asked why #JusticeforLB was important to her this was what Shelley had to say:

Justice for LB is important to me because I’m a mum and a human being and what happened to Connor should not be allowed to happen to anyone. Post Winterbourne, it’s shocking to know things are still so bad. Of the 3 families I know who have children with learning disabilities, 2 have made national headlines – my friend Mark Neary and his son Steven and now Sara and Connor. When will people with learning disabilities be treated well everywhere?

I liked that Shelley commented as a mum, and as a human being. This isn’t simply about parents and children, or mothers and sons, it’s about humans and humans, and we’re all a part of that. Anyhow, I digress. I have to admit I was delighted and relieved that Shelley had realised that it was Mother’s Day and she has tailored her post accordingly.

It is Mother’s Day in the UK. Mums all over the country will be receiving cards, hugs and kisses from their children but there is one household I know of, and God knows, there will be thousands of others, where a mum will not receive anything from one of her children. And I can’t really imagine the pain of that scenario.

Shelley introduces LB:

What can I say about Connor himself? I never met him but so wish I had. He was clearly a very funny and witty young man because many a time I’ve laughed out loud at the things his mother, Sara, has written about him. He was not a faceless boy even though we had never met in the flesh. He had depth, he had character and he had passions. Eddie Stobart, lorries, buses and the Mighty Boosh. He was such a real person to me that I took photos of lorries I saw in motorway car parks and sent them to his mother so she could pass them on. So please, before you read any further just take in this one point. Connor Sparrowhawk was a real, living, breathing, laughing young man with the rest of his life stretched out before him.

Describes his time in the unit and reflects on what has come to pass since: A catalogue of falsifications, neglect and shoddiness labelled ‘care’ followed by attempts to pass his death off as ‘natural causes’ and more wriggling than a bucket of eels.You can read Shelley’s post in its entirety here and what more she ends with a Cheesecake Truck, go check it out.

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However you spend today, thank you for taking a moment to read this, and remember LB, Sara and the many many other mothers without their children and children without their mothers today. We hope that our collective actions for #107days will prevent another family facing this pain. Thank you.