Margaret Fleming

This woman probably died in 1999. That’s when she was last seen by her GP and by anyone at all who wasn’t her carer. Until 2016 NO ONE NOTICED. Margaret had learning disabilities. Her carers claimed benefits on her behalf until 2016 when benefits officials FINALLY paid a visit to her home. Her carers, I use the term loosely, claimed she was at the house in 2017 and ran off when police arrived to search for her. They’ve now been convicted of her murder. This report and image come from the Scottish Daily Record, but it’s not the only instance … Continue reading Margaret Fleming

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Holocaust Day and people with disabilities

Holocaust Day: among the very many atrocities committed by the Nazis up to and including World War II, thousands of people with disabilities were murdered in the interests of eliminating ‘incurable illness’. They called it euthanasia and it is almost certainly still happening somewhere in the world – perhaps so quietly and one by one that no one notices. Let’s try to notice, please. http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007683 Continue reading Holocaust Day and people with disabilities

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So, where was I …?

Brighton is an extraordinary place. Described by the journalist Keith Waterhouse as ‘a town that always looks as though it’s helping the police with their enquiries’, I’ve imagined Eastbourne and Worthing either side folding their arms, tapping their feet in an irritated fashion and wishing it would just sit down and be quiet, for goodness sake. I blame the Prince Regent; if he hadn’t come waltzing down here with his entourage, partying like it was 1799 and building hallucinatory palaces, the sixties would never have got a look-in and we would not now have this noisy, unruly, flamboyant, drama-queen of a city. I can’t help thinking Hove is a reluctant bride in … Continue reading So, where was I …?

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Winterbourne’s Silent Majority

In 1981, I went on placement as a clinical trainee to a large mental handicap hospital in Surrey. I had never encountered people with learning disabilities before, and I was shocked to the core. But I was a qualified general nurse, and I was used to clearing up the messes bodies make when they’re ill or distressed. I was also used to pulling curtains around people on bedpans, to chasing doctors out of the women’s wards while personal care was being delivered, and to helping people to eat when they had forgotten how. I saw how morale was raised by giving patients a wash and set before visiting. … Continue reading Winterbourne’s Silent Majority

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Joint Congress of the European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability & IASSID Challenging Behaviour & Mental Health SIRG

This is a first-of-its-kind conference; a joint enterprise between the Division of Clinical Psychology (British Psychological Society) and two European specialist learning disability associations. It is hosted by the DCP’s Faculty of Learning disability, which comprises psychologists working with people with learning disabilities, primarily in the NHS but also through local authority and third sector provisions. Sussex Partnership is well represented. Peter Baker is presenting his work  on positive behaviour support: Positive Behaviour Support Clinical and Process Outcomes: The P-CPO project. Nicky Gregory (with Celia Heneage) a workshop: Group work with people who have learning disabilities; sharing ideas from clinical practice. And I am presenting our findings for … Continue reading Joint Congress of the European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability & IASSID Challenging Behaviour & Mental Health SIRG

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Imperial College London | Treet TV

Imperial College London | Treet TV. Imagine making a live TV show with a bunch of potentially maverick scientists and a studio audience. Nervous? Good. Now imagine that you’re going to do this in a virtual world with all your presenters and guests represented as avatars and communicating using text, in-world voice, and VOIP. Not to mention you need them to face front at the right time, have in-world voice turned on but not up so you get lip sync without echo, and nobody’s connection cracks up. That’s the challenge faced by the Treet TV team that followed Dave Taylor, … Continue reading Imperial College London | Treet TV

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Specialist, palliative, and rehabilitative care for people with learning disabilities

This is a new publication in the same vein as Mencap’s ‘Death by Indifference’ shocker of a couple of years ago which exposed the scandalous way in which people with learning disabilities are often treated by the NHS. Not generally through malignance or harmful intent but through ignorance and blindness to their difficulties. Something called diagnostic overshadowing makes it difficult for many health care professionals to see beyond the learning disability so that other conditions, often physical or psychological and some of them as basic as being unable to eat without prompting, are over-looked. Jo Lee, physiotherapist in our team, … Continue reading Specialist, palliative, and rehabilitative care for people with learning disabilities

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‘Heavy Load’ and the ‘Stay Up Late’ campaign

After posting last week about our staff awards night and reading this week our chief executive’s blog on same, my mind suddenly fell over an uncomfortable memory. It concerned the contrast between the unspoken freedoms that attending this event represented and the infuriating and humiliating constraints that are the more common experience of most people with learning disabilities. Heavy Load is a Brighton-based punk rock band comprising a mixed membership of people with and without learning disabilities and their mission is to change the way staffing shifts impact on their social lives. This is what they say Lots of people … Continue reading ‘Heavy Load’ and the ‘Stay Up Late’ campaign

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Sussex Partnership research conference

This was the Trust’s third R&D conference, a reflection of the key role research now plays in NHS activity and how recent this incorporation has been. Clinicians have always undertaken research and development, whether in response to highly focused problem solving for a specific issue or as a more speculative process out of which something entirely original was born. The difference now is that, rather than working alone with no formal structures by which to network for new skills and ideas, we are increasingly able to access the vast resources of university colleagues and they, in turn, are able to … Continue reading Sussex Partnership research conference

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