This email arrived from one of our supporters. For context, the statement "We believe not" was given by Keith Dibble in a radio interview when asked if he believed that closing the ward to women was harmful.
Dear Beds in the Orchard.
"We believe not". What a statement. It is a phrase which in itself cannot be easily challenged. How can you say to a person or a corporation "You're not being truthful when you state 'you believe not'?" You cannot justifiably say that without evidence as you cannot get into people's minds. Evidence of a person's thinking / belief is generally obtained by witnessing their actions. Nevertheless, statements of belief can be used as a smokescreen and a very useful corporate conscience protection device.
The question therefore is not "Do you really believe not?" Rather the question should be, "If you believe not, then WHY do you believe not."
For belief, no evidence is necessary. But for a health authority, evidence is essential, to confirm or reject whether or not any particular action is acceptable.
So, Beds in the Orchard, you need to obtain directly from the Trust management the answer to "Why do you believe not?"
If the corporation has a clear conscience they will answer this willingly and without delay. They won't make you work for the answer. After all, it seems clear from the blog that while you are all passionate about the subject matter and angry with the actions of the trust, you appear to be approaching the issue from the viewpoint of genuine concern and dismay, not just to cause trouble.
If the Trust action was based on empirical evidence then I wonder why things needed to go this far. I also believe that offering this evidence up front would have saved so much unnecessary work and unnecessary angst on both sides of the divide.
Conversely, if it acted on the assumptions, or worse, on the belief that they may simply just get a few letters of complaint, that could be shrugged off, then shame on them.
Their shame is the unnecessary distress upon the people who use their services and their friends, families and carers. These people are the women of Lancaster and the men of Burnley for whom a residential facility was prematurely closed down without adequate alternative provision for care being set up ahead of need and available when required.
If the latter is correct, then one would say that both groups have been abused.