A culture of candour? #JusticeforLB

I’ve spent about an hour trying to write a blog post but keep deleting the words. Today Sara shared the audio message below which she picked up from her work answerphone.

Good morning, hello, hi, this is a message for Dr Sara Ryan, um I’ve been seeing on the media about your son, your poor son who died in the care of Southern Health. I work for Southern Health and I feel awful that you lost him, I’m so sorry that you have done, it’s tragic, and, I hope you find some closure after the report, the issue of the GM… urgh CQC report today, but I do think you are being very vindictive. I think you are a vindictive cow.

On TV all the time, ummm, slating the NHS Southern Health. With your intelligent background, you know, as much as much as anyone else knows, that Southern Health only took over those units in Oxfordshire recent, you know the recent months before your son died.

You know, with your background, it takes a while to make changes in anywhere, and I think now you’ve just become a [inaudible] and you want some attention, but you are vindictive and you are unpleasant, and you are a nasty cow.

9.33am Friday April 29th

Thanks to Lucia for the transcript

Have a listen and just ask yourself what sort of culture allows such attitudes to prevail.

What messages have been shared at Southern Health that gives their staff members the belief that laying blame at the feet of bereaved relatives is appropriate, never mind accurate.

Our hunch in the Justice Shed is that KP and her sunshine band have been busily briefing staff, dismissing and defaming the CQC report, as they did the Mazars report, and every previous report before that.

We debated whether to share this message but everything about JusticeforLB has been built on a foundation of openness, transparency and honesty – so here it is. It has also been passed to the Police.

49 responses to “A culture of candour? #JusticeforLB”

  1. Wendy Greenberg says:

    I have contacted Southern Health

  2. G B Millward says:

    Do you know what, I think that was Katrina Percy (pissed up) cos she knows she’s up for the sack **fingers crossed**

  3. Debra Oliveri says:

    This is the Southern Health I know so well and have had to deal with over the years. But for the Ryan family this is beyond low even for Southern Health – how very foolish to even think that, that particular person will not be able to be traced from the call.

  4. Rosie says:

    What. The. Hell.
    My jaw just dropped. What did this woman think she was doing? I am completely at a loss.
    I’m so sorry that you have to put up with this, Sara. It is appalling. And, I know this is waaaaay down the list of concerns, but I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I am also someone who doesn’t know you and has seen you in the media, and I have always considered you very dignified, courageous and nothing like this awful message says you are.
    Keep fighting… You’re getting under skins so you must be getting somewhere.

  5. Cathy Cooke says:

    Not many things shock me nowadays, but that did.

    Intimidatory hate crime. I’m sure the perpetrator can be recognised by their voice and brought to justice.

  6. That is a member of ‘caring’ staff? Who looks after vulnerable young people? I usually have plenty of words but…………….

  7. Pat says:

    Hope the police find out who this is and incarceate her in a Southern Health establishment! Maybe it should be played on the national news – somebody will recognise the voice! However, must be a pretty stupid individual as even blocked numbers can be traced by police and phone company! Grrrrrrrrrrrr – sooooooo ANGRY at this!

  8. Tracy Neil says:

    My jaw dropped. Is that really a member of staff calling Sarah a vindictive cow? I’m speechless!

  9. Wendy Neil says:

    I would like to say it’s beyond belief but it’s not that’s the culture of big organisation said. Not a jot of integrity between them . Typical behaviour of lots of people who rise beyond their skills . Will not take responsibility for their actions . They were paid to do a job they did not do . It should be instant dismissal . They are all covering each other’s backs .

  10. Ruth McGoldrick says:

    That’s a message from someone who thinks that she’s is ‘untouchable’ (and unaccountable to anyone). I fully expect to hear that she has been sacked – we don’t need bullies in charge of our NHS.

  11. Olivia says:

    They aren’t sorry they did what they did. They’re just furious they got caught. Shining a light on evil will never be popular with evil-doers.

    I have an autistic son. He’s the joy of our lives. I send so, so much love, and total and unending sympathy for your loss. We know the Underdowns – it was how I heard about LB, and what happened – and it could so easily be us. Might have been in a few years, if you hadn’t taken the action that you have.

    I am so incredibly sorry that you have faced this on top of everything else. And the creature leaving that message deserves the media shit-storm, and inevitable long-term unemployment, that will follow her criminal conviction.

  12. Wayne says:

    Utterly without words. What does closure mean to a famil who has lost someone so dear to them anyway? You are expected to forget, to turn away , to forgive? Reminds me of the quotation often attributed to Gandhi : First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you and then you win!

