The Mazars Report is a really important document. It says that “there was not enough focus or time spent on carefully reporting and investigating unexpected deaths of Mental Health and Learning Disability service users” at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. About 1% of deaths in Learning Disability services were investigated.
After our meeting with Tim Smart, there was some confusion about whether or not he had read the Mazars report. So we wrote the following letter to him:
Thank you very much for meeting with us last week.
I would like to repeat what I said about you seeming like a good and honest person.
But a few of us were confused by your comments about the Mazars report.
As we didn’t have time to talk about this in the meeting, I thought I would write to you to find out more about what you think.
You suggested that the Mazars report was not very important, or not true.
We think it is a very important report.
Our members are very worried about people with learning disabilities dying, and their deaths not being properly looked into.
We know from Connor’s case that the truth is not always told, so investigations need to happen.
Our members are scared because people with learning disabilities do not get the same standard of healthcare as everybody else.
The Mazars report told us that if we die, our deaths will not be taken seriously.
We have based a lot of our health campaigning on the findings of the Mazars report.
Your comment about the Mazars report makes us think that you don’t take the healthcare (or deaths) of people with learning disabilities very seriously. This makes us sad and angry.
If you think the report is not very good, we would like to know why and know what evidence you have for your view.
I am looking forward to your reply – it would be good to have a conversation about this so we can understand more.
We have also sent this letter to our 2 local MPs, Andrew Smith and Nicola Blackwood, and asked them to follow up the issue.
As we said last week, we look forward to having another meeting with you.
My Life My Choice Trustee
(Supported by Kate Evans, Campaigns Coordinator)
On 16 June he wrote back and said:
Thank you very much for your letter. I very much enjoyed our meeting at the Jam Factory.
I am sorry if the comments I made about the Mazars report caused any confusion or worry.
I’m pleased to have the opportunity to make things clear.
When we met I explained that every decision I take will have the interests of patients at the front and centre.
Making things better for those who use our services is my priority.
During our meeting you said that you have nightmares about drowning in a bath whilst in the care of Southern Health. I ﬁnd that very distressing.
My comments about the Mazars Report don’t mean that it is not an important report or that Southern Health shouldn’t listen to its recommendations.
The Mazars report did not look at the quality of care that Southern Health provides.
But the way it has been reported in the news means some people are frightened to use our services.
I am concerned that the Mazers report has caused people to be frightened. I want to change that.
At the moment I am working to understand what changes I need to make.
As part of this I am meeting with lots of different people including groups like My Life, My Choice and examining a lot of documents, including the Mazars report.
It is important that I take the time to listen to all these views.
I will decide what to do around the end of this month and I would really like to come back to see you again to talk about this more then.
I look forward to seeing you again soon.
Tim Smart Interim Chair
Cc Andrew Smith MP, Nicola Blackwood MP