Fwd: Steve Norman's letter to all councillors

Dear Councillor,

I have no doubt that by now you are aware of the story on the BBC Bristol News web site: ‘Failings Uncovered At Four Bristol Care Homes’and the documentary aired this evening on ‘Inside Out West’

The company concerned is your partner, Mimosa Healthcare – strapline: ‘WHERE PEOPLE MATTER’.

This is the same provider that I brought to the attention of a Health & Scrutiny Commission and Cabinet in February when I attempted to expose the abuse and bullying that was taking place at Kingsmead Lodge Nursing Home. This was rebuffed by your council – as is the norm.

Soon after this, a photograph appeared in the Evening Post featuring the council leader and Councillor Knott stood outside Mimosa’s Sunnymead Manor home alongside an article in which they claimed everyone inside seemed “content”.

I would hope as an elected representative, serving the good citizens of Bristol, that you find it appalling when you read judgments such as “atrocious” being made about Mimosa’s homes by a body like the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

I sincerely hope it does because there is no place in the City Of Bristol for such a consistently appalling provider of private residential and nursing care or anyone prepared to support them.

Furthermore when this company, that runs 32 homes up and down this country, are only receiving one and two star ratings from a five star rating system and descriptions such as “adequate” are the best they can do, I would hope serious alarm bells are ringing. Or is it going
to be a case once again of ‘we will weather the storm’?

I hope you will agree with me when I say there is no place in this city for such a poor provider and that you will be asking the relevant officers to take residents that are currently in the care of Mimosa out of their care immediately.

However, I feel – as usual – the private provider tail will be wagging your local authority dog.

Your sincerely
Steven Norman

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Fwd: Mr Steve Norman`s letter; reply

Dear colleagues

You will probably be aware of a report on BBC’s Inside Out programme last night which highlighted recent failings at a number of residential care homes in Bristol run by Mimosa. Care is graded by the Commission for Quality Care inspectorate according to four categories, ranging from poor, or zero-rated, at one end, through adequate, good to excellent at the top end of the spectrum.

The first point to make is that all four of the homes run by Mimosa in Bristol in which we place residents, are currently rated either ‘adequate’ or ‘good’.

What the programme highlighted was failings found during inspections either earlier this year, in the case of Honeymead, or last year – December 2008 in the case of Sunnymead Manor – which is currently rated ‘good’ by the CQC.

I fully accept the findings of the CQC that care fell below an  acceptable level and, as happens when a home is rated poor, the council:

Suspended further placements until the home had been re-inspected – usually within six months – and the rating improved

Worked with Mimosa and the CQC to implement an action plan aimed at addressing the failings

Spent days in the homes checking progress, interviewing residents and observing

Held monthly meetings with the homes involved to review and update the improvement action plan

During the investigations and during every monthly meeting, the risks to residents were assessed

If a particular resident was deemed to be at risk because, for example, their needs were beyond what the home could offer, we would offer the resident a placement elsewhere. The need for this did not arise.

In his letter, Mr Steve Norman highlights allegations of bullying at Kingsmead Lodge. It is true that a number of former care workers at Kingsmead came forward with serious allegations, some of them of a criminal nature. However, the police carried out a thorough investigation and no charges were brought.

With regards to Sunnymead Manor, I did indeed visit the home with the Leader of the Council in March this year because I was extremely concerned about its poor rating. I make no apology for that. I wanted to see for myself what the home was like and what action was being taken to
improve things.

What I found was that a new manager was now in post who had a very clear plan for tackling the failings identified by the CQC. My impression, which was reported by the Evening Post at the time
(10/3/09), that there was “a strong will to improve things”, was subsequently borne out by the CQC which re-inspected in April this year and which rated the home as ‘good’.

I do not wish to suggest that I, or the directorate, are in any way complacent about the issue of care at these homes. The level of care which we expect – and residents and their relatives have a right to expect – fell to unacceptable levels. The situation in all of the homes has now improved considerably but I expect Mimosa to continue to work to improve the level of care at present and I will insist that we continue to monitor the homes to ensure that they do so.

