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Comms manager says trust ‘got away with’ failings after Terry Jones’ death

Terry JonesAn NHS trust comms manager bragged that it had “got away” with its failings being highlighted – because a report on the deaths of two dementia sufferers was overshadowed by the demise of Monty Python star Terry Jones.

Earlier this week the Eastern Daily Press highlighted the case of 88-year-old dementia sufferer Doreen Livermore, who was attacked in a care home by another patient.

Her death, in January 2018, was investigated by the Norfolk Adult Safeguarding Board which published a report on the case and that of another dementia patient this week.

But in an internal memo, which was accidentally copied to an EDP reporter, the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust communications manager Mark Prentice gloated that the death of Terry Jones (pictured) had “saved” the Trust from being subjected to more critical media coverage.

He wrote: “We seem to have got away (again) with the Adult Safeguarding Review story…I think we may have been saved by the death of Terry Jones.

“It was the lead story (Nikki Fox) on BBC Look East last night at 6.30pm and again at 10.30pm (Leigh Milner!), but not on the lunchtime bulletin at all….Yet again, though, we emerged virtually unscathed.”

The Trust has now launched an investigation into the incident. Chief executive Jonathan Warren said: “We are undertaking an investigation regarding the inappropriate comments made about the sad death of Doreen Livermore by a member of our staff.

“We take this very seriously and will be contacting the family of Mrs Livermore to give them our sincere apologies and offer them our support.”

Posting on Twitter, EDP editor David Powles said story  raised questions about how the trust handles such cases, the role of press offices, and the role of local media.

“Raises all sorts of questions about what the trust is trying to achieve when serious case reviews take place – is it to learn lessons or simply damage limitation?,”  he wrote.

“And what about the press office? And press offices across their board? Is their job to hide scandal or assist media?

“It also raises a question for us in local media. I feel/felt we scrutinise our health sector well, we try to be fair but critical where need be. Interesting this person felt they’d ‘got away with it again.’

Mrs Livermore’s family told the paper they were “absolutely shocked” by the email and its tone.

Her son Dr Roy Livermore said: “The fact they are talking about ‘getting away’ with it in relation to the death of my mother is absolutely disgusting. It begs the question, what do they feel they got away with?

“To refer to the death of Terry Jones is just unbelievable. To send the email to the EDP by mistake shows incompetence on top of their original incompetence.”


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  • January 24, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Outrageous! Now it’s up to the EDP – well done to them – to ensure the “Safeguarding Board” don’t get away with anything further. Safeguarding Board is just another grandiloquent title that means nothing and serves only to cover up mistakes.

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  • January 24, 2020 at 11:57 am

    That comms manager sounds as though he belongs in Tory Central Office…

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  • January 24, 2020 at 12:24 pm

    Well done Tom Bristow

    I hope Tom follows this story though and there’s swift action taken against this individual with Mrs Livermore’s family getting closure and able to move on from this shocking and appalling matter.

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  • January 24, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Well done indeed Tom, another excellent investigative piece
    I hope the local independent weekly in Kings Lynn also covers this story too, it’s big news and happened on their patch so needs exposure across West Norfolk and the local weekly there has the audience

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