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envirozentinel
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12 Feb 2020, 7:44 am

I'm not from the UK but was shocked to learn about this. The UK government is facing a legal challenge from the Equality and Human Rights Commission over the "inappropriate" treatment of over 2000 inmates with mental health issues. They can't simply lock people away and assume that people with autism don't want human contact.

https://news.sky.com/story/government-f ... m-11932049


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Karamazov
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12 Feb 2020, 8:06 am

Just cross-referenced with the guardian: they don’t have an article on it yet (it doesn’t surprise me in the least).

There is an article about a policy to ban councils from sending vulnerable children to unregulated care homes, however. Which may be linked somehow.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/202 ... SApp_Other

Possibly trying to be seen to do good on the issue before it’s made known to the British public...

I’ll have another look this eve.



Karamazov
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12 Feb 2020, 4:20 pm

I tried guardian again: nothing.
Tried a google search: nothing.
Navigated through the EHRC website, and here’s the link to their own ‘news on what we’re up to’ article on this:

https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/ ... lities-and

I’ve skimmed through it: most of the cases they’re mentioning have been in the news here, or the subject of petitions to parliament or both... odd that it doesn’t show up from any of our news sources in a google search though.



envirozentinel
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13 Feb 2020, 12:20 am

Thanks. We'll have to see if there are any further developments that crop up.


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carlos55
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13 Feb 2020, 4:51 am

The reports are horrible there was a recent UK tv documentry a few months ago where they used a spy camera to show the type of things going on.

The footage showed those with severe autism being humiliated and abused, one young autistic woman with a phobia of men had male staff come into her room simply to tease her.

One low wage unmotivated "carer" was laughing about working in a "house of mongs" outside on a fag break.

Im sure a few UK WP members remember the doc im talking about.

The only good thing about these type of docum is that they give a much needed balance to autism showing the dark side, away from the usual nonsense of gift, superpowers etc...

Autism is about those screeming down mental corridors too and the elderly mum putting her son in a home because he cant look after himself and she cant look after him anymore.



envirozentinel
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13 Feb 2020, 4:54 am

Everyone has a right to dignity and proper care even those who can't function in normal society.


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13 Feb 2020, 5:01 am

https://twitter.com/JeremyH09406697?ref ... r%5Eauthor


St Andrew's Healthcare: Girl locked in psychiatric unit 'cell' to receive damages
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-b ... m-50139692


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envirozentinel
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13 Feb 2020, 5:06 am

Thanks for that. I hadn't seen Bethany's dad's ongoing Twitter campaign to assist all those who have been, or still are in such appalling conditions.


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13 Feb 2020, 6:45 am

Comment from a woman who was restrained .

https://twitter.com/Channel4News/status ... 19969?s=20


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ASPartOfMe
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13 Feb 2020, 8:04 pm

Appalling what has been happening in the country where Tony Attwood, Uta Frith, Lorna Wing and Simon Baron-Cohen are from.


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JohnInWales
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14 Feb 2020, 9:27 am

I'm not following the news, as I can't cope with it, but there's this current petition that seems related to it.
https://www.change.org/p/government-of- ... ient-units



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16 Feb 2020, 5:14 am

It's callous of me to think that is pretty much par for the course here in the UK.

There are boastful messages about how far we have come as a progressive, forward-thinking and accepting society, yet we still seem to implicate Victorian era methods of locking those who don't conform away in padded cells being completely dehumanised.

At one point, I could've been sectioned due to my previously serious depressive episodes, but decisions were made against it, and I'm very grateful they never went ahead.

There's a more than likely chance I wouldn't have ever left alive or left as the same person that went in. 8O


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17 Feb 2020, 5:30 am

Locked away: the national scandal you may have missed

Quote:
dele Green is a mother of four, who lives in the Northern suburbs of Bristol. I spoke to her last week about her son, Eddie, who is now 20 years old, and living in hospital in Doncaster, 180 miles from his family.

That may seem unbearable enough, but it pales into insignificance next to what Eddie has suffered elsewhere. Variously diagnosed with autism, dyspraxia, ADHD and more, he is now officially understood as having a learning disability with complex needs. As a child who liked cycling and dancing, and had the same caring nature he still displays, he moved through an array of educational placements before, in late 2012, he ended up at a now-defunct residential school near his home. As his mother told me last week, soon after arriving “he had a really big meltdown – it was something he couldn’t cope with, from being at home to being somewhere completely different”.

When he caused some physical damage to his immediate environment, the NHS and social care division of Bristol city council proposed that he should be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. This required the consent of his parents, who were very uncertain about whether this was the right thing to do. “But the answer was, ‘If this doesn’t happen, it could be taken out of your hands, and you could have your parental rights taken away,’” Adele told me. Because of an absence of hospital places anywhere near his home. Eddie was moved to a so-called assessment and treatment unit (ATU) in Northampton, run by St Andrew’s Healthcare – as its online blurb puts it, “a charity providing specialist mental healthcare for patients with some of the most challenging mental health needs in the UK”.

