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Learning Disability England’s response to Tim Smart

The Mazars report into Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust showed that the Trust had failed to investigate hundreds of deaths of people with learning disabilities.

Tim Smart, the Interim Chair, released a review that says what he thinks should happen at Southern Health.

You can read the review here.

Having read the Interim Chair’s Review, Learning Disability England is appalled to learn that the CEO and board of Southern Health will remain in post.

This can only happen in a society where people with learning disabilities are valued less than other citizens.

Jenny Carter, self-advocate and lifetime member of Learning Disability England, said in response to the review:

“I think it’s awful no one has taken responsibility for Connor’s death. People need to be held to account. This happened under the leadership of Katrina Percy and the board – someone needs to take responsibility and go. We need not to forget the others who have died in the hands of Southern Health.”

Wendy Burt, family member and Coordinator of the Essex Carers Network commented:

“Families and friends campaigned hard for an investigation which resulted in the Mazars report showing significant failings, yet still the individuals who led the organisation which failed remain at the helm.

As families we need to be able to have faith in those we entrust with the care of our loved ones; a CEO and a board who have consistently failed people and their families is totally unacceptable. Today I stand in solidarity with all those families who through the unacceptable behaviour of Southern Health have lost loved ones. They are not giving up they are not going away and there are many families across the UK who will be there with them.”

Alicia Wood, Co-Founder of Learning Disability England said:

“I am appalled that Katrina Percy has kept her job despite continual and evidenced failings over a sustained period. The lack of care for people with learning disability and mental ill health  due to poor leadership has been established and those in leadership positions within the trust should have resigned a long time ago out of respect to those who have died, suffered and been neglected by the trust.

The Trust requires a change of culture and leadership and those responsible for creating the current culture cannot and should not be the people who make the changes needed.”

Learning Disability England believes that we need systemic change in the care and support system. There has been enough talk and now we need action. We want to see the closure of ATUs, properly funded care and support systems, and mechanisms to make managers of poor services accountable to people and families.

Our thoughts are with those who have yet to get justice because of Tim Smart’s decisions, especially the families of Connor Sparrowhawk and Nico Reed.

At Learning Disability England we won’t accept this decision and will be talking with our members and the #JusticeforLB campaign about what further action to take.