amazonsmile_logo._CB469832382_As with most charities we struggle for money but I have found an easy way for you donate without donating!Amazon have come over all charitable and started something called Smile Amazon. Here is how it works.When you want to buy something via Amazon instead of going to their normal page amazon.co.uk – go to https://smile.amazon.co.uk or use the ink belowChoose your charity – The Fred Foundation – just type in that nameAnd you are set up.
You shop just as normal but Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) of your eligible purchases, to the charity.You can choose to download a preference which will always open up Smile Amazon.It takes 2 minutes to set up and if you remember to shop this way we will get some money. We appreciate it is a tiny amount but if all our supporters do it we may get a significant amount, and we are such a small charity that any money is useful!It is about time Amazon gave something away so please do remember to switch.The Fred Foundation page on Smile Amazon
As with most charities we struggle for money but I have found an easy way for you donate without donating!
Amazon have come over all charitable and started something called Smile Amazon. Here is how it works.
When you want to buy something via Amazon instead of going to their normal page amazon.co.uk – go to https://smile.amazon.co.uk or use the ink below
Choose your charity – The Fred Foundation – just type in that name
And you are set up.
You shop just as normal but Amazon will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT, returns and shipping fees) of your eligible purchases, to the charity.
You can choose to download a preference which will always open up Smile Amazon.
It takes 2 minutes to set up and if you remember to shop this way we will get some money. We appreciate it is a tiny amount but if all our supporters do it we may get a significant amount, and we are such a small charity that any money is useful!
It is about time Amazon gave something away so please do remember to switch.
A senior mental health team leader said she was asked to assist a cover up after staff restrained a patient with learning disabilities so forcibly he was paralyzed
The hideous story revealed by Elaine took place in an NHS psychiatric unit in the South of England six years ago
This newspaper has spoken to more than two dozen distraught families whose children have been stuck inside unsuitable secure units
A mental health nurse has revealed she saw staff in a secure psychiatric unit restrain a patient with learning disabilities so violently that they broke his neck – then left him lying in his own waste over a weekend.
The man was only taken to hospital two days later, after doctors intervened, and was found to be paralysed.
The senior team leader, who does not wish to be identified but I will call Elaine, says she was then asked to assist a cover-up at the NHS hospital but refused and quit her job instead.
‘I had to leave because this incident and the aftermath went against everything I believe in,’ she told The Mail on Sunday. ‘These places are horrific, they are barbaric – we have created a system that is simply geared to abuse.’
Four Hospital workers Struggling with a patient. A mental health nurse has revealed she saw staff in a secure psychiatric unit restrain a patient with learning disabilities so violently that they broke his neck
The whistleblowing nurse, an expert in restraint techniques, stepped forward following our campaign to stop the routine locking up of teenagers and young adults with autism and learning disabilities. Last week, two other nurses and a senior carer blew the lid on what they called ‘shameful institutionalised abuse’ taking place behind the locked doors of a different institution, Meadow Lodge, a privately run unit in Devon funded by the NHS.
Ian Summers said he saw patients more often violently held down, attempt suicide and forcibly drugged while working in the unit holding vulnerable teenage girls than when he looked after killers and psychopaths at Broadmoor high-security hospital.
This newspaper has spoken to more than two dozen distraught families – some breaking gagging orders – who have told how their children have been taken from them for years and stuck inside unsuitable secure units that only lead to mental deterioration.
Much of their anger has been focused on private firms charging up to £730,000 a year for each patient – but the hideous story revealed by Elaine took place in an NHS psychiatric unit in the South of England six years ago.
The victim was a 36-year-old man with mild learning disabilities. ‘He was lovely if treated the right way,’ said Elaine, who is in her late 30s. ‘But there were four members of staff who did not like him, so they wound him up and he became abusive in response.’
She said the carers held him down before dumping him in a tiny seclusion cell. ‘Normally he would pace up and down in there but he lay on the floor in his own faeces and urine. They said he was putting it on and left him there for two days.
The hideous story revealed by Elaine took place in an NHS psychiatric unit in the South of England six years ago (file image)
‘Only when the consultant came in was he sent to hospital, where they found his top two vertebrae were broken. He was in agony.’
The man was left paralysed for two years, eventually recovering some ability to walk with sticks after intensive therapy at another hospital. Elaine claimed she was then asked to cover up the incident by colleagues. ‘I was supposed to say it was an accident and there had been proper restraint methods used. I refused, so they made it impossible for me to work and I quit.’
