Friday 29 August 2014

NAS drops Nua Healthcare sponsorship of award

I received this response from the Chief Exec of NAS this morning:

Thanks for your letter - as you can imagine we are receiving many such letters.  The response we have drafted is as follows

The NAS is currently in discussions with Nua Healthcare about sponsoring one of our Professionals Awards, although nothing has yet been agreed. Our full statement about the issue (copied below for ease of reference, ZT), which explains why it would be inappropriate for us to comment further, is on our website.

I'd be happy to discuss further on the phone if you have any time towards the end of next week.

The important point that is being missed here is that we haven't agreed a sponsorship deal with them and we won't until we are satisfied with their and the HSE's response to the issues being raised.

Hope this helps


NAS statement on their website

The National Autistic Society’s Professionals Awards play an important role in highlighting and encouraging best practice in autism services. We are presently in discussion with Nua Healthcare with regard to their proposed sponsorship of one of the awards and, as things currently stand, we are continuing with these discussions.

There have been objections to the NAS’ consideration of Nua as an award sponsor, because of concerns about one of the people Nua supports in a service in Ireland.

We appreciate that people have very genuine concerns, but we understand that this case is highly sensitive and complex and subject to ongoing discussions between the Health Service Executive (HSE) as commissioner in Ireland, Nua Healthcare as provider, and the family. We have further been informed that a professional independent advocate is working with all parties to ensure the individual needs and rights of the person supported are being facilitated.

In our discussions with Nua, we are seeking reassurance that they and the HSE will, as appropriate, give a clear public account of the situation, including how they are involving the individual concerned and his family in decisions about his support.

The NAS exists solely to ensure that people with autism and their families can live the life they choose. Achieving this is not always easy, and understanding people’s needs and aspirations requires the engagement and input of all of those working closely with them. The NAS cannot have this level of detailed knowledge and understanding of this case. However, we will be keeping developments under review as we consider Nua’s potential role as a sponsor.

Because of the sensitivity and confidentiality of the ongoing situation, which is the responsibility of the parties concerned in Ireland, it would not be appropriate for the NAS to comment further.

End of NAS response and statement

This evening I’ve been told by a friend of the Kletzlander family that NAS has decided to terminate discussions with Nua Healthcare about sponsoring one of the NAS Professional Awards 2015, which is very good news.  

However, I was made aware this morning by a friend of the Kletzlander family that Nua Healthcare has received ‘autism accreditation’ from the NAS.  Autism accreditation is a positive affirmation given by NAS of the quality of service provided by the paying applicant organisation.  It is very difficult to reconcile how such an endorsement can be given to an organisation that is still continuing to ignore the views and opinions of Anthony and his family.  Anthony uses a Lightwriter to communicate and this exchange, which I’m told recently passed between Anthony and the independent advocate on 23 June 2014 (Anthony has asked that this is made public), shows Anthony’s frustration that his views and wishes continue to be ignored by Nua:

Anthony: I want R (advocate) to see me typing so she sees I'm intelligent.
R: I know you are intelligent....
Anthony: I am frustrated that staff are not trained up in my communication.
R: Do you like Nua?
Anthony: No I hate it. I want independent living
R: Do you want C who comes on Wednesday to see you using the lightwriter?
Anthony: She is not trained up she needs training in my communication or it is a waste of time
R: What do you want me to do?
Anthony: Can you get me out of Nua please
R: Where do you want to live?
Anthony: In my own home near my family I don't see them often enough
R: Do you want me to visit you in Nua?
Anthony: Yes I think I need you to get me out of Nua, can you tell Geraldine Murphy (HSE Disability Manager) she won’t listen to us
R: Do you like B (NUA Team Leader)?
Anthony: No he is not honest
R: What staff do you like in Nua?
Anthony: I don't like any of them they don't care about me. I prefer to find my own staff with similar interests as me. I hate being treated like a child.

End of exchange between Anthony and the advocate. 

I am hoping Anthony’s supporters will keep up the pressure re autism accreditation.  Stay tuned for further updates :) 

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