Bit of a hoo-ha down at the Counts Louse this afternoon, I’m told, over this public forum statement to the Health Scrutiny Commission about the Kingsmead Lodge Nursing Home abuse scandal (Blogger passim).
It seems that our dearest of dear old friends City Solicitor Stephen McNamara decided – at the very last minute of course – that this statement should be heavily edited because “there is a police investigation”.
This change of plan was was announced to the public forum speaker – another old friend, rumbustious Day Care campaigner of yesteryear, Steve Norman – by McNamara’s chief lackey Louise Martin just minutes before the meeting was due to begin
Alas, poor Louise, not the brightest of sparks and apparently not too up on this new fangled Human Rights stuff, was immediately lost for words when she was told by Norman he had every right to say whatever he liked and this was enshrined in article 10 of the Human Rights Act, a copy of which was conveniently located on the meeting room wall! (Presumably it’s for decorative purposes only?)
Louise could only respond with the line “there is a police investigation”.
So fucking what? When did a police investigation stop you speaking at a council meeting? Surely Mr McNamara isn’t once again inventing non-existent legal tosh to cover the arses of his devastatingly useless social services colleagues and keep inconvenient facts from councillors and the public is he?
But we digress. Norman, the only forum speaker on the day, predictably stood up and started to read this brilliantly constructed and rather eloquent statement (do you have an interest to declare? Ed.) in its entirety anyway.
At which point: enter stage right four of McNamara’s burly security boys to physically remove Norman from the city’s haven of free speech …
Anyway, here’s what Norman said before he was removed from the meeting for no reason, other than that some sleazy private health care provider raking in money from Bristol council taxpayers don’t want you to hear it and the council’s happy to play along:
Kingsmead Lodge Nursing Home Abuse/Neglect
Members probably read in Friday’s Evening Post that the police, the CSCI and your own social services are investigating allegations of abuse at Kingsmead Lodge Nursing Home.
This home, run for profit by Nottingham based private healthcare providers, Mimosa, is where Bristol City Council Social Services chooses to place some of the city’s most vulnerable elderly people.
Now five former staff from the home have come forward and made sworn statements regarding what’s been going on at this home. The allegations include:
Abuse of residents
A culture of bullying and harassment
A lack of support to staff from management
Abuses of Health & Safety guidelines
Basic healthcare policy and practice ignored
Inadequate reporting procedures
A lack of equipment
And “a regime run by bullying and fear where you would suffer repercussions if you spoke out or reported any incidents.”
I do not have time to read the statements in their entirety but I urge members to take the time to do so. They are included in this statement.
Allegations you’ll find in the statements include:
“I witnessed a 70 yr old resident thrown against a wall”;
“I have witnessed the removal of residents buzzers at night”;
“I have seen the contents of sedative capsules mixed into food”;
” I was told to hoist residents on my own”;
“Staff were working twelve hour shifts sometimes with no break”.
You will also find horrifying incidents such as this:
“A resident was found in bed with a cup of tea which had been spilt. The resident was obviously scolded
The RGN on duty was more concerned with what her family were going to say than carrying out emergency first aid to cool the scold.
So it was approximately one and a half hours – and after myself and another care assistant keeping on at her – that she carried out first aid.
Eventually cold compresses were applied and a Doctor called.
I was also asked to take responsibility for this incident by the RGN.
Alas, that’s as far as Norman got before security moved in. However, he has confirmed he will be back at more meetings with more allegations as will relatives of former residents of the home and former staff.
So it rather looks like our PR-savvy council have decided the best way to deal with this hugely serious affair is to spend the next couple of months creating some kind of demented circus of speeches and physical evictions from the Counts Louse in order to preserve a non-existent right of privacy to one of their shoddy private healthcare providers.
Wouldn’t it be a little more dignified if the council allowed the allegations to be aired and then calmly did their job of properly investigating them?
What do they have to hide?
COMING SOON: Worker blew the whistle two years ago but nothing was done … Police have evidence from investigation into Kingsmead in the autumn but refuse to press charges … Has Mimosa Healthcare’s Nottingam-based Operations Manager, Mark Butler, now holed up in Kingsmead Lodge, gone completely mad? And much more …