She was relieved to leave a system she had joined full of idealism, inspired by an autistic godson and a relative who killed himself, but came to hate over 12 years working in secure units and ‘short-stay’ assessment and treatment units (ATUs).
The nurse said there was frequent abuse and bullying of patients – one man with Down’s syndrome who loved drawing would have his crayons hidden by staff to infuriate him – and regular over-medication to sedate people. ‘There is this view that staff are normal people and patients are not, which leads to institutional abuse across these ATUs and secure units.
‘It is difficult not to get sucked in and become part of the system. I have worked in more than ten of these places and I wouldn’t put my dog in one. They should be bombed.
‘Everything is locked, there is lots of seclusion and restraint when six adults push someone on the floor. It’s horrible.’
The use of restraint in ATUs has soared in recent years, rising from 15,065 incidents in 2016 to 22,620 in 2017. There is also growing concern over use of long stretches in solitary confinement, with patients held in padded cells under permanent observation. ‘If someone shows signs of challenging behaviour they are secluded, which is awful,’ said Elaine. ‘Imagine being placed in a room 6ft by 6ft with a plastic mattress and no access to a toilet unless a full restraint team accompanies you.
‘You are fed through a hatch, spoken to through a hatch. How does this help anyone?’What is autism? By The National Autistic Society
She said such units were especially grim for people with autism. ‘None of them is a nice environment for such people since they respond well to routine, comfort, the security of a family environment. So this noise and chaos, with alarms ringing and maybe ten people in a ward all demanding help, is never going to go well for them.’
Families have complained that this kind of incarceration is ‘a spiral of cruelty’ since innocent people are shut in conditions that only serve to intensify their anxieties and stresses, which then makes it harder for them to win freedom.
Yet this latest whistleblower, who now works to free patients, said families do not have a clue what really goes on behind locked doors.
‘I tell parents they should never seek help from the system because they will lose control of their child,’ Elaine said. ‘Ask for help and you risk losing your child.’
This is a terrifying indictment of our public services. Yet it is one I have heard echoed by despairing families, such as one distraught man who asked for three days’ respite help only to have his autistic son locked away for three years so far.
Elaine believes a broken system is being fuelled by big profits, with private groups expanding operations despite Government pledges to move people with autism and learning disabilities back into supported living in the community.
There are 2,375 people with autism and learning disabilities held in assessment and treatment units at a cost of about half a billion pounds a year, with the number of children more than doubling over the past three years, and scores more are held in other secure units. One man is thought to have cost taxpayers £10 million after being held against his family’s wishes for 18 years.
More than half the patients in ATUs have been detained for at least two years, and almost one in six for more than a decade. ‘It is all about money,’ said Elaine. ‘Why else do they keep people in these conditions, costing maybe £7,000 a week, when other mental health services are struggling and community facilities crumbling?’
Elaine, who has helped extricate 13 people over the past five years working as a care partner with local authorities, added: ‘I once thought I could save every autistic person in the United Kingdom – but sadly I am only able to help a handful.’
We trigger 4th autism inquiry
A major investigation into the abusive care of patients with autism is set to be launched by MPs – the fourth since The Mail on Sunday revealed how hundreds of teenagers and young adults are being locked up, forcibly drugged and violently restrained.
It is understood the Health and Social Care Select Committee, chaired by Conservative MP and former GP Sarah Wollaston, will examine the scandal and the floundering care system that leads to routine abuse and detention.
Westminster sources confirmed they were deciding on the scope of the investigation, which is likely to begin in the spring.
‘We are very keen to look hard at these issues,’ said one key figure.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has already told the health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to investigate after admitting that he was ‘deeply shocked’ by this newspaper’s revelations that children as young as 13 were being incarcerated in secretive secure units.
Distraught families have told how relatives with autism and learning disabilities are locked in solitary cells, fed through hatches like animals, and forcibly injected with drugs to sedate them.
One man has been held for 18 years, and 40 autistic patients have died in assessment and treatment units since 2015, often in abysmal conditions.
But a group of cross-party MPs last week accused Mr Hancock of ‘backtracking’ over such ‘inhumane detention’ in the Government’s new ten-year plan for the NHS.
The plan only commits the NHS to reducing the number of people with autism and learning disabilities in hospital units to less than half the 2015 levels by 2024, despite previous pledges to end such detention.
The MPs – including former Liberal Democrat Minister Norman Lamb, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care Barbara Keeley, and Tories Johnny Mercer and Charles Walker – accused Mr Hancock of abandoning a target to cut numbers held by up to half by March this year.
