Thursday, 25 July 2013

Guest Blog - Exposing the Your Choice Barnet myths, lies and distortions by John Sullivan

By John Sullivan, 
Hi it's me again on the same topic I have been writing guest blogs on for so long, the  "Campaign Against Destruction of Disability Services " in Barnet " Caddss"  for short, and the need to return adult services back in-house and rescue  the disabled people of Barnet from the incompetence of the Local Authority Trading Company called Your Choice Barnet ( YCB ), who in conjunction with our local councillor Rajput and 150k per annum LBB officer Kate Kennally, are in a race to the bottom in the quality of care and therefore quality of life of disabled people and those with a disability in Barnet.

On March 1st of this year YCB launched a new way forward that leads to the bottom of the gutter in quality of care for disabled people, the directors and Kate Kennally the 150 k plus officer that is supposed to care for disabled people support this race to the bottom as does, I presume, the forever silent councillor Rajput.  This way forward is borne not of a desire to improve the quality of life of service users, but to get out of debt, debt that they have accumulated over just one year of trading, based on a business plan that was an accident waiting to happen. Now there rescue plan launched on March 1st has about as much chance of success as the first failed car crash of a business plan, yet they press on regardless. Over more than 40 years in-house services never got into debt never had to replace skilled staff  with any unskilled Tom Dick or Harriet agency workers, so why after promising they would bring service back in house if the business plan failed are they refusing to do so, and launching a plan B instead without  meaningful consultation with interested parties, no doubt with their fingers and toes firmly crossed.

I along with two other families instructed solicitors to challenge the implementation of this March 1st document because we parents carers and service users had not been consulted and there was no intention to consult with us. In order to stop the legal action proceeding to judicial review YCB undertook to consult with parents carers and service users, sadly they have now reneged on that promise and are refusing to consult on the main issue which is the restructuring of Staff, because the quality of the care is determined by the quality and skills of the staff and nothing else. Our concerns were demonstrated at information meetings arranged by YCB that they have now conveniently re-named consultations. We are concerned with the demolition of staff morale, staff working conditions, the removal of skilled workers  being replaced by unskilled agency workers , and the reduction in staff numbers, yet they refuse to consult with us about changes to the staffing restructure. We are supposed to take no interest in what Tom Dick or Harriet looks after our children and wards, we are told that replacing long term skilled staff with part time unskilled agency workers will have no impact on services, a claim that is already being seen to have no foundation in fact.
I am a founder member of CADDSS and as a consequence I approached my fellow CADDSS members and suggested that we consider instructing a professional person to review this March 1st disaster waiting to happen, in order that we could get a balanced and professional overview of YCB from its launch  to today. As a consequence we instructed Professor Dexter Whitfield a specialist in this field to review the March 1st proposals, and as he had undertaken a review of the original business model and condemned it and has been proven absolutely correct, we felt he was the right man for the job.

That review has now been completed and I attach it in the hope you will take the time to read it, and when you read it try to put yourself in the shoes of the parents and family carers of the service users and ask yourself a couple of questions. 1, How can the replacement of skilled staff with unskilled agency workers not have an impact on the quality of the service and therefore quality of life of service users, ( let me remind you Winterbourne View occurred because they went down the rush to the bottom standard of care and quality with unskilled staff to provide services on the cheap ) . 2, How can that impact on service users not have anything to do with the family carers or the service users, how can that possibly be none of our business. We have a bunch of failed directors who have made a complete car crash of the first business model, demanding that they know best and plan B the  March 1st document is the answer which  I hasten to add it is not . 3, If it were your loved one or family member would you place your faith or trust in these known failed directors without being afforded the opportunity to question them in an open and transparent forum. 4, If you were a parent or a family carer and your family member was involved , would you expect to be consulted on staff changes , because at the risk of repeating myself, the reality is and there is no question about it, the quality of care for these vulnerable folk is dependent solely on the quality and skills of the staff and nothing else.
I have many other questions I could go on forever but let me ask you this simple question, If what is proposed and is currently being implemented by YCB/LBB is in the interests as they claim of service users , parents and family carers, why are they refusing to meaningfully consult with us in an open and transparent way, which leads to me to the question what are they trying to hide.
Please read the CADDSS review by Professor Whitfield

I ask you to do this before the LBB lie machine goes into overdrive and condemns every person  supporting bringing adult services back in-house to ensure the safety and quality of life of service users parents and carers, who they will brand  left wing loonies that are just trying to stir up trouble with no justification which is completely untrue.

This balanced report by Professor Whitfield nips that lie machine in the bud, it provides a myriad of reasons why YCB has failed and will continue to fail, and affords substantial reasoning for bringing adult services back in-house both financial and moral reasons. When you have read it and if you agree we have genuine cause for concern, then please offer us your support by contacting CADDSS and telling us what you think and feel.

My final question is , if you were in my place with a nearly fifty year old daughter with Down's Syndrome and the  Grim Reaper hanging his axe over your head, would you like me be concerned to know " what will happen to her when I die ", that is all I am asking " what will happen to her when I die ", and apparently according to YCB/LBB that is none of my business, and I have no right to be meaningfully consulted in an open forum where all interested parties are invited, I repeat  what worries me the most is why will they not meaningfully consult, what is it they are hiding from us.

What is happening now whist I am alive to protect my daughter is bad enough in this democracy free zone more commonly known as Broken Barnet, that avoids meaningful consultation as if it were a strain of leprosy. But the question remains  nagging in my brain twisting my mind destroying my peace of mind " what will happen to her when I die ", not I would suggest an unreasonable question.
Guest Blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye.

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