  13. anne mcdonough says:

    beyond belief lost for words, absolutely discusting

  14. Phillippa Swindell says:

    This is a disgraceful way of communicating with a parent. Doesnt the speaker realise that we live in a democratic country and everyone has a right to lobby for justice and ensure that poor practice is rectified and acted upon. If parents/carers dont advocate for the person they care for who will? From personal experience I feel that many NHS staff are caught up in such institutionalised culture that they cant “look at themselves” and analysis the service delivery they are providing.
    Glad that this has been shared as the public need to know how Southern Health respond to complaints. Publicity may be the only tool which will initiate change.

  15. I have been following your story since it happened and as a parent of a special needs adult, I would stop at nothing either to uncover the truth if this had happened to my son and make these people take responsibility. That woman sounded like she was drunk spewing her venom. Shame on her but this is all because your campaign had the audacity to impact on her and her colleagues. What about the impact their carelessness has had on your family…..irreparable damage and the loss of someone you loved so much, whose life should have been as equally as important to them as his life was to you. They had a duty of care and they took none with LB. Shout it out from the rooftops, people like her should not be caring for vulnerable adults, not now, not ever!!!! Big hugs to you all.

  16. Sway Dem Friend says:

    Speechless. I am completely speechless from this voice mail.

  17. Tania Spinks says:

    Just speechless!

  18. Mandy says:

    Oh my dear Lord and can’t understand why any human being would do this to another person terrible. Sara you are an amazing women and a fabulous mum don’t listen to this and keep strong

  19. Mandy says:

    Just awful

  20. jonnyrotten says:

    I think i recognise that voice, the passive aggression too was a feature of a social worker i was unfortunate enough to have had a run in with,

  21. Sarah Wyer says:


    How crazy to leave it as a voicemail?

    Lets hope her employer deals with this appropriately and she is shamed.

    An illustration of what you as a family have been up against.

  22. Angela mays says:

    Absolutely beyond belief. So sorry Sara, that you and your family are still having to put up with this level of abuse. Just how low can it go? They are certainly not going to get away with it and are only adding to the utter outrage that you and all your supporters feel and reinforcing your resolve to get justice for your precious son, Connor and so many others. Makes me want to weep with grief and rage.

  23. Hannah says:

    “With your intelligent background” oh my. I think it’s really weird that she mentions twice your media appearances and that she’s seen you in the media. I genuinely wouldn’t put anything past Southern Health and I will encourage them to be proactive in checking their outgoing calls to your number to make sure it wasn’t a member of staff using their phones. However, if your number is easily accessed it could be a vicious and sadistic crank getting their kicks out of making a terrible, hellish situation worse. I don’t know what I hope it is for your sake.

    You and your family have been through so much with SH and I’m so, so sorry this has happened. Whether she works for them or not, she is proof that people can be the cruellest intentionally and dress it up as ‘friendly advice’. I hope this recording is used in presentations across the health service as a reminder of what happens when families try to speak up, defend their loved ones and demand better experiences for others. They should never be treated as though they are ‘just’ trying to cause a fuss, there are fusses needed.

    Also, for any SH staff members reading this, I hope that the internal line being towed is not that ‘we just needed longer to improve the service’ or ‘you can’t expect it to go from bad to good overnight’ because the answer is yes, you absolutely can. If it is run by people who genuinely believe that the worst thing that could happen with their names attached to it is for somebody to die or be injured in their care that message would be fed down immediately on taking over. Shame on you for being party to this ongoing belittling and diminishing of LB’s family, it has led to this phone call being conceivable in the mind of a sick woman whether she works for you or not.

  24. Julie Owen says:

    How did she get your telephone number?

  25. Frannie says:

    Someone is obviously on her case about something, how cowardly to be so vindictive and sound so righteous but not leave he name, could it be the same person who sent the factually incorrect scathing disgraceful letter earlier this year?so worrying that she may have input into services for our loved ones, so cruel to you and your family
    As parents we all owe you and team LB so much as ever such awesomeness xxx

  26. Emily says:

    Utterly disgusting. With such appauling values and attitudes from staff, what hope of good care is there? The only positive you can hope for is that you are obviously having an impact, being heard and maybe use this as strength to keep going Sara. Wishing you positive thoughts X

  27. Mark Sherry says:

    Sara, so sorry, again. It’s all one insult/lie/disgrace/attack/cover-up/offensive act after another.
    Thank goodness you shared this. People need to know this is who they are dealing with.

  28. Cath says:

    Horrendous beyond words, I’m so sorry this has happened, that the employee has sunk to such a disgraceful low.

  29. Hannah says:

    Surely there has been a breach of confidentiality if someone got hold of her number and sent this message. How disgusting. I can appreciate things take time to change when new agencies take over however there were serious failings and things can be put in place so incidents do not continue or happen. At the heart of this a mother has lost her son in a placement that could not meet his needs. There are thousands of people like LB and his family in the same situation. ALL LIVES MATTER. I hope this person who left the message, who by the way failed to give their name, is dealt with appropriately.