The Health and Social Care Select Committee, chaired by Conservative MP and former GP Sarah Wollaston, will examine the scandal and the floundering care system that leads to routine abuse and detention of people with autism
‘Those held in institutions, who could live independent lives with support, have their human rights breached in an unacceptable way,’ the MPs said in a letter to the Health Secretary. ‘We know the use of force is endemic in many institutions, which is a further assault on their human rights. There is also grave concern over use of medication on patients.’
Mr Lamb, who organised the letter, said he was horrified that the Government was effectively encouraging the NHS to ‘take its foot off the pedal’ to end abuse.
Mr Walker, who has admitted to his own mental health issues, called on the Government to act quickly. ‘This has been overlooked for too long and we can’t let this suffering continue,’ he said.
Harriet Harman, chairman of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, which has already started its own investigation, has also written to Mr Hancock over ‘perverse incentives’ that lead to detention in ‘inappropriate’ institutions.
She demanded to know if private providers had a ‘vested interest’ in keeping autistic patients locked up, which can cost taxpayers £730,000 per person a year.
Ms Harman also asked if divisions between the NHS and local authorities stopped patients being freed. ‘This is not a good use of public money given that community care is often less expensive than inpatient care,’ she said. Her letter followed questioning by the committee last week of three senior NHS and CQC officials. ‘They just spouted gobbledegook and theory,’ said one infuriated MP.
The Mail on Sunday has also discovered that a report commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care before the Winterbourne View scandal in 2011 – which revealed abuse in a privately run Gloucestershire care home – warned that the model of private provision, funded on debt, would frustrate efforts to free those being confined.
After the Government refused to publish the findings, it was released by a think-tank.
Rob Greig, former national director for learning disabilities, who co-wrote the report, said: ‘I was very disappointed that they [the Government] showed little interest in what we were saying.’
Over the past decade, the proportion of people with autism and learning disabilities in privately-run beds has soared from one-fifth to more than half as new players muscled in and opened secure units despite Government pledges to close them.
Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield is also investigating the scandal.
Yesterday I was interviewed by BBC TV news about the Ofsted Annual report. It’s not an unusual occurrence, being contacted by various news organisations to talk about the crisis in SEND. It’s just depressing after more than a decade – and four since the “reforms” – I’m still having to say the same thing.
It physically hurts to keep writing about it. And I know, from having been there, how much it hurts families going through it. I want to give up and run away and do something that actually pays, now my boys are older (My eldest was 21 earlier this week, my youngest is 19). But those families still deep in the hell that is the SEND process, and those about to plunge, cannot walk away; indeed, they know they MUST not walk away despite the stress, the hurt and the fury that the system invokes.
Behind the Ofsted report headlines
The headlines of the report were covered in the press yesterday, who can jump on it early but whose reporters miss the depth of context, so I’m adding further quotes from the report here.
The BBC producer I spoke to yesterday for example didn’t know about the SEND inquiry. This is why, although it’s heartening that I’m constantly asked for help by journalists covering the SEND story du jour, the fleeting nature of the news cycle means it’s forgotten the next day.
“Something is deeply wrong when parents repeatedly tell inspectors that they have to fight to get the help and support that their child needs. And I’m not talking about middle class parents wanting extra time in exams for their child. I mean adequate support for our most vulnerable children with SEND, which is a basic expectation of a decent, developed society. We need to do better.
Amanda Spielman, Ofsted Chief Inspector
The Ofsted report was damning in the extreme about SEND provision – all it had to do was look at the results of its own (and CQC’s) SEND area inspections, where almost half of those local areas so far inspected have failed to meet expectations. And we’re still not even halfway through the first round.
“In the second year of our local area SEND inspections, we have seen a continuing lack of coordinated 0–25 strategies and poor post-19 provision. We have seen a continuing trend of rising exclusions among children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Mental health needs are not being supported sufficiently. The quality of education, health and care (EHC) plans is far too variable. Critically, the gap in performance and outcomes for children with SEND is widening between the best and the worst local areas.”
Ofsted Annual Report 2018
“We are still seeing too many local areas providing a sub-standard service when it comes to SEND provision. At the end of our second year of LA SEND inspections, we have inspected 68 local areas. Thirty of these have been required to provide a written statement of action.”
Ofsted Annual Report 2018
And, I might add, that any number of those areas who “passed” their SEND inspection should not have, according to local parents.
