Below is a letter that we sent to Southern Health NHS Trust today.
Dear Mr Smart,
We write this letter with much sadness.
The My Life My Choice trustees today all voted to confirm our charity will no longer engage with the leadership of Southern Health.
In the 18 years of the charity’s history we have always tried to work with professionals to improve services for people with learning disabilities.
We have never in our history refused to engage with anybody or any organisation that works with people with learning disabilities.
After considerable time and effort by our Charity’s Champions in trying to help the leadership of Southern Health act in a responsible and kind way we now know that we have been wasting our time.
After Connor Sparrowhawk’s death in 2013 the leadership of Southern Health were falling over themselves to speak with the people with learning disabilities that lead our charity.
Your leaders promised our trustees to set up self-advocacy groups in Southern Health, commission our trainers with learning disabilities to carry out staff training, people with learning disabilities to sit on your board, and to provide money to us to help increase the take up of health checks for people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire.
You delivered nothing.
We were concerned at the time that when Southern Health first approached our charity that this was only a patronising PR stunt. Our experiences of Southern Health’s leadership over the last three years have confirmed our fears.
We will continue to campaign for improvements at Southern Health.
We want to see Southern Health leadership treat the Mazars report with the seriousness it demands, treat bereaved families with compassion and respect, treat patients with learning disabilities like human beings, and to take good care of the public’s money.
We were astounded to hear that your Medical Director is paid £360,000 per year. Most of our members live on £150 a week. I think the Father of the NHS, Nye Bevan, would be turning in his grave.
Everybody at My Life My Choice loves the NHS. We think that the leadership of Southern Health have badly let us and the NHS down. We do not think that they represent what is good about our wonderful NHS.
We all make mistakes but at our charity we take responsibility for our mistakes and at all times try to improve on what we do and to act with decency. We would like to see the leadership of Southern Health behave more like us.
We don’t expect or require a response to this letter.
Pam Bebbington (Co-Chair of trustees)
Jackie Scarrott (Co-Chair of trustees)
Shaun Picken (Vice- Chair of trustees)
Dawn Wiltshire (Vice- Chair of trustees)