The next days were spent making arrangements for your funeral.
I began to follow up some of the questions I’d already asked in mid-December 2007 of the Mental Health Care of Older People Team, part of Camden and Islington NHS / Mental Health and Social Care Trust. Their social worker wrote to me the day before the funeral to inform me that she’d no longer be the allocated worker, but that her Deputy Manager would be coordinating the “on-going enquiry” into the circumstances leading to your admission to hospital. There was to be a comprehensive investigation under their Adult Protection Procedures. I asked to be allowed to attend all meetings and to receive a copy of the Report of the Investigation. The Deputy Manager of the MHCOP team said she didn’t envisage any problems with that request; she knew by then that I’d want and need to stay fully involved.
I’d contacted CSCI (now the CQC) on 20 December 2007, while you were still alive, to tell them of my concerns about your care, or rather lack of it. It took them a while to find the right department dealing with Lennox House. CSCI had not been notified of your sudden admission to hospital on 8 December 2007, so the inspector I spoke to said they would write to the manager of Lennox House and to me. I heard nothing back from CSCI, so I phoned them again on 21 January 2008, to be told that CSCI had indeed written to the manager after my phone call and that they’d received a call back from her to say that she would reply in due course.
But CSCI received no response from her, so they contacted her again on 21 January 2008. That’s when I first discovered that the manager told CSCI, that very day, that she had ‘arranged’ a meeting with me on 31 December 2007 (as I mentioned here) and that all my ‘concerns had been ironed out’ at that so-called meeting. That is far from the truth.
Your social worker had a few busy days too, round about 20/21.12.2007, and when I received a copy of your notes (much later in February 2008) I was able to know more. According to the notes, she’d apparently tried to phone me so many times but had never been able to reach me or to leave a message for me. Strangely enough, many other people had managed to do just that. I knew nothing of Adult Protection Procedures or the ‘Form AP2’ that was completed then. Islington’s Adult Protection Coordinator was busy too, but I did manage to speak with her just the once.
When I received your notes, sent to me on 12 February 2008, I read that the Adult Protection Coordinator had advised your social worker on 2 January 2008 – well before the funeral – that your family had the right “to request an inquest, though MHCOP would not do this”. (They are the exact words used in the social worker’s notes.)
Why is it, do you think, that absolutely nobody at all cared enough to pass that vital piece of information to your family? Not one person told us that we had the right “to request an inquest, though MHCOP would not do this”.
MHCOP (Mental Health Care of Older People) were well aware that there were serious concerns about the lack of care provided to you by Care UK’s so-called care home Lennox House.
But nobody cared enough about you or your family to tell us that we had that basic human right. There were a few other things noted that they could have transmitted to your family too, but nobody cared enough to tell us. In the best interests of whom was that decision made to withhold vital information from us?
According to the notes, MCHOP were faffing around trying to work out whether there was anybody available in MHCOP with the ‘capacity to conduct an investigation’. Not wishing to be facetious, but I do wonder whether they meant the ‘mental capacity’ or the ‘physical capacity’ to conduct an investigation. In the event, an Independent Nurse Consultant was commissioned by MHCOP to carry out the investigation and to write a Report.
The social worker signed off on 8 January 2008 and departed by writing that she would no longer be involved in your case as “the only remaining work is the completion of the POVA enquiry”. POVA was the Protection of Vulnerable Adults.
You deserved better care.
(To be continued)