That translates to tens of thousands of disabled children being failed by their school, health service, social care and local authorities. And, as I said, that’s just from the areas that have been inspected so far. It’s sickening. Because these are not inanimate institutions, they are run by tax-payer-funded human beings who are systematically failing in their legal duties, and their jobs, to support vulnerable children.
It means children aren’t being assessed when they should be and when they do get an EHCP, it often isn’t legally compliant:
“… the quality of these (EHC) plans is far too variable within some local areas and across the country, and contributions from care services to EHC plans are weak. The areas that have successfully implemented the government’s reforms are jointly commissioning services that support parents and lead to good outcomes for young people….
…But many EHC plans have not been successfully implemented. As a result, the gap in outcomes for children with SEND continues to widen. Identification of SEND is weak and those who do not quite meet the threshold for an EHC plan have poor outcomes. Understandably, this leads to many parents feeling that to do the best for their children, they need to go to extreme lengths to secure an EHC plan, which of course not every child will need.”
Ofsted Annual Report 2018
Or at least they wouldn’t have needed and EHCP if they’d had early enough intervention. LAs know early intervention works—and yet so many deny assessments at an early stage and have closed, or are planning to close, local Children’s Centres. They expect parents, often without cars, to be able to travel across or between towns via expensive or non-existent public transport – with children in tow – to get to their next nearest. Ain’t gonna happen.
“We are still seeing too many local areas providing a sub-standard service when it comes to SEND provision…Frontline workers are clearly dedicated and professional, but improvement in many local areas is often slow and inconsistent. In particular, in the areas we visited, we are seeing:
– a continuing trend of rising exclusions among children and young people who have SEND
– mental health needs not being supported
– children and young people who have autism waiting up to 2 years to be diagnosed; some were not being educated at all during this time
– a continuing lack of coordinated 0–25 strategies and poor post-19 provision”
Ofsted Annual Report 2018
Is funding to blame?
Yes, partly, but it’s far from the only reason. Lack of funding is integral, especially fully-resourcing the 16-25 year olds who were promised much, only to discover the Children and Families Act has played out like the proverbial Mercedes in the driveway but no food in the fridge. If that’s too obscure, it means it’s all show and no substance.
But it’s lack of culture change that is just as important. The very thing we have said from the beginning that was crucial to success. I haven’t heard much in the SEND inquiry about this specifically (though see more, further down).
Fine words about improving outcomes for children with SEND, as echoed in LAs up and down the land, have not, and are not, translating into changes in belief. It’s like their lips are moving but their heart’s not in it because somewhere, deep down, they think it’s either the fault of feckless or faulty parenting or, conversely, middle-class, sharp-elbowed parents “gaming the system”. I thought this attitude had disappeared, but I was asked this very question on LBC Radio just the other week. Yes, I gave him an ear-bashing, but the “hostile environment” brought by austerity and compounded by Brexit, has ramped up attitudes against anyone who needs to ask the state for some kind of help, against people with disabilities and against those from racial minorities.
Off-rolling, schools’ dirty little secret, uncovered (again)
Ofsted describs off-rolling as “the practice of removing a pupil from the school roll without a formal, permanent exclusion, or by encouraging a parent to remove their child from the school roll, when the removal is primarily in the interests of the school rather than in the best interests of the pupil. Off-rolling in these circumstances is a form of ‘gaming’’.
This is not the same as a formal, legally conducted exclusion and Ofsted has identified around 300 schools with ‘exceptional levels’ of pupils coming off school rolls and not reappearing elsewhere, between Years 10 and 11. Ofsted acknowledges it’s the most vulnerable children who are more likely to be excluded or off-rolled. Its new education inspection framework (EIF) is aimed at changing this, by focusing more on inclusion as a mark of a good school, and less on league tables. Will it make a difference? Let’s keep watching.
Parents speak to the SEND Inquiry
At the same time as the Ofsted Annual Report was making news, six parents of disabled children were taking part in the SEND Inquiry hearings before the Education Select Committee in Westminster, three of whom represented parent carer forums.
The parents’ stories in the first half were bad and difficult to hear but not unique, far from it. They are stories we’ve heard repeatedly If you want to watch it all, you can do so here.
Earlier this week, the Inquiry published 600 submissions to the Inquiry and said it will still accept further submissions until the publication of the report.
To be honest, I’m not sure what else can be said that they have not already heard, unless it is more about how the lack of culture change has heavily impacted on these reforms. As we said at the start, there is little point in changing the structure of a system if those administering it are going to simply overwhelm it by doing the same things they’ve always done because ‘that’s the way they do it”
Taking up this theme was the stand-out speaker, for me, Penny Hoffman-Becking. Penny is from Kingston and Richmond where her PCF, SEND Family Voices, recently closedbecause the local authority was refusing to work with them, leaving them to conclude that co-production in that environment and culture just wasn’t possible.
