Sunday, 16 March 2014

Guest Blog - The strangest thing in Barnet is the way we treat our vulnerable people by Linda Edwards

By Linda Edwards,

My response to your request Barnet Eye Saturday 15th March 2014 --- "What is the strangest thing you've seen in the London Borough of Barnet?"  My one caveat is that whilst this may happen in Barnet, these issues are now endemic in our society.

1. People being 'demoted' because they work with commitment, compassion and love with vulnerable elderly people who are suffering from Dementia and double incontinence in the last days of their lives.

2.  People being 'demoted' because they work with commitment, compassion and love with people who have learning disabilities.

The status of staff working with the above groups is so low because they are working with vulnerable people whose status is even lower.

Until we honour and value all vulnerable groups in society and adhere to the Equality Act 2010 with intention and integrity of putting respect and dignity into practise in everything we write and speak, we will continue to demoralise the people who work with our children, our parents and one day, ourselves! 

3. Managers on huge salaries, who are continually being promoted for having teams of people to research and prepare reports in response to Government communications that neither the team or reports make much contribution or difference to humanity. 

My next contribution to this list has been written by Andy Bradley, a friend of mine and your friend too:

4. People Die when they Shouldn't!

I will be brief, because I know that if you read this blog you are busy, and you are probably like me, unsettled.

But most of you are not nearly as unsettled as Sara and Rich.

Because most of you don’t have a son who died in the bath when he should have been safe, when people were being paid to care for him. I am like most of you, my son is alive – he is in Australia with his girlfriend, on the beach, looking forward to going to university and to meeting up with his mates for a some beers when he gets back to Brighton, and I am looking forward to a hug and a chat and a game of snooker. But Sara and Rich cannot hug LB (aka The Dude) anymore because he is dead.

And this is a problem for all of us – because if we don’t get our act together there will be more sons and daughters and mothers and fathers who die when they shouldn’t.

Ask James Titcombe, or Julie Bailey or Deb Hazeldine – because they know how it is to live with this loss, this avoidable loss, this should never have happened loss.

Ask Kay Sheldon or Dr Kim Holt about how defensive and toxic the culture can be when things go terribly wrong. Ask any whistleblower about how the system responds when it is confronted by what may be deeply uncomfortable truths. Ask Margaret Flynn whose professional life is dedicated to the families of people at Winterbourne View and now South Wales where more has gone terribly wrong, where values have broken down and profit and greed has ruined more lives.

I am known for making a bold claim – that we can build a compassion legacy in which my children and my childrens children will be safe and will be met with kindness when they are vulnerable.

This week some women in London who are all senior leaders made me believe deep down that we can make a difference.

They are women of integrity and character. Not the kind of leaders who defend the indefensible.

They are standing for




To keep people in health and social care safe.

Lets get busy – lets at the very least make the deaths and the suffering of the families mean something.


LB, a fit and healthy, quirky, remarkable, self assured and beyond loved 18 year old entered an NHS hospital nearly a year ago now and died. Through proven neglect.

If LB hadn’t been learning disabled, his death would have provoked instantaneous outrage and engagement.

LB should not have drowned in a bath in a hospital. In a unit with four ‘specialist’ staff and five patients.   Full story read:
Linda Edwards
Guest Blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye

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