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(Not) Joining The Dots

October 17, 2017

We hear a lot in social care about joined up thinking. Joined up working is pretty popular too. It’s such a shame that not much effort goes into joining up the dots. This post is a clumsy attempt at joining the dots of a few recent social care/ ATU stories.

There have been a number of news reports about the Cygnet owned hospital in Woking. This is the place that Matthew Garnett’s family fought like mad to get him moved from as they were so horrified by how much Matthew deteriorated whilst there. This week the CQC published their latest inspection report with an horrific overall rating of “inadequate”. Please read the report below. It makes for very distressing reading though:

The report is expertly hidden on the Cygnet website but what takes pride of place is the news of a second unit currently being built in Harrow. This new 14 bed unit adds to the existing 44 bed unit on the same site. The most recent CQC inspection report for the current Harrow Unit carried a “Requires Improvement” rating.

Cygnet are clearly on an expansion roll. The new Harrow Unit follows their new 56 bed hospital that opened in Coventry back in April.

Another private company currently on an upward trajectory (profit wise) are ASC Healthcare. Back in August they opened an 18 bed unit in Manchester. Now, they have announced that building work has started on a 54 bed unit in Wrexham. I don’t know about you but that seems quite an investment to me. Local commissioners have distanced themselves from the project but you know the catchphrase from A Trade in People – “If you build it, they will come….”

Arcadia is the huge American company that recently snapped up all the Priory Group facilities. They have are also the parent company of Partnerships in Care. You may remember Stephen Andrade, one of the original dudes from the first 7 Days of Action campaign. Stephen has been in one of the Partnership in Care units for nearly five years. Back in March, the hospital received a “Requires Improvement” CQC rating. This week Stephen’s mother, Leo, posted a very disturbing update on her petition page. A police investigation is currently taking place so it would be inappropriate to comment further than the details Leo has already disclosed. It was recently discovered that Stephen’s clavicle was broken. Clavicles don’t just suddenly break for no reason. CCT footage has shown constant use of physical restraint, which appears to be the cause of the injury. Will the dots be joined on this one? What has happened in the six months since the “requires improvement” report? Will local safeguarding take this seriously?

Perhaps the strangest announcement of the week is the news of a 22 bed unit opening in Oxfordshire. What makes this one stand out is it’s an NHS unit. Qué Transforming Care? The mantra of TC is that it is about closing beds. Building 22 new ones doesn’t make any sense. We know that STATT was closed after the preventable death of Connor Sparrowhawk. We know of Oxford families who have campaigned tirelessly for crisis support. I think they had in mind at home support or short term respite provision. I don’t think they were after another 22 bed institution.

The awesome Julie Newcombe expressed her dismay on Twitter and asked for the rationale behind the build. She received the following reply from Anne Webster of NHS England:

“It’s part of the overall plan to reduce the overall number of hospital beds whilst being closer to home. A secure hospital closer to home = shorter length of stay & maintains relationships with family & community easier. Closures in other regions. It’s not alternative to crisis beds which would be part of CCG (non secure services) planning as alternative to admission to ATUs  “.

I find that baffling. Do you reduce beds by building 22 new ones? Local doesn’t mean shorter stays or maintaining relationships. Steven Neary was in a unit about half a mile from his home but was still kept there for a year. STATT was just down the road from Connor’s home and we all know how difficult the Unit made it for Connor to maintain his family relationships. I can’t find any logic in the response to Julie’s question.

Hard to know where all this leaves learning disabled people and their families. As I’ve been writing this, Steven has been listening to The Beautiful South song “Hold On To What”. He likes this song because it’s got a cheeky swear word in the lyric:

“Many years of service with a smile.

Up shit creek and down the Rhine”.


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One Comment
  1. Thanks for bringing all this information together and joining the dots.

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