In response to last night’s Dispatches programme, “Under Lock & Key”, here are three homes 140 years apart. Is there really much change?:
This is the Amersham workhouse. My great great grandfather, William Worley lived there for twenty years and died there in 1873. In the 1871 census, it is recorded that he was sharing a “room” with 60 other people. They would have been sleeping on the floor, on straw. 6 people in that room are classified as “idiots” – the 1871 classification for someone with a learning disability.
This is the Derby County Asylum which was rebranded in the 1950s as The Pastures Hospital. My Uncle Frank was sent there in 1955 and died there in 1957. He was 40 at the time of his death. On his death certificate, the cause of death is registered as “mental retardation”.
This is St Andrews hospital, the “UK’s leading specialist hospital” for learning disability that was featured in last night’s programme. One of the people in the programme was Bill Johnson who died there a few years back of constipation. Bill was one of four people on the same ward who died in seven months.
This is the statement that St Andrews put out ahead of last night’s programme:
There have been many commentaries on the programme. I can’t really add to those.
All I want to say is two things:
Thank you to the families, MPs, experts and most of all to Fauzia and Matthew for their bravery in telling their stories.
And in relation to the sentence in the statement that says: “These allegations are false, misleading and/or taken wholly out of context”, I’d like to say –
Fuck you St Andrews. When faced with a choice of what Fauzia and Matthew are saying and what your press officer has said, I know who I believe.