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Near Misses

January 8, 2017

There’s an inevitability that once you’ve been through a traumatic experience, the trauma can be reactivated in the blink of an eye. There is no protection: it’s as quick as lightning.

I caught a bit of football on the TV earlier. The striker took a shot at goal and the ball sailed at least 10 feet over the bar. This prompted the commentator to observe rather pithily: “Well, you could hardly call that a near miss”.

Whoosh! I was back in 2010.

One of the weapons that Hillingdon employed to discredit me in court was, “we believe Mr Neary does not appreciate the importance of recording incidents and doesn’t record every incident that takes place”.

Well, the second half of the sentence was correct. We live in a home, not a labaroratory. However, the first part of the sentence confused me and when I challenged them on, their reply was, “We can find no record of you recording a near miss”.

A near miss! What is a near miss? Steven looked like he might throw that cup? He appeared to be on the verge of kicking someone? I would have laughed but the amount of threat embedded in the idea of a near miss is chilling.

For all the units’ claims to the scientific credentials of functional analysis, this was simply subjective speculation. In what other field, can the expert claim a position they defend in court that’s based on what might have happened? How many people are serving long prison sentences for something they looked like doing?

This is how daft it got and how frightened I became. When Steven first came home, the court ordered that we keep logs at home. Neither me, nor the support workers knew what a near miss was but knew we couldn’t hand in a log without any near misses. So, I made them up. Once a week I would type up what the support workers had written during the week, I’d add a couple of fictional near misses. The guilt was terrible. I felt so disloyal towards Steven but knew Hillingdon would try and get us back in court if we were near miss less.

These shite memories have been running through my head all day.

It could have been so different if Number 8’s attempt at goal had hit the target.


From → Social Care

  1. Ah, the ‘near miss’ – once more you’ve hit on a concept that’s rampant in the mental health services as well as the field of learning disability. On one occasion when I attempted to complain about 4 mental health workers in a notoriously abusive unit in north Wales who had assaulted me, it took me years to actually extract the medical records that related to this incident. When I did finally extract them, imagine my surprise that it had been recorded as a ‘near miss’ no less – they had ‘believed’ that I was going to hit them. I remembered the incident well – four of them were standing, surrounding me as I lay on my bed – no way did they ever think that I was going to hit them, it would have been physically impossible for me to have done so in that position. But documenting it as a ‘near miss’ justified their appalling behaviour. I later found out that there had been many, many complaints from other patients regarding aggression from this ‘team’…

  2. It seems that Social Care don’t use a social model of care anymore (as that model involves inclusion, compassion and empathy), or even a medical model (which uses functional analysis which is at the core of positive behaviour support).
    Do they use ‘near misses’ then?
    Social Care are also not transparent in my part of the country, I feel, more top secret but without any true intelligence of the kind we need.
    I haven’t heard anything logical or caring or social come out of a social worker’s mouth for 2 years.

    Is it because they have no real skill or knowledge, but pretend to?
    A skill that can’t be evidenced isn’t a skill. They are admin workers, compared to real social workers who used to get to know people and supported families – I knew two or three real social workers who I wish I had now.

  3. Emily permalink

    Sounds like the film minority report. Guilty for even thinking of doing something. Tom cruise has a lot to answer for.

    • Not just Tom Cruise either I’m afraid Emily – I’m sure that one of the reasons that people find it difficult to believe accounts of serious abuse, neglect and misconduct in the NHS is that twice a week millions of people sit down to watch those popular PR vehicles for the NHS, Holby City and Casualty…where the staff are busy having romances with each other and saving lives – they certainly never lie in expert witness reports or investigations to protect colleagues and there are never even mistakes made by the staff, let alone malpractice.

  4. Sally permalink

    I don’t understand it that you were obliged to record near misses if there were none to record. It sounds like a no win. Record none, you were regarded as lying or blind to risk. Record lots and you provided ammunition for criticism.
    My experience with reporting such incidents (Eg:son leaping onto the road and by a miracle not run over ) is that I was not given any assistance, not even support with the shock and fear I would feel sfterwards . I would get a lecture about needing to be even more careful, with no concrete advice about how I could possibly do this.
    . If somebody narrowly escapes harm then that needs noting. Could it have been headed off? Anything to learn? More help needed ? But the recording demanded if you sounds extremely punitive and pointless

  5. techiebabe permalink

    Blimey. I just don’t get it. I mean in my own life I suppose a near miss would be “I wobbled near the top of the stairs but didn’t fall” “I spilt the boiling food but this time it went into the sink not on my feet” and “I felt quite depressed but made myself eat dinner regardless”.

    But that’s a hard thing to qualify, recall and record, *and that’s talking about my own life*. How are you supposed to identify something that Steven didn’t quite do, or a thought he didn’t act on?

    I know that’s your point! But I can’t quite believe the stupidity of this request.

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