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EDP: ‘Got away with it’ – NHS manager gloated about coverage of dead great-grandmother

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Tom Bristow of the Eastern Daily Press reports:

An NHS manager bragged that the service had “got away” with its failings being highlighted after the death of two dementia sufferers – because former Monty Python star Terry Jones had died.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) was criticised in an investigation into the death of 88-year old dementia sufferer Doreen Livermore who was attacked in a care home in King’s Lynn by another dementia patient.

As reported on Tuesday, Mrs Livermore’s family had repeatedly complained to the home and Norfolk County Council, before the assault, that the man was attacking their mother and other residents at Amberley Hall Care Home.

Her death, in January 2018, was investigated by the Norfolk Adult Safeguarding Board which published a report this week.

The man had been getting support from the NSFT’s dementia team and the report criticised the NSFT for discharging the attacker from its service too quickly.

The services were also criticised after the death of another man with dementia at the same care home in 2017.

But rather than focus on failings exposed in the review, the NSFT’s communications manager, Mark Prentice, sent a gloating email to his colleagues on Thursday morning about the lack of focus on the NSFT and its mistakes in coverage of the case by the BBC on Wednesday and local media.

“We seem to have got away (again) with the Adult Safeguarding Review.

“I think we may have been saved by the death of Terry Jones,” he writes, referring to the Monty Python star who died on Wednesday from a rare form of dementia.

Absolutely disgusting but accurately reflective of the toxic culture of the Board and management which has destroyed mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Would any Comms manager have sent this email internally within an organisation which saw such comments as unacceptable?

Of course not.

His mistake was to email the Eastern Daily Press and expose the toxic culture of the mental health trust.

In the email, which he accidentally sent to an EDP journalist, he continues “Yet again… we emerged virtually unscathed.”

Incompetent and uncaring, NSFT’s Board and management sees deaths as media problems ‘to be buried’.

We’ve lost count of the number of people who have been visited by members of the NSFT Board or senior management and who are then totally forgotten, promised actions never materialising.

Coroners have repeatedly criticised NSFT for repeating the same mistakes, again and again and again. Even when the result is deaths.

Mrs Livermore’s family said they were “absolutely shocked” by the email and its tone.

Her son Roy, from Snettisham, said: “The fact they are talking about ‘getting away’ with it in relation to the death of my mother is absolutely disgusting. It begs the question, what do they feel they got away with?

Former ‘Professor’ and NSFT Chief Executive Jonathan Warren said:

“I will not have such emails sent from staff within this Trust.”

If it had been kept internal, former ‘Professor’ Warren would have had no problem.

We have got to know the culture of NSFT’s Board and management over the last six years.

Nobody we have spoken to believes that this is a ‘one-off’.

You only have to look at who was re-employed in the radical restructure to see that NSFT has contempt for the dead.

The safeguarding report into the deaths criticised the NSFT’s Dementia Intensive Support Team (DIST) for discharging the dangerous patient who repeatedly attacked Mrs Livermore and other residents and staff.

In a chilling phone call, four days before the attack Dr Livermore called Norfolk County Council’s emergency line.

“I think she is at risk,” he told the operator, but nothing was done to remove the man.

It is disgusting that, in another obvious example of the black arts of Comms, the publication of these Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs) was delayed until the day after the publication of the stitch-up CQC inspection report of NSFT.

How many people need to die?

He was eventually placed in a mental health facility after pushing Mrs Livermore over in December 2017. She broke her hip and died six weeks later.

The Norfolk Safeguarding Adults Board found that in the second death, in November 2017, the DIST did not flag their concerns about the ability of the home to manage him.

“Despite their concerns, DIST proposed to discharge Mr G to the care of his GP, based on an apparent improvement in his presentation,” they wrote.

These SARs also highlight the lack of old age beds, which led to Peggy Copeman dying on the hard shoulder of the M11 just before Christmas.

Is NSFT planning to open any more beds for older people?

Of course not.

Today, whistleblowers are telling us that NSFT’s new bed manager is blocking clinical autonomy and disregarding patient need as the Board’s and management’s desire to reduce transportation out of area drives unsafe practice. Right now.

A spokesman, for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “It is disgraceful but typical that NSFT sees itself as ‘saved’ by the death from dementia of one of Britain’s greatest comedians, Terry Jones, allowing the trust to have ‘got away’ without media scrutiny of its appalling failings in dementia-related deaths in Norfolk.

“NSFT should be transparent and seek to genuinely learn from its many failings but it does not.

“Instead, NSFT sees clinical and operational failures as ‘media issues’ and has repeatedly raised its budget for spin doctors.”

Click on the image below to read the investigation in full on the EDP website. Even better, support public interest journalism by buying the newspaper.

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One thought on “EDP: ‘Got away with it’ – NHS manager gloated about coverage of dead great-grandmother

  1. mesugana says:

    The Trust has been ‘getting away with it’ for far too long. Why is NHS England not challenging the hubris and toxic culture of this Trust. Why is it allowing a Trust four times in Special Measure to continue on its desperate, chaotic so called ‘journey’. When are the successive CEOs going to get away with saying improvement is going to take time. We have been waiting for years for a safe, responsive, effective service. Is Matt Hancock blind, deaf and uncaring?  

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