After a day’s intensive pre-trial mediation, Southern Health have finally, finally, formally acknowledged what they should have admitted from the start: that the Trust, its processes, procedures and policies in respect of staffing, training, communication, clinical history taking and safe provision were negligent; and that as a result, they caused Connor Sparrowhawk’s death, in breach of his Article 2 human right to life. At last, no more ‘not us, guv’. No more ‘alleged’. It just won’t (white)wash any more. The Trust further admits to breaching the Article 2 rights of Connor’s family, by the Trust failure to facilitate the required ‘effective and proper investigation’ into Connor’s death.
Connor’s family has been awarded a sum of money, a substantial sum that is nevertheless a fraction of the legal costs which the Trust splurged on mounting an offensive defence at Connor’s inquest; a sum which is probably just sufficient to cover his family’s own legal costs.
In the last paragraph, the Trust acknowledges that Connor’s mother, Dr. Sara Ryan has ‘conducted herself and the Justice for LB campaign in a dignified, fair and reasonable way’, and explicitly disowns any statements from its staff or their families to the contrary.
Not before time, there is a new dish of the day on the Sloven menu.
What I want to know is, why wasn’t this statement (minus the financial settlement that would have had to be negotiated subsequently), the statement that was put out immediately after the end of Connor’s inquest on 16 October 2016? Come to that, why wasn’t it the statement that was put out after the Verita report in February 2014? Why has it taken nearly eight months to get from jury verdict to formal Southern Health admission, and then only under threat of a further, Human Rights-based, court case?
It seems reasonable to speculate that the change of mind and direction may have something to do with the change of Chairman, so maybe things Southern are, at last, moving in an unSlovenly direction. However, although as part of the settlement, Southern Health has agreed to put the statement on its website for four weeks, it has done so in the sketchiest, most grudging form. With (heavy sigh) yet more bloody-minded spin:
We have now been able to come to a successfully mediated settlement with Connor’s family, as detailed in the statement attached on the right hand side of this page.
‘successfully mediated’, forsooth, as though Sloven had been actively seeking a just settlement, against the resistance of Connor’s family! Some <expletive deleted> success! Can’t fault them for consistency: they never fail to disappoint.
Given that so many of the Trust’s previous specious-spin statements have remained on the website for years, it will be interesting to see if this one stays there past the 28-day period, and if so, for how long.
Whatever Southern chooses to do, I promise that the statement will remain available on this site for as long as the blog exists. As, I am sure, it will remain on the Justice for LB site and many others.
This is not, even yet, Justice for LB. Beyond admissions, there is accountability. Whether that involves proceedings for corporate manslaughter, for Health and Safety breaches, or under the Fit and Proper Persons Requirements, I and the other Justice for LB supporters continue to uphold Connor’s family to travel just as far down those routes as they want to go.
Full Statement in PDF format here: 08 06 16 – CS – Mediated Statement