Adele’s first phone conversation with Eddie came a couple of weeks after he was admitted. “He said: ‘I don’t like it here; they’ve got lockers.’ I said: ‘That’s absolutely fine – you can keep all your things there.’ He said: ‘No, Mum – the lockers are for me.’” What he was describing was a seclusion room: “a bare room, with no windows. Sometimes they put in a plastic mattress. There was no toilet in the one Eddie was in: he was given a bowl.”

His mother then made the first of countless weekly visits. “Eddie was brought up from downstairs as if he was a prisoner. He was so heavily sedated he couldn’t lift his head up. He’d put on stones of weight; he was dribbling. He was pale. He wasn’t Eddie.” She tells me that on all her visits she saw bruising on his body.

Even if the more terrifying aspects of Eddie’s care receded, after a spell in an NHS facility in Newcastle, he was placed in an NHS psychiatric intensive care unit (or PICU) in Salisbury, and spent six months in a so-called 136 suite, named after a section of the Mental Health Act – and what Adele calls “basically a cell”. Although his standard of care has since improved, and his family are now hopeful he will soon be living near to his family home, Eddie remains sectioned.

His is one vivid and heartbreaking story in among hundreds that form one of this country’s most awful national scandals, still lacking both public attention and any convincing action from government.

However much the language of diversity and human rights now echoes through public life, many in Britain have been left out, and remain the largely ignored victims of prejudice and abuse.
In England, there are more than 2,000 people with autism and learning disabilities in what officialspeak calls “inpatient care”. We now know about them, and the awful cruelties and indignities many of them are suffering, because of the much-maligned mainstream media – and in particular, the tireless work of the campaigning journalist Ian Birrell. Birrell and others have highlighted not just the injustice of the way very vulnerable people are treated by local authorities, the NHS and the private contractors now woven into our public services; the scandal also speaks to something that goes even deeper. It’s the fact that, however much the language of diversity and human rights now echoes through public life, many in Britain have been left out, and remain the largely ignored victims of prejudice and abuse. In different ways, people with autism and learning disabilities – two distinct categories, though about four in 10 autistic people are reckoned to satisfy the criteria for both – are still waiting for the most basic kind of emancipation. Among the many startling facts that still does not get nearly enough attention is the fact that average life expectancy for people with learning disabilities is 15 to 20 years less than the population at large.

Supposedly watershed cases of abuse inside ATUs have mounted up: 2011’s Winterbourne View scandal, and last year’s case centred on Whorlton Hall in County Durham. In 2013, Connor Sparrowhawk – who was autistic and had learning disabilities – died after having an epileptic fit in a bath at Slade House, an NHS-run ATU in Oxford. His family have campaigned for justice ever since. In late 2018, the wider story should have reached a tipping point when, even if identities and locations could not be established, Sky News discovered via freedom of information requests that 40 people with a learning disability or autism had died in ATUs over the previous two and a half years.

But somehow, the scandal drifted on. Last week the Equality and Human Rights Commission announced that it was taking legal action against the government, founded on ministers’ possible breaching of the European convention on human rights, and the fact that it has “repeatedly missed [its] targets to improve the provision of community-based care, and to decrease the number of people with learning disabilities and autism who are currently being involuntarily detained in long-term facilities against their will”.

The health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, keeps promising to make sizeable changes but has so far failed to deliver much at all. The relevant authorities need to release much more information about cases of abuse, let alone people who have died. Basic legal injustices urgently need to be tackled: the Mental Health Act, which defines sectioning, now contains caveats for people with learning disabilities that often count for precious little at all, while no exceptions at all are made for autism, which leaves the way open to no end of abuses. There are structural stupidities in how social care is funded: if local authorities push people into the archipelago of NHS-funded mental hospitals, it relieves pressures on their finances. In turn, facilities run by private companies can maximise the revenues they get from the NHS – estimated at an average of £3,000 a week per patient – by keeping people detained at huge expense for as long as possible.

Not long after I spoke to Adele Green, I put in a call to a man called Jeremy, whose surname cannot be published. He lives in Walsall, in the West Midlands, and his campaigning on behalf of his autistic daughter, Bethany, has included defeating a gagging order attempted by his local council.

Bethany was also held in a St Andrew’s Healthcare ATU from the age of 15. She was kept in a seclusion room, which Jeremy describes as a “cell”, in which she was fed through a hatch. The first time her father visited her, he said: “We were led past rooms of distressed people: you go down all these corridors, and at the end is a plastic window with your child behind it.” She has since begun anew in a supported living facility near Liverpool.

When I contacted St Andrew’s Healthcare for a response to Bethany and Eddie’s cases, a spokesman sent me an email in which he insisted that seclusion “is only ever used as a last resort”; that the criteria for treating someone in this way “follows the Mental Health Act code of practice guidelines”; and “we are committed to using seclusion for the shortest time possible”. Bethany’s experience of it lasted nearly two years.

Jeremy recalls that on his first visit to the St Andrew’s unit “the staff member we met was crying, saying: ‘This should not be happening.’ But that turned into: ‘This is how we are going to care for Beth.’”

Clearly the verb used in that sentence was wrong: like so many people, Bethany was the victim of a regime based not on care but on something akin to torture, and a wider system that should have long since been the subject of a huge national reckoning. The fact that it is still in place should shame us all.


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