I do not believe the situation at present warrants our ceasing to place people at the care homes run by Mimosa, not is this supported by the recent findings of CQC. And to remove residents from what is their home and their friends is not in their interests. At Sunnymead, for example, CQC found that staff were “friendly, polite and caring in their approach”. CQC also reported that during their visit in April, a number of relatives of residents “sought them out” to praise the care received, with one describing herself as “extremely happy”.

In summary then, the action we have taken with Mimosa and the CQC has addressed the failings which the BBC – and Mr Norman – have highlighted. We will continue to monitor the situation at these homes very closely.

Bev Knott

Posted in Bristol, Health, Local government, Politics, Privatisation, Social Care | Tagged , , , , , , , | There are 3 comments

Missing in action: Stephen McNamara

Is that a lycra-clad lawyer clutching an old wig I see disappearing over the horizon?
The Bristol Blogger, November 25 2009

Yep, as predicted, the tragic old wig-wearer has done a runner. As a major care scandal gently laps at the doors of his Council House and a local citizen openly invites the city’s legal boss to court, it seems Stephen McNamara has buggered off on holiday until 29 December! Just the man for a crisis.

I wonder, is anyone actually available at the Counts Louse today or are they all cowering in the basement referring everyone to their PAs?

Posted in Health, Local government, Politics, Privatisation, Social Care | Tagged , , | There are 2 comments

Fancy that! "I will be out of the office at meetings on Monday 7 December 09"

Oh look! The putative head of our city’s “atrocious” adult care services – “Why don’t you fucking go home Cathy?” Morgan – is not contactable today because she’s “at meetings”. Ho! Ho! Ho!

When do we get her resignation then?

Posted in Bedminster, Bristol, Health, Local government, Politics, Privatisation, Shirehampton, Social Care, Southmead | Tagged , , , , , , | There are 2 comments

More favours to local business from our planning department

Looks like “Dodgy” David Bishop‘s “objective” and “independent” planning department have been using that famous disinterested “quasi-judicial function” of theirs to benefit local business interests on the sly again.

One of the more enduring mysteries of the sudden withdrawal of Bristol City FC’s planning application to build a supermarket at Ashton Gate (Blogger passim) is why did they choose to withdraw this application?

Contrary to popular mythology, the planning application, supposed to be heard on the 5 November, was never a “Tesco application” that needed to be replaced by a “Sainsbury application”. It was always an application to build a supermarket of any brand they liked on the site, so why withdraw it? The name of the supermarket is not a material planning consideration in any way.

Now the Blogger learns that the reason for the sudden withdrawal of this application – just a week before it was due to be heard – was because the city’s planning department had produced a report recommending REFUSING permission.

As a courtesy, this report was first shown by Bristol City Council to Bristol City FC after which it seems to have got mysteriously buried.

This means the football club and their new partners have had EXCLUSIVE access to the reasons for refusal and can now work unhindered to try and produce a new application that will be accepted.

Anybody else, of course, is currently denied access to this public report. Especially those people who might not fancy some shitty great metal shed full of consumer crap and 600-space car park in their back yard.

Isn’t it nice of our city planners – who we pay handsomely for their independence and objectivity – to be handing out a competitive advantage to a couple of favoured businesses?

Posted in Ashton Vale, Bedminster, Bristol, Bristol South, Developments, Environment, Local government, Planning, Politics, Southville, World Cup 2018 | Tagged , , , , | There are 20 comments

The art of blogging: just keep banging your head against that brick wall …

… Until the right people start listening:

Job done!

Posted in Blogging, Bristol, Local government, Media, Politics, Social Care, Twitter | Tagged , , , , | There are 4 comments

"Institutional abuse" identified in Bristol's care homes

Today’s report from the Care Quality Commission (CQS) in to Bristol’s adult care services is mainy a text book example of what happens when the dead hand of bureaucracy meets impenetrable New Labour social jargon.

