Stop Thomas being sent away from his family to a unit miles away in Sheffield.
This petition had 1,502 supporters
Thomas is a Son, a Brother, a Grandson, a Nephew a wonderful young man who happens to have down syndrome and autism although it's taken 19 years to get the formal diagnosis of autism. The Local Authorities and NHS Bradford see him as a number not a person.
He has always been mischievous, loving, compassionate and yes admittedly challenging. He's struggled with anxieties and shown behaviours which have resulted in objects being broken or destroyed but never did he show violence towards another person. I was screaming from the rooftops that there was something else wrong and Down syndrome was the least of his problems but to no avail. When Thomas entered his teenage years life became even harder. He couldn't tolerate the respite unit he went to once a month so they withdrew the service, he withdrew from the classroom so school withdrew his placement. We were pretty much housebound with no support by the time he reached 16 and I could no longer cope. Thomas' dad took over the reigns but a year later Thomas' anxieties became so bad he refused to wash, dress or leave the house. We asked for help but this help resulted in Thomas being sectioned under the mental health act and he was taken in the back of a police van to a new private hospital close by.
There were some very good staff who worked hard to try get Thomas back into the community but Thomas hated it and just wanted to be home. He was there for 9 months and during that time there was an alleged incident of a member of staff assaulting Thomas. The staff member was suspended but the incident never proven. We were told by management if Thomas was there when he was 18 he would be moved to the assessment and treatment unit which was no environment for Thomas. The provider that owned the hospital moved Thomas to a residential unit run by the same provider. All seemed ok for a little while although Thomas struggled to settle as he just wanted to be home. Problems with care provided didn't take long to surface. A lack of communication, poor training and then marks and bruises Thomas was showing me. I was told by Thomas' social worker on numerous occasions I was worrying unnecessarily and my continuous questioning was making staff feel uncomfortable and alienating them. I was told by safeguarding they were satisfied the marks only resulted from necessary restraints. Meanwhile Thomas was becoming more distressed and even assaulting staff.
Then one day I received a call to see the manager. I was told two staff members had blown the whistle and another two staff members had been suspended for assaulting my son, only one went to court and received a six months suspended sentence. It explained Thomas' behaviour change. My poor boy had been through hell and had no trust in anyone supposed to be caring for him. Then amazingly instead of receiving support Thomas was sectioned again and this time sent to the assessment and treatment unit we had been so anxious to avoid where his condition deteriorated and my did he protest!! No input, no psychology, no therapy except for drugs and every visit I found him just sat in the corridor . This place was never going to work for Thomas and the unit admits as much. After an independent hospital managers hearing months later Thomas was discharged back to his dad's, suddenly taken off all drugs and with no care plan or support in place. I gave up my job to help care for Thomas. Thomas was happy to be home but was really struggling. Wouldn't dare go to sleep till the sun rose, nightmares about staff pinning him down and crying a lot so he was prescribed a potent antidepressant and put back on an anti psychotic I have never seen Thomas benefit from. Within two weeks Thomas developed severe obsessive behaviours which were destructive and he was begging for doctors and pointing to his head and saying it was poorly. We begged for help but we re told the only help would result in him being sectioned again so we tried our best to manage him. The social worker just kept ringing the police for them to come and help calm Thomas during the hour or two of pure horror Thomas was enduring daily. The police were wonderful but obviously they couldn't carry on doing someone else's job and in the end Thomas was yet again taken in a police van to the assessment and treatment unit ( the look of pure horror on Thomas' face when he realised where he was will stay with me forever ). Instead of investigating what the hell had happened to cause Thomas distress he was pumped full of drugs to manage him, to the extent he has developed a severe stammer and is now on a mashed diet. I was told a few weeks ago that I was to go see the manager as Thomas was going to be moved to Peterborough. I went to see her on the Friday and was told Thomas was going on the Monday and there was nothing I could do to stop it. We did stop it by applying for a nearest relative discharge. His dad had to do this as there is a silly rule under the mental health act that only the eldest relative has any rights. We knew this would be blocked but what it did was force another independent hospital managers hearing and they listened to us and thought as we did that Thomas should be in his own home and not in a hospital environment. They said Thomas' section should lifted as so many codes of practice had been breached and also that a robust care package be found in the local community. . His section has been lifted but he is still there under an interim court of protection. We were told a bungalow in Bradford was available and staff were going to be brought in. I told Thomas this news too and now it's not happening. The only plan is a challenging behaviour unit in Sheffield, not Peterborough I know but still too far and still an environment that Thomas cannot tolerate with other service users who he can't tolerate. He'll continue to deteriorate. He needs the comfort and safety of his own home close to his family with people he can trust.
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