ABUSE, NEGLIGENCE & LAW BREAKING BY PUBLIC OFFICIALS
John Bradfield, CQSW FETC MA., Former Medical, Psychiatric & Child Care Social Worker & Tutor.
Writer & Campaigner on Bereavement Issues, Related Law & Practice.
Yorkshire Post letters 2014 & 2015
Governments have created culture of cover-up on abuse
Culture of cowardice deters public sector whistleblowers
(The suggested title was ‘No urgent law to stop and prevent abuse’)
Shame those who failed to act on abuse
(The suggested title was ‘Serious abuse requires serious penalties for all public officials’)
PURPOSE OF PROTEST OUTSIDE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
DoH civil servants have consistently failed over decades, to deliver laws and policies which would have had major impacts, on abuse and negligence. Those are forms of ‘bereavement’, i.e. the “loss” of anything of crucial importance to us such as life, limb, health, innocence, personal integrity, peace of mind, emotional security and stability. The NHS has a legal duty to protect those things, (Ss.1 & 1A, NHS Act, 2006) but where are the politicians and political parties determined to ensure that staff comply with the law?
At no time since the start of the NHS in 1948, has the DoH provided information on law and psychology, to guide NHS staff on how to respond and not respond, after the devastating death of a relative or friend. The DoH consultation documents issued in January on collecting bodies from hospitals, incompetently fail to outline relevant law and psychology. What is proposed is the very opposite of what those demand and will inevitably inflict immeasurable emotional harm. That is not understood by staff in the DoH.. Why not?
The DoH allowed hospitals to impose criminal obstructions to the collections of bodies. It is about to encourage those criminal obstructions. It will be the most outrageous change in the way NHS staff and other public servants respond to anyone, in the first minutes, hours and days as they attempt to cope with a death. Crisis and survival psychology, (i.e. about why some of us die in threatening situations or survive but become disabled with post-traumatic stress disorders, depression, anxiety, suicidal urges and so on), point unequivocally to the importance whenever possible, of having opportunities to take control, be assertive, proactive, decisive and purposeful in finding our own solutions and ways of coping. Anything which obstructs our ability to do those things, can be predicted to cause emotional harm, in the short, medium and possibly long term. The gross incompetence of civil servants in the DoH., will force even more of us into helpless dependency, reinforcing our fears of taking control, when we have to cope with the death of a baby, young child or adult. We may also have to cope with the criminal destruction of our family graves. That should have been resolved during recent court cases but public officials misled the courts on relevant law.
I call again on the Health Select Committee in parliament to consider basic questions such as these:-
Q.1 “If no-one had ever died in the past but it was known that deaths would happen for the first time and soon, what emergency emotional, social and other needs could we expect anyone to have, in the first minutes, hours and days, after the death of a close friend or relative, whether a baby, young child or adult?”;
Q.2 “What would we expect health, welfare and other public services to be ready to do to meet those needs, not least to protect and promote emotional wellbeing, as required by law, (Ss.1 & 1A, NHS Act , 2006) ?”;
Q.3 “Would we expect them to do anything which is not being done at present, based on what is known from crisis and survival psychology and current law?”
Q.4 “Is anything being done which should be stopped for legal, psychological or other reasons?”
08 April 2015 Press Release
Retired social worker asked police to arrest DoH staff
On returning to work after the Easter holiday, staff at the Quarry House office of the Department of Health in Leeds, summoned the police to remove retired social work tutor John Bradfield from the premises. His protest followed 20 years of unproductive letter writing.
Two police officers arrived and agreed that he was not breaking the law. He explained that unless a coroner is involved, criminal law prevents hospital staff and anyone else, from dictating who can collect, when and how, the body of a baby, young child or adult.
He then asked the police to arrest the civil servants responsible for encouraging “endless criminal and oppressive responses, when NHS staff are involved in the first minutes, hours and days, with those having to cope with devastating bereavements”. He added that, “staff must always respond therapeutically and stop acting like high security prison guards”.
With the children’s organs scandal, he said, “everyone knew what was happening and no-one did anything about it”, according to former Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell. “To this very day, NHS staff continue to resist the full lessons of that scandal. Everyone knows what is happening over breaches of criminal law when relatives attempt to collect bodies”, said John Bradfield. That, he said, “carries no maximum penalty and no limit on when a prosecution has to start and the courts regard it as very serious”.
The Health Select Committee in parliament revealed, that civil servants in Quarry House had already decided by the 27th February, what they would do before the close of a public consultation at midnight on Easter Monday. They will advise NHS staff to see what John Bradfield describes as a “completely irrelevant” document, before bodies are collected.
He says, “Nothing in that consultation mentioned relevant psychology or what the law does and doesn’t allow”, adding that “this is incompetence of the highest order”.
The same staff were criticised in January by the Royal College of Pathologists for the “incomprehensible” delays in finding a new approach to monitoring causes of deaths, after GP Harold Shipman was found guilty 15 years ago of killing patients.