So we’ve got an “Annual performance assessment” report grading the city’s services on the basis of their contribution to a bunch of positive-sounding empty slogans such as “Making a positive contribution”; “Freedom from discrimination and harassment” and that New Labour favourite “Increased choice and control”.

And we learn from all this that Bristol is judged to be doing “Well”, whatever that means.

But wade through the yards of meaningless jargon – how about “A comprehensive Joint Strategic Needs Assessment has been produced which is being used as a source document for planning and as the basis for reviewing commissioning strategies”? – and you might discover the odd fact.

Like this one hidden away on page 5:

The council has been working with some providers to address institutional abuse and is using the learning and experience from this as a model for partnership working with other homes.

There it is. An open admission of institutional abuse in Bristol’s care homes. Especially note the verb “address” in that sentence. They’re not “investigating” allegations any more, they’re “addressing” a problem they’ve made a great effort not to admit they have.

The truth is slowly coming out …

Posted in Bristol, Health, Local government, Politics, Privatisation, Social Care | Tagged , , , | There are 11 comments

LEAKED DOCUMENT: city council leadership – we've done over the vulnerable, now for the wage slaves

You have to laugh … Or you’d probably cry.

The city council’s ridiculous “strategic leadership team“, having spent the last 18 months feather-bedding themselves with pay rises of 20% plus; spending £120k on their own offices and “break-out spaces” and implementing a farcical management restructure “to save money” that’s resulted in at least 20 more senior managers – and a £1m bill – than they started with, have now discovered they need to save £2m this year.

And how do they intend to achieve that then? Well, according to Chief Exec Jan Ormondroyd, in her letter below, by “thinking very hard before authorising any discretionary spend for the rest of this financial year”!

What’s this then? Zen management? Are Jan and her team the strategic leadership Waybuloos now? Floating around in their break-out space in a trance-like state meditating and thinking hard to clear £2m of public debt?

Of course not. Jan explains more, “Each directorate has significant budgets assigned to costs such as: conference, subsistence and hospitality expenses, office stationery, equipment, furniture and fittings and other general supplies.”

So cut back on the paperclips and save £2m is it? Of course not. Jan then tells us the real plan to save £2m:

we also need to think hard before we recruit staff to fill vacancies. We need to consider all options before recruiting externally and in order to consider the corporate priorities I am establishing a Corporate Recruitment Management Panel. This will require all managers to submit any vacancy requests to this panel, which will sit on a weekly basis. The panel will commence on November 9th and a more detailed note explaining the process will be sent out shortly.

What this means is that if you’re a frontline member of staff or an ordinary office monkey on crap money and a colleague leaves or dies or goes sick they ain’t gonna replace them. Instead you’ll have to do their work for them on top of what you already do – for exactly the same money plus the generous 1% pay rise they gave you this year. That’ll improve services won’t it?

And this is all on the say-so of a gang of wealthy “strategists” struggling along on recently enhanced six-figure salaries. What a warm-hearted, generous bunch they are!

If you work at Bristol City Council and you’re not in a union, join one quick. If you work there and are in a union then isn’t time to start kicking off? Remember it could be you …

Yesterday the sick, the disabled, the old and the mentally ill. Today the wage slaves. Isn’t it about time that Ormondroyd had her overpaid, oversized, reactionary backside firmly kicked in to place?

Posted in Bristol, Budget, Economy, Local government, Politics, Trade Unionism | Tagged , , | There are 4 comments

REVEALED: £2m cuts for the city's most vulnerable

While our idiot councillors and idiot senior council officers write out a blank cheque to an international Swiss gangster operation for something between £17m and £40m – depending on who you want to believe – to host four football matches in 2018, there’s been rather less publicity about the more prosaic matter of the huge budget deficit the council is running up in the here and now.

So how do the council intend to fix this deficit then? By hitting the old, the unwell, the disabled and the mentally ill hard of course!

