My apologies for the lack of stories over the past few days. On Wednesday we found out that Steven's mum, and my wife, had died suddenly and it's knocked us both for six.
Reading about the incredible decision of Southern Health to ban baths, reminded me of the number of times when Steven was in the Unit, or since, that Hillingdon had made similar sorts of decisions - a whiff of a problem and then a blanket decision.
Every time they do it, like with Sloven's decision, it exposes the charlatan nature of these places and these systems. For all the talk of person centred care and the phrase that social services always used with Steven - "We always put Steven at the heart of our decision making process", these actions show that to be cobblers. It is always about professional reputation and liability - the person needing the care doesn't even come into the equation.
I wrote about the alleged incident in the doctor's surgery where the two support workers were immediately suspended. Their suspension was never explained to Steven and their sudden disappearance caused him a lot of distress. Similarly, the council received an anonymous tip off that there were employment issues with the support workers. They immediately cancelled the contract - no investigation pending a withdrawal. The consequence of that was that Steven was left without any support for nearly two weeks. There was nothing in the allegation and two weeks later, everything was back to normal. But it shows the council's knee jerk reaction was to protect itself.
And of course, there was the cancelling of all of Steven's activities after the first DoL was served. When we went for the DoL appeal meeting, the chair agreed to reinstate the Mencap Pool but my friend counted the Unit manager and the social worker say 8 times - "Where does this leave the council?" Steven took a vicar's glasses off because he's been left on his own without any support and the response was to stop him going anywhere and instead, walk him round the garden three times a day.
It's funny because when the boot is on the other foot, it all changes. As part of their "independence" plan, the Unit were very keen for Steven to go everywhere by bus. Now, Steven finds bus travel so so difficult. All the noises sends him into sensory overload and it invariably leads to a meltdown. I asked them to reintroduce the cabs. They refused stating that Steven had to learn to manage these normal aspects of life. I sent them all sorts of stuff on sensory overload but the manager dismissed it all with that horrid cliche - "if you know one person with autism, then you know one person with autism". And it was never about independence or teaching Steven an important life skill - it was about money - a bus fare is cheaper than a cab fare.
It's ironic that in both the case of Hillingdon and Southern health that the more they try to do to protect their reputation, the more their reputation ends up in tatters.
Sad thing is though, society doesn't really give a toss. We can expose this shit but as the recent news from the Winterbourne JIP showed, people aren't leaving these places. In fact, more people are being sent to them.