‘They are making people worse’: The scandal of imprisoning patients with autism – about UK NHS

---- 'new incarceration units are being built' ----

Ian Birrell is a true champion for people with autism. What a pity UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is not. Ian, a journalist, has recently written an article in i newspaper on 13th July 2020. Ian starts his article:

“It is almost two years since I spoke to the distraught father of Beth. She was a 17-year-old who loved music, animals and fresh air yet was incarcerated in hideous conditions of solitary confinement, growing obese from drugs and inactivity while fed through a hatch like a dangerous animal. She had fewer rights than a convicted killer simply because she had autism.

“The state, instead of supporting her needs in the community, locked her in a hellhole – a demeaning denial of human rights that symbolised Britain’s lack of concern for a disempowered group in society."

[TAC Bulletin featured Beth here. A teen with autism is locked in solitary confinement and being fed through a hatch. Have we really moved on from Bedlam? (UK)
Following this exposure, Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, faced a legal challenge over repeated failures in autism care.] 

Ian continues his article (extracts):

“So let me tell you about Ryan Addison. Ryan was also 17 when his life imploded after a normal childhood in Hull with two older sisters and his mother, Sharon, who worked at the local Marks & Spencer. Sharon noticed a few oddities with her youngest child – tantrums if they deviated from their usual walk to school, constant touching of walls in the same place, dislike of surprises – but nothing to spark serious alarm. Then one day when they were home together, Ryan went into his bedroom and slashed his wrists.

It was obviously a cry for help since they were only superficial cuts, but it was still terrible, she told me. Sharon reacted by doing what any parent would do in such dreadful circumstances: she sought help and Ryan, suffering from depression, voluntarily entered a mental health unit after intervention from a crisis team...

“But like so many other parents I have spoken to, she wishes that she had not sought assistance. For her beloved son, now aged 31, is still in the psychiatric system. Today he is stuck in solitary confinement inside the secure walls of a forensic hospital, held alongside violent criminals despite never committing an offence...

“Ryan should have led a happy and fulfilling life in the community with the right help. Instead, he became trapped in a dystopian nightmare, driven into intense mental and physical distress by a dismal psychiatric system that could not be less suitable for people with autism...

“Then he was pumped full of such strong drugs that he surged three stone in weight, bumping into objects when he walked around in a daze. His teeth rotted due to medication, so a dentist had to remove 14 of them. He was given dentures that he lost when vomiting; two years later, they have still not been replaced. This is the dark side of the applauded NHS...”


Matt Hancock has had this extreme abuse and neglect brought to his attention but perhaps it is not very high on his agenda. Perhaps he feels people with autism and intellectual disability are only a small minority – and unlikely to vote for him anyway. Perhaps he thinks autism and intellectual disability are crimes.

Perhaps you feel you can help Ryan and others by contacting Matt Hancock to ask questions, to talk about human rights or to challenge his position on this ‘dark side... of the NHS’. Here are contact details:

The Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
E-mail (Parliament office): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
E-mail (Constituency office): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read Ian Birrell’s full article here: https://inews.co.uk/opinion/imprisoning-mental-health-patients-autism-scandal-nhs-528644


share your information  Cartoon © Martina Jirankova-Limbrick 2011