A report to the Resources Scrutiny Commission on 4 December explains all:

• We are undertaking a programme of reviews of care packages for older people. A target saving of over £400k has been set for the remainder of this year.

• The temporary team established to ensure maximum take up of continuing health care funding remains in place and has been set an additional savings target of £500k for this year.

• A programme of care package reviews for people with learning difficulties and PSI is also well underway. A realistic savings target for this financial year is currently being determined.

Reviews of mental health packages are also being implemented. A target saving for this year of £500k has been set and the team remain confident that significant savings can be made.

Charming isn’t it? Blank cheques for the wealthy accompanied a few weeks later by savage funding cuts for the voiceless and the vulnerable. The term ‘scum’ doesn’t begin to do justice to the people who run this city.

Posted in Bristol, Budget, Economy, Health, Home Care, Local government, Politics, Privatisation, Social Care, World Cup 2018 | Tagged , | There are 27 comments

From the comments …

by Steven Norman November 28, 2009 at 5:26 pm

I believe that Bristol City Council should issue court proceedings for recovery of this outstanding money. At this moment in time it is public money that has been paid to one of their buddies in the private sector to appease them – Mimosa Healthcare, whose slogan is ‘Where People Matter’.

Mimosa Healthcare, ‘Where People Matter’, had a contract to provide both my father and late mother with a high standard of care. Under the terms and conditions of this agreement they have failed to do so.

They decided – for reasons that they have never disclosed – to pack my father off to hospital in the back of an ambulance on his own at midnight in excruciating pain and scared and frightened with no family member present.

The family had no knowledge that he was even ill, yet he had been in severe pain since 7.00 pm that evening. Someone then decided it might be a good idea to inform my father’s next of kin.

But instead of ringing my sister’s landline they decided it would be better to leave a message on her mobile phone voicemail. It was only by chance that my sister heard her mobile phone beeping as she was in bed asleep.

These are the facts of how we became aware that our 84 year old father had been rushed to the BRI. We thank god that he didn’t pass away in that ambulance and that he has now made a full recovery. When we arrived at the BRI at 01.00 am we found our father in a severely distressed state and crying with pain.

First thing Monday morning I made a complaint to Social Service’s regarding the treatment my father had received from their provider with the slogan ‘Where People Matter’.

That complaint has never been addressed and neither have we been notified of the findings of any investigations. What we do know is that Bristol City Council settled all outstanding bills with their buddies – Mimosa Healthcare and let’s not forget the slogan ‘Where People Matter’ – and then ask us to pay for the privilege of the above fiasco.

Secondly, at February’s cabinet meeting, I asked written questions of the council leader regarding Mimosa Healthcare, ‘Where People Matter’.

The council leader in her written reply confirmed that Social Services had stopped placing the elderly in to another nursing home run by Mimosa Healthcare.

This was the home that the council leader, along with Councillor Knott, was photographed outside for the Evening Post while they claimed that the people inside ’seemed contented’ or words to that effect.

Mimosa Healthcare are not fit to provide nursing care in this city and maybe they should look at revising their slogan to ‘PROFIT PROFIT PROFIT BEFORE CARE’.

The plain and simple truth is that Bristol City Council embraces this provider because it has in the region of 600+ nursing beds in this city and it’s a case of the tail wagging the dog.

Thirdly, as stated, I believe it right that Bristol City Council should pursue this outstanding bill through the courts and I welcome the opportunity to defend my sister in this action as I firmly believe that there is just cause within English Law to defend such an action and I know that I have evidence to support such a defence.

So I would ask all the good citizens and council taxpayers of Bristol to email Stephen McNamara (stephen.mcnamara@bristol.gov.uk) and insist that he attempts the recovery of this public money.

I have one simple statement to Mr McNamara and Social Services:

DON’T DELAY SERVE YOUR PAPERS TODAY or kindly refrain from sending threatening and malicious letters to my family.

Posted in Bristol, Lib Dems, Local government, Politics, Privatisation, Shirehampton, Social Care, Southmead | Tagged , , , , , , | There are no comments yet