  30. vida_public says:

    Sorry to add that the inaudible word in the transcript is ‘bitch’.

    This person is unspeakably cruel. They are lacking in the most basic understanding of compassion – surely a prerequisite for working in a health care – and needs to be discovered and reprimanded before they escalate their behaviour.

    Sara, you don’t need my opinion of you, but I’d like to leave it… You are truly inspiring, and everything I would aspire to be if I has been left in the same devastating state of loss by the neglect and ineptitude of a failing organisation. I can’t imagine the strength of will required to continue this fight in the face of such heartlessness. Your love for your son shines through everything.

    • Mark says:

      I think that the inaudible words are “witch hunt” – as in “I think now it’s become a witch hunt…”

  31. […] transcript below comes from a message left on LB’s mother’s office answerphone from someone claiming to work for Sloven.  It doesn’t much matter whether the caller is a […]

  32. Kirsty says:

    I’m so very sorry that you have been subject to this in the course of fighting for the rights of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. I had the privilege of working with people with learning disabilities when I was at university. It was that; a privilege. Never give up the fight for justice for LB and all the others out there.

  33. Andrew says:

    That is outrageous! Whoever did that phone call deserves to be sacked, and named and shamed.

    Sara, you are an absolutely inspiring, amazing person.

  34. Sarah B says:

    Oh wow that is abhorrent…

  35. Caroline says:

    I’m sure someone will recognise the caller’s distinct drone and she will be suitably admonished. Dr Ryan, I admire your strength and courage to fight for justice for your son. The message is terrible and must be so upsetting to hear someone say that to you. Stay strong and know that the public are behind you.

  36. Jojo says:

    I have wanted to write for some time about your determination to know the truth Dr Ryan. I cannot imagine what it must be like to lose your child in these circumstances. Your dignity and strength during this time is quite simply incredible. These comments are a testimony to the support you have.

  37. Josie says:

    Sarah, we’re rooting for you, for the truth, and most importantly in memory of Connor

  38. MaggieS says:

    If I hadn’t heard it, I wouldn’t believe it. The boy is dead – that’s a HUGE failing by anyone who was supposed to be keeping him safe. As a mother of three sons I can’t claim to know what Sara Ryan is going through, but I can imagine. The worst thing a mother can ever have to experience. Why on earth anyone would want to say such things is beyond comprehension.

  39. RachelinTokyo says:


    I can’t pretend to know very much about LB, Connor and your family beyond what I’ve read a few days on the Guardian. I came here to listen to the audio.

    It’s gutter trash. This is happening to her. Not to you. Rise above it and look on her with pity.
    If we’re talking about what type of person does this – someone who feels so much pain and hatred they have to scrape the worst human behaviour together and
    pitch stones at a mother who just lost her child. Someone without any dignity or decency.

    Something inside her is uneducated and ignorant, and rotten.

    You’re much better than that. Let the audio speak for itself.

  40. RachelinTokyo says:

    PS I also meant to say, I’m so so sorry for your loss. If you can think of it as something once had and you’re better for it, it helps. Instead of a loss, a great girt you were given.
    ( hugs)

  41. […] see through it if this happens (so far, the only abuse that could be described as such has been directed at Sara Ryan, the mother of the young man who drowned, not at Percy or anyone else at the trust). If Kuenssberg […]

  42. […] of Southern Health staff (their own admission) calling her a vindictive, attention seeking cow (you can listen to it here). It’s not hard to see where staff got that impression from, Southern Health Board spent […]

  43. Darren Lawson says:

    There’s actually a reason that the person who made this phone call expresses herself incorrectly. It’s a common trait throughout all of the southern public sector authorities. They always imply something along with every statement, whether in text or verbally. They always seem to carry some imperitive to insult the person that they’re dealing with along with every statement that they make. I’ve been in Marchwood Priory, Malbury lodge, had two ASBI’s and an ammended order along with dealings with social services and I get the same standpoint from every organisation. They’re the aggressive people and they want the rest of us just to accept it and make do with whatever they let us have. The nepotism in the public sector is all about character, it’s far too large and we all pay to be tortured by these smart people. Yes in an employment crisis the pubic sector still advertises for smart people with no other skills.

  44. Riman2009 says:

    The blame must surely go all the way to the top! How could a member of a ‘caring, professional staff’ ever gather the courage to say such, if it is not within the culture of the organisation they work for?

  45. […] Note: If it sounds familiar it’s because it is what Katrina has been peddling internally since LB died, that it was an unfortunate one off (it always is in the NHS) and that no-one understood how poor Ridgeway was, no-one allowed them time to improve things. Let’s not forget their tardy behaviour cost LB his life. You can listen to the call here. […]

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