Katrina Percy was almost genetically designed to be the CEO of a large health trust. She’s the product of a GP father and a physiotherapist mother, who actually worked for Southern Health for a while. Born and brought up by health professionals, from a young age Katrina Percy would have been included in conversations about the importance of good care, transparency and honesty within the NHS.
Her background may be the reason why she’s climbed so fast, so high. She’s young to be the CEO of a vast health organisation. She’s young to be in charge of over 9,000 employees. She’s driven and tirelessly working to promote herself and her organisation. She never misses an opportunity to tell the world about how fantastic her staff are and how good her management team are. Of course they are Katrina; you must have trained them to be just like you.
In 2013, in the same month that Katrina Percy won the Health Service Journal’s chief executive of the year award she wrote to us. If you read this blog regularly you’ll be familiar with certain parts of her letter in which she rubbished and rebuked all our complaints and questions regarding our son’s death and instead told us:“Although a Root Cause Analysis had been completed, you weren’t informed that this had taken place. You weren’t informed as it was thought this would be distressing for you.”
Now I know that she’d just been awarded HSJ chief executive of the year in the same week she wrote to us, I can see why she felt completely confident to say this to me. Top of her game, untouchable, Teflon coated, ambition almost completely fulfilled. Next stop for her – who knows, top government health advisor? The world at her feet. No wonder she had little trouble stepping over our annoying, moany little letter. She really wasn’t going to let the death of our son ripple in her world.
Now social media and national media are full of outraged people asking why she won’t step down. One answer is that she doesn’t want to. Like a lot of deeply ambitious people, she is vain. Now that the wheels of her career are starting to come off she isn’t ready to jump out. She wants to stay and fight.
But not because she thinks she is right. She wants to stay because she refuses to relinquish all that hard work, all that sacrifice and ladder climbing. She cannot let it all be in vain. She refuses to admit that her name could ever become a by-word for callous mismanagement. That was never part of the plan.
Luckily she doesn’t have to go because the board of directors at Southern Health still need to keep her in place. To let her go would be admitting they are in the wrong and they are still a very long way from doing that. Letting Katrina Percy go would be like admitting that there is a reason she should go and that’s completely at odds with their current position, where they tell us that far from Southern Health being the monsters portrayed by the Mazars Report they are actually only guilty of the deaths of 700 people at most.
Only 700. Well that changes everything doesn’t it?
The Mazars investigation team that put together the report have fudged the numbers, possibly maliciously and possibly just through stupidity. In fact, says Southern Health, the remaining 500 deaths were not their fault and can be put down to “natural causes” like heart attacks.
They are fond of “natural causes” as a reason for death. Possibly fond because after such a death they find it all so much easier to wash off their hands and pop the paperwork in a high, dusty drawer. Southern Health said that young Connor Sparrowhawk died of natural causes when he drowned alone and unsupervised with the staff who could have saved him literally just feet away. They told the coroner at Nico’s inquest that he died of natural causes. Their solicitor told the inquest that there really was no reason for them to be there at all because; “Sad as it is, we have to expect such deaths in young people with profound disabilities”. In both cases the coroner didn’t agree, thank god. In both cases “natural causes” was found not to be the cause of death.
So that’s 2 down, so what about the other 498. Shall we argue each of them out with you one by one Southern Health?
While they frantically play for time perhaps the board of Southern Health should seriously consider if they would rather sink their ship entirely by keeping Katrina Percy on board, or would they would be better off to throw her overboard and possibly have the chance to continue to float?
Katrina Percy has spent her entire working life making sure she gets noticed. It seems karma noticed you too Katrina and now you’re going to have more attention than you thought you would ever want to handle.