Support needed to stop more tragedies

The co-author of a report into the deaths of two profoundly
disabled brothers killed by their desperate mother has claimed the
tragedy could happen anywhere because of the way social services
and healthcare work.

An independent inquiry considered the support provided to
23-year-old Robert Turnbull and his 20 year old brother Richard,
who both had cerebal palsy, and their parents.

But at a press conference on Monday one of the report’s authors,
Barbara McIntosh, co director of the Institute for Applied Health
and Social Policy at King’s College London, said there was still
much work to be done on the whole area of care for young people
with profound problems and their families.

“This is a new group of young people we are dealing with. In the
past they would not have survived,” she said, adding, “The report
does not seek to cast blame…but to identify what lessons can be
learned from events that led up to the tragedy.”

The inquiry found that statutory organisations did not fail in
their duty to protect Robert and Richard Turnbull.

However, there were several “aspects” of the support the family
received that could have been better.

This included the time taken to provide services and carry out a
community care assessment and the lack of family involvement in the
planning process.

The report recommended the development of joint social services
and health service teams and a review of the training of care
management and health staff.

Urgent action has been promised by Isle of Wight social services
and health agencies to address issues raised in the report.

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