This post is dedicated to Thomas Rawnsley, a decent young chap, who died yesterday after having a heart attack on Sunday evening. Thomas had spent the last two years of his life in ATUs. Both Thomas and his family wanted to live at home, or in his own place near to his family. It never happened.
Has anyone ever met a social care commissioner? I haven’t. Or if I have, I didn’t know they were a commissioner.
Do they have a background in social care?
If I met one, the first question I would ask is: “what do you see as the advantages of removing someone with autism and/or learning difficulties from their home and putting them in an alien, clinical environment for an unspecified (usually very long. The NAO report yesterday said that the average time spent in in-patient settings is 17 years) period?
Then I’d like to ask the following questions (in random order):
Do you know what, if any, assessment and treatment takes place in an assessment and treatment unit?
Do you believe, and why, “treatment” is a suitable course of action for someone without a mental health problem but with a learning disability?
Is it possible that what you identify as “challenging behaviour” might actually be created and exacerbated by the environment you have put the person in?
How do you square all the losses the person will experience by being in an ATU (family, friends, routines, sense of security) with the life they will have in the ATU?
Do you see a person with autism or a learning difficulty as human?
Do you believe that a person with autism/learning difficulty has the same Article 8 human rights (Right to private, family life) and Article 5 Human Rights as the rest of the population?
How are the big bucks made by incarcerating someone in an ATU?
Can you explain to me what a Panel is and why the make up and process of a Panel has to be so secretive?
If someone dies a preventable death in an ATU that you have sent them to, do you have any accountability?
If the High Court judges that you have unlawfully detained someone in an ATU for a year, do you have any accountability?
Would you like to spend 17 years away from your family and friends, be dosed to the eyeballs on antipsychotics, be forced to prone restraint whenever you express your feelings about your circumstances, and have no life worth living?
Thank you Mr/Ms commissioner – I’ll let you get on with your day now.