Josh Wills and Mathew Garnett have recently moved out of NHS assessment units
2,998 still remain.
Statistics and blog on LD in ATU here
But, other than in distance, are the two teenagers any closer to going home ?
Josh’s Dad, hopefully proclaimed,
‘Let him be a beacon for all other families in the same situation’.
But is he a beacon of hope?
It is three long years since Winterbourne View, countless meetings, numerous petitions, Mencap, Challanging Behaviour , Justice for LB , Hear my Voice, campaigns, a white paper, weeks of national news coverage, and documentaries.
All costing a huge amount of public money, but, did any of this, result in a single autistic/learning disabled/challanging behavioured person, being any nearer to being free to live where he, and/or his family want?
Did it result in the disabled, or, their family being given any rights?
’Autistic boy Josh Wills goes home ‘ lead our March BBC News.
But where did he go, and, will he ever live at home again.
Josh is now 15.
When he was 12, he was removed from his parents in Cornwall, to an NHS hospital Unit in Birmingham, for a six week assessment.
This appears now the norm, when an autistic/LD/ challanging behaviour person starts causing problems.
And, ever earlier intervention is being recommended.
As behavioural problems, are the nature of the beast, and occur in ‘ normal’ teenagers, one wonders what purpose such ‘assessments’ can serve.
Other than, an excuse, to pay the assessors, on average, £4,000 per week.
The assessment unit did not improve Josh’s behaviour.
How could it improve anyone’s behaviour, let alone, a highly stressed/frustrated/bewildered autistic adolescent’s, removed suddenly, without knowing why, from all he knew, and loved, to the strange, hostile environment of a secure hospital with strangers.
Josh continued to bang his head, and rain his fists down on his body.
This was the only way he could express, and vent his frustration, at the world he found himself in, his surging hormones, and now, encagement.
His father said,
‘ I long to see his free spirit running along the beaches and moorlands again’
So, what must a helmet, straitjacketed wrap , isolation, drugs, strangers, and a secure unit regime for 3 years, have done to this free spirited child.
Josh’s cries for help, and signs of the deepest distress, were used to severely restrict his movements, and, label him a dangerous self- harmer, and a ‘severe’ autistic .
Such labels would also increase his funding.
Might not his ‘treatment’, and over safeguarding, have contributed to his continued, and increasing self harm ?
Was his behaviour part of an autistic phase, he would, or could be helped to grow out of ?
Josh is now 250 miles closer to home, but, no closer to running helmet free, on the beach and moorlands, or living with his family.
How is the ‘support’ of Spectrum, different from his hospital, except for a more homely environment, location, access family, and outings ?
And why could this not have been provided instead of an ‘assessment’ Unit?
And, what purpose did this Unit serve, other than to earn at least £600,000.?
Spectrum, is a registered charity, and from its filed accounts, received £11,081,815 for 28 care contracts in 2015, commissioned jointly by NHS, LA and education.
One employee is paid between £160,000-170,000 a year.
On this basis Spectrum are likely to be paid £392,000 per annum, tax free for Josh’s care.
With tax concessions, that is nearing half a million.
In 2015 Managers were paid £781,612, workers £66,761
Would it not have been better to extend Josh’s real home, and, provide support within it, three years earlier, or, even now ?
In less, than 3 years , Josh will be 18.
Again he will be ‘assessed’, this time as ‘incapable’ of making any decision, under the MCA ,and his parents will lose all rights over him.
Unless the government decide to make him a real beacon of hope, Josh will never go home.
Why have only Josh, and Mathew Garnett, been allowed out of NHS assessment units ?
Could it be, because they are under 18, cannot be made subject to MCA proceedings, and, their parents can still act on their behalf ?
As they did when they petitioned, which would not be possible under an MCA gag.
And, also because indefinite ‘treatment’ is illegal under MHA, particularly, if not working .
At 15, Mathew Garnett went for the usual 6 week assessment ,and never came home.
He again was a troubled adolescent.
He again was autistic, and, had been given more labels- ADHD, anxiety disorder ( both presentations of autism). http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/17/secure-mental-health-unit-matthew-garnett-autism
After 7 months of assessment, petition and press cover, Mathew has been given a new ‘home’, in St Andrews Hospital in Northampton.
How will Mathew’s ‘treatment’ in St Andrews, differ from, that in his NHS hospital, other than, it is a private charity, whose managers, earn nearly a million in recycled profits, paid for by the NHS
And why cannot this ‘treatment’ be provided at home ?
It is hard not to come to the sad conclusion, that, Josh and Mathews’ moves were a PR exercise, to make it appear, that something was being done for the many‘kids in crisis’, and, an excuse to transfer public money into private recycled profit making corporations, known as charities.
Josh and Mathew and thousands more, will never return home.
Here is why, they are worth too much, as this exert, not behind a pay wall, of an article in For Healthcare Leaders HSJ shows;
Private sector gets boost from mental health commissioning freeze (HSJ: 17 February 2016)
NHS England’s moratorium on commissioning new specialised mental health services helped deliver new demand and a return to real terms growth for independent providers, according to new research. Market analysts LaingBuisson’s report, shared exclusively with HSJ, also says moving away from block contracts could help open up the mental health sector to more independent providers.
The analysis says independent providers of mental health beds are “enjoying robust demand” with growth back up to an average of 4 per cent a year in the last three years, although profitability has been affected by austerity measures since 2008.
NHS demand for private sector beds, which LaingBuisson estimates accounts for 87 per cent of independent mental health care providers’ revenue, is subject to “ebb and flow” as NHS commissioners turn to private sector beds to meet capacity shortfalls.
The report says: “The demand ‘tide’ has been flowing in favour of independent mental health hospitals in the last few years essentially because of constraints on NHS in-house capacity as a result of an NHS England moratorium on commissioning of new capacity (for centrally commissioned specialised services).” .