When driving one Friday to collect the body of a friend from a hospital, John Bradfield thought it would be his own last day on this earth. The police had warned everyone to stay at home. Accidents caused by black ice, dense fog, heaving rain and flooding, resulted in many closed roads, including parts of the A1 motorway. He tried to arrange the collection on the Saturday, the day before the funeral but the hospital refused to help, when police had advised driving conditions would be safe. John Bradfield said, “the decision of the hospital could have put me in its A&E ward or mortuary, because NHS staff have not been advised on their legal duty, to protect physical and emotional wellbeing around bereavements and how to help prevent fatal accidents”.
He claims, “there is a desperate need for NHS staff to be provided with sound information on law and crisis psychology, as that has never been done since the start of the NHS in 1948″.
The parliamentary record states that he has, “unparalleled expertise on relevant law”, since 1990 has provided “the nation [with] a free public service which no-one else is capable of providing” but clearly civil servants in Leeds and NHS staff have been shooting this messenger, which is why he was seen with an arrow through his head during his protest.
He is calling for a courageous MP to tackle this taboo subject in parliament.
Bereaved mother Teresa Evans provides more details on this story via http://evansaboveonline.co.uk/abuse-negligence-law-breaking-public-officials/
ALICE BARKER TRUST
EMERGENCY SERVICE TO EMPOWER
This proposal traces back to the education of health and welfare staff since the 1960s. Very determined voluntary work over the last two decades, has caused volunteers to give up, on an empowering approach to bereavement, due to the unrelenting stress, caused by having to deal with public servants who persist with unlawful obstructions. We have set out below, a significant part of the solution. If grasped by politicians, a modern public service funded and organised by voluntary organisations would emerge. It would be user-friendly, inspire the best in public service and create a lasting legacy for the nation.
When someone dies, one emergency is over but all staff in the NHS., welfare and other public services should recognise, that other ‘health’ emergencies may have started. That requires that all staff in all public services co-operate fully, with the lawful decisions and responsibilities, which those who are newly bereaved and others would take, if not unlawfully obstructed or kept in the dark, about their choices for taking control.
For almost four decades, formal NHS policy effectively defined a procedure as bad practice. It is now being adopted by some hospitals as good practice. We are confident that it is criminal. The police do not understand the law, so have never referred incidents to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration. Such technical details could be dealt with clearly and simply, in a new law, to promote self-help and independence.
The proposal here, would radically transform public services across the board. We need to demonstrate an intellectually credible and lawful way of responding to emotional and social emergencies. Many public services respond in ways which are not recognised as oppressive and unlawful. When challenged, public servants have taken a year or more, to put things right. Others decline to respond. Courts and tribunals are too slow, cumbersome and costly, to deal with everyday emergencies. Those require immediate decisions, which are not only legally sound but do not cause helplessness, hopelessness and wholly unnecessary dependence on our public services. That happens when they try to control us. They must act to give us the confidence to act independently, collaboratively and responsibly towards others.
We cannot move forward, unless the government agrees to and provides a new law. We are so sure of immediate success, that the requested powers could be granted for a trial period, to test the benefits.
Given the necessary powers, unlawful actions and hindering responses by public servants could be stopped at a stroke. The new service would issue instructions to immediately comply with existing law. However, those instructions would be invalid, if they could be proven wrong, inaccurate or misleading. If public servants or others persist in emergencies, with actions they cannot immediately prove to be lawful, the new voluntary service would instruct offenders to help and not hinder or completely withdraw. If they refuse, the emergency service would have the power to enforce its decisions and as a last resort, impose fixed penalties. That would achieve instant results and through publicity, a sound way of driving up standards. A sound body of legal and psychological knowledge would quickly emerge, with significant contributions being made by our best public services and universities.
Only incompetent, blundering and oppressive officials would have anything to fear. Through such new and democratic challenges, staff would instantly recognise how to provide excellent public services.
Crucial but little known laws would be made clear. However, we believe the government would want to go further. For example, when a very disabled mother died unexpectedly at home, her social worker, rushed to collect her three children from school. On the very same day, they were evicted from their rented home, by the person responsible for their mother’s Will. The social worker and approved volunteers were prepared to live with the children for a few days or weeks, until they had been given time to absorb what had happened. Emergency powers were needed to protect those children, in their own home, in that emotional and social emergency. Their social worker needed the emergency power, to override the decision to evict the children. Through the requested emergency service law, greater protection could be given to children, who are suddenly faced with devastating circumstances.
An academic in psychiatry, recently discovered that even hospice staff are reluctant to speak about death. So strong is our cultural taboo, that most health and welfare staff withdraw, the moment someone dies. Those who are newly bereaved even after expected deaths, may feel abandoned, isolated and bewildered. They may feel like wild animals trapped in cages or be frozen with fear. They may need immediate help to make sense of their feelings and reactions. They may need immediate help to gain rapid control, over situations which feel totally out of control. There have always been pockets of excellence, which have never been spread across the board. That is because of inadequate education, training, guidance and support. Consequently public servants lack the confidence to help with all manner of lawful decisions, taken immediately after bereavements. The new law is now the only answer, to rapidly break away from the disabling, unlawful and even criminal habits of the past.