Autistic young man has been detained behind a hatch for more than four years in a mental health hospital's old file room

A young man with autism has been locked behind a hatch in the old file room of a mental hospital for more than four years.

Patient A, 24, lives in a tiny room at the Cheadle Cheadle Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester, part of the Priory Group.

His movements are constantly monitored by surveillance cameras, he has no physical contact and his meals are pushed through a gap in the floor of a wooden hatch.

Patient A, who also has a learning disability and Tourette’s syndrome, has been incarcerated under the Mental Health Act since September 2017.

The room used to be an old filing room in the back of the hospital.

It has a bedroom, a bathroom and a small living area as well as a “cozy” or sensory room in which patient A often sleeps under the eye of a surveillance camera.

He is looked after by employees on a five-to-one basis and if his room needs to be cleaned, he is moved to a separate area, e.g. B. a garden area enclosed by high metal fences.

His mother Nicola Cassidy, 49, says “people would not treat an animal” like their son and caring for it is “worse than in prison”.

Nicola from Liverpool is preparing a lawsuit in the protective court to get him out of his “life in a box”.

She wants a judge to review his Mental Health Act classification and point out a path to a proper home in the community.

She said, “We fully appreciate that my son has complex needs, but he is treated terribly. He is locked away from the world and has no physical contact with anyone. It’s horrible that his meals are being pushed through a tiny gap in the bottom of the hatch.

“People wouldn’t treat an animal like that, and I find their care is worse than in prison. He has challenges, but is a loving and caring person who needs stimulation and support.

“He’s not getting anything right now. I can’t even hold his hand or hug him because of the conditions in which he’s being held.”

Patient A has been detained under the Mental Health Act since September 2017

Nicola wants the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and Liverpool City Council to help provide community accommodation.

She says having the right support will help her son flourish and spend more time with his family.

She added, “Every time I see him, it breaks my heart. He has no quality of life, he just exists.

“I have been told by some of the people involved in caring for my son that things are not working and that Patient A may be provided with the right community support.

“It is hard to believe that the longer he is here, the worse his condition will be until he cannot be released.

“This is not about money. Five nurses are permanently assigned to him. This staffing is costly and likely a waste of money since he has no contact with anyone.

Patient A has been detained under the Mental Health Act since September 2017

“We keep asking that more be done to support my son, but nothing seems to be happening. We have no choice but to take this action.

“All I want is what every mother wants, and that’s best for her son so he can try to get the best of his life.”

Nicola says that her son had a typical childhood until he was around 12 years old. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of seven, later Tourette and a learning disability.

At around the age of 14, his family began struggling to cope with the changes in his mental state and patient A’s crisis point.

In 2012, at the age of 14, he left home to go to a nursing home and was transferred from placement to placement.

He was admitted to Mersey Lodge Station at Cheadle Royal Hospital on September 5, 2017, where he has remained ever since.

Kirsty Stuart, Public Law Attorney and Human Rights Attorney at Irwin Mitchell, who represents Patient A and Nicola, said, “This is another case of relatives of people with autism and / or a learning disability being held in unintended units around People like patient A.

“The first hand report we heard from Nicola about what happened to her son is probably the worst I have ever heard.

“Patient A’s family is understandably deeply concerned. We are now examining these concerns and how the legal process can help the family.

“We urge the Priory, CCG, and local authorities to work with us and Patient A’s family to reach an agreement on his or her care, which the family believes should take place in the community as this will give him the best quality of life would give.”

According to NHS Digital, a total of 2,040 people with learning disabilities and / or autism were in hospitals at the end of August.

Of these, 1,145 – 56 percent – were in hospital for more than two years in total.

The average cost to the taxpayer of hospitalization for a person is estimated at £ 3,563 per week or £ 185,276 per year.


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