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March 3, 2016


In my more charitable moments, I reckon it must be quite a head melt being an employee of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. How do you reconcile your day to day working life with the stories you see on the National News?

Here is a clip from one of the infamous Southern Health Motivational Days. The Viral Quality Champion has got a roomful of people singing “Proud”:

KP and her management team set that up knowing that the Mazars report was on its way. They’d already had the damning CQC inspection report but what the heck, let’s all be Proud anyway.

You can probably guess that over time, I’ve built up quite a few fantasies about the woman on all fours. I imagine her joining the company in 1976 and working assiduously in the typing pool. When the pool was disbanded in 1989, WOAF was reimagined or rebranded into the stationary department and has been there, a model employee, ever since. Her unfortunate appearance in the Viral Quality film was because it has been her routine everyday since 1976 at 10.30am to go to the kitchenette for a cup of tea and a custard cream.

Imagine WOAF’s surprise last December when she got home from a hard day at work to switch on the TV and see Michael Buchannen doorsteping her CEO for BBC News. How does she square that with her world of paper clips, hole punches and carbon paper? Proud? Or slightly uncomfortable? Or does she not join the dots?

Look how KP spun the CQC Inspection report in her message to all her staff:

Do the Southern Health employees gather around their wirelesses at 3pm on Christmas afternoon to listen to these messages?

Perhaps that’s the point of the spin. Nobody outside of Southern Health seems taken in by it. The powers that be (The Minister, NHS England, The Commissioners, CQC, Monitor, The DofH) are complicit but I don’t believe they believe the spin. Perhaps the spin is for their own employees. To create a fantasy world. A world that you slightly recognise but don’t like to question too much.

For poor old Woaf, she inhabits three worlds. The normal day to day world of subject dividers and staples. A showbizzy, happy clappy cult world where she’s expected to sing Heather Small songs and she has to crawl on all fours to get her afternoon biscuit. And the third world that she sees on the TV news. A world that she caught a sideways glance of that day she parked her bicycle at work and saw a display of gingerbread men in the car park.

I bet she longs for the innocent days of the typing pool.


From → Social Care

  1. “I’d like you to meet our Viral Quality Chump, Ian. Ian, the corridor is yours.”

  2. Interesting piece from KP – who seems very nice – but for a CEO to say ” Overall we are really pleased “, with a CQC Report that rated 30% of their services as requiring improvement illustrates why the Trust is having the problems it is. In my opinion the presentation should have included the phrases : “This is good”; ” “This is unacceptable”; “I take full responsibility”; ” We have to build on what we are doing well;” “This is what we are going to do” “and this is when we are going to have done it ” .

    At the end of it the staff should have been clear on all of these points instead they are left with “Overall we are really pleased” – Well I doubt very much that the families are.

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