Southern Health admits that it breached Connor Sparrowhawk’s human rights and that it caused his death #JusticeforLB
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust has accepted full responsibility for the death of Connor Sparrowhawk and has admitted that it was negligent and violated both Connor’s and his family’s human rights. The Trust will be publishing a statement confirming that it accepts:
- a number of failings in Connor’s care including failures in training of staff, in risk assessment, in bathing arrangements and in communicating with Connor’s family
- that the Trust failed to take all reasonable steps to locate all relevant evidence and to disclose this to the Coroner and Connor’s family
- the findings of the jury on 16 October 2015 and the conclusions of the Verita report in February 2014
- that it was negligent
- that it has breached Connor’s and his family’s human rights under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is the right to life.
The Trust’s statement will be published on the front page of its website for four weeks and an easy read version will be made available.
Charlotte Haworth Hird of Bindmans, the family’s solicitor said:
“This full admission finally shows what Connor’s family have known for years – that Connor and they were repeatedly failed by Southern Health. It comes after a three year struggle by Connor’s family and the #JusticeforLB campaign. They have fearlessly fought for truth and accountability in relation to Connor’s death and at last, the full extent of the Trust’s failings in Connor’s care have been accepted. It is shameful that this was not done sooner. Over an extended period, Connor’s family have had to learn of the harrowing circumstances of his time at the STATT unit and of his death. In the face of that horror, they have remained dignified and dedicated to ensuring that no other individual receives the treatment that Connor and they have. I am therefore glad that the Trust has also publicly acknowledged that Sara Ryan has conducted herself and the #JusticeforLB campaign in a dignified, fair and reasonable way. Nothing less could have been said of her.”
Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, who have supported Connor’s family since his death, said:
“The truth only came about as a result of the family’s fight for it. This took place against a background of Trust secrecy, denial and resistance to effective scrutiny. Southern Health argued against the Article 2 inquest with a jury. It was this process, at which the family were legally represented, that enabled the systemic failings and neglect to be exposed. What about those who have no one to fight for them? The ongoing failure to set up a process whereby deaths of learning disabled and mental health patients are independently investigated sends a message out that these lives do not matter.”
Connor’s family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Charlotte Haworth Hird of Bindmans Solicitors and barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher of Doughty Street Chambers and Paul Bowen QC of Brick Court Chambers. INQUEST has been working with the family of Connor Sparrowhawk since July 2013.
Full statement by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
You can download the full statement from the Southern Health website here.
You can read Sara’s blog about yesterday’s mediation here.
It’s good that the Trust has – at last – admitted it’s full responsibility, even though only after heavy and sustained pressure. The lies and cover-ups preceding this are deplorable. The last paragraph of the statement is also very important. When will Trusts learn that honesty in the frst place saves everybody an enormous amount of trouble and expense? The effort that the Trust expended on covering this affair up has, I suspect, detracted from patient care greatly. Is there no system similar to that operated by pilots to report “air-miss” situations that uses knowledge of near tragedies to improve systems?
Relevent also to this is the current petition to protect junior “whistle-blowing” doctors.
You have been on a long hard road to hell because ”some” people thought they could hide the truth with a little cover up. Please the trust have admitted full responsibility……. ”still think they are bastards”……
Relieved you found justice for LB and hope that there are far reaching implications for other vulnerable people with LD in care.
I am so sorry you had to dig so deep, at a time of such personal tragedy and keep on digging. My heart broke for you all so many times. I have no idea how you managed to keep going at times.
Thank you for doing this for all of us with special needs children ..the families that lie awake at night worrying whether their children will be cared for appropriately.
Very pleased that you finally found some form of justice for Laughing Boy.
Let’s pray that other vulnerable people with learning disabilities and their families NEVER have to experience this.
Well done for keeping up the fight for the truth x
Well done Sara & family & #JusticeforLB! At last an honest admission from Southern Health but ‘heads should roll’ there can be no excuse for the lies and cover ups and trauma to Conner’s family. A clear message should be sent to other Health Trusts and Local Authorities across the country.
I still don’t understand why those in charge of care of the most vulnerable like Connor are not facing manslaughter charges. If this was parent causing such a death through neglect, we would be facing a prison sentence. The next part of the campaign surely should focus on changing the law to ensure where it proven in a case like this, a young person has died through neglect, those responsible MUST face manslaughter charges.