I’ve isolated a few minutes of Penny speaking because what she says sums up the experience of many parents who have worked their guts out in PCFs, only to end up disillusioned and exhausted. I urge you to watch and tell us if that’s also your experience too.https://www.youtube.com/embed/nmp5vLbM-pU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent
The other issue is Brexit, yet again. If parliament is dissolved because of a snap election, the SEND Inquiry goes bye bye. And that really will be a tragedy.Advertisements
A single mother who killed herself after struggling to care for her disabled daughter called her GP to say she was suicidal – and was offered an appointment 12 days later.
An inquest heard that former sea cadet Jane Kavanagh, 33, killed herself the next day after struggling to get support from council and healthcare officials.
She had been a full-time carer to her 15-year-old daughter, who was autistic and suffered from the degenerative condition cerebral ataxia.
Her parents did offer support, but their house was deemed ‘inadequate’ by council officials in Rochdale – so Miss Kavanagh and the children had to move to a messy nicotine-stained property described by family members as ‘appalling’.
In a suicide note to her parents, Alan and Irene Farrar, Miss Kavanagh, who lived on her own with her two children, wrote: “I just can’t find a way to drag myself out of this f.cking sh.thole of a life, I hate myself. I want to die all the time, I have for a few months now, every day.”
She was later found by neighbours hanged at her home in Rochdale having earlier left the children with Mr and Mrs Farrar. Miss Kavanagh killed herself on Saturday, April 21, this year. It emerged during the inquest that on the Friday she had called her local GP surgery and explained that she had suicidal thoughts – she was offered an appointment for 12 days later.
Tests showed she had been surfing the internet for ways to take her own life.
At the Heywood hearing Mrs Farrar wept as she said: “Jane was 19 when her first child was born and she had some difficulty with getting assistance from the authorities and she became her full time carer.
“Her eldest was diagnosed with autism but it took a few years for the authorities to accept that. She then started having trouble with her leg, which got worse and worse, and she was diagnosed with cerebellum ataxia in 2015 – she was just 12 and had lots of hospital appointments in Manchester and one in London.
”We helped when we could and they all used to live at our house, but they conducted a review and moved them out to a bungalow and her daughter moved to a specialist school.
“Jane wasn’t getting assistance at weekends or evenings. She was offered no respite. Her other daughter had some assistance from her dad.
“She wanted help for in the mornings, getting them washed and dressed and ready for school. She was looking after two children essentially on her own and she struggled. At first she was staying with us and her two children and there were no adaptions to the house or anything.
”She then went to a rented bungalow, but there wasn’t enough room for them all, so she was told to go to this new address as they said there was nothing else available. It was a mess, the walls were covered in nicotine, it was in an appalling state. She had to paint it and clean it herself.
“There was nothing there for her daughter, no adaptations to the bathroom, the bedrooms were upstairs, there wasn’t even a grab rail for the stairs. She had to shuffle on her bum to get upstairs. She spent the last 15 months in that property.
”She lost a lot of weight and she sometimes rang up distressed and said she felt she would end up in a psychiatric ward. We were concerned about her drinking, she was drinking a lot. She had financial issues too.
“On April 21st we had her daughter stay over on the Friday night, Jane then came over the Saturday morning to pick her up. She got her about lunch time and then came back at teatime. She told us she had eaten, so she had something. She seemed to be in a happy mood.
“Jane then asked to go to her friends and promised she would be back for 8pm. She didn’t come back. We expected her to stay over. Her daughter rang her, but her phone was off.
”Now we now have the same problems Jane had. Her daughter can wheel herself around but she needs constant care 24/7.”
Mr Farrar said: “We were absolutely devastated. We knew she had financial difficulties but no idea how bad. I went to the bank the day after she died and found that she had been transferring money to different people over the previous six months.”
Miss Kavanagh’s GP Dr Ayman Ramadan said: “In March 2018 she was talking about feeling depressed and her mother came with her. Although she seemed well, she was low in mood and was encouraged to self refer herself to ‘Healthy Minds’ so she could help herself.
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”She rang the surgery on April 20 and wanted an appointment. The receptionist used the triage system and made the appointment for May 2nd. At the time there were no red flags with how she was behaving.”
Recording a conclusion of suicide Coroner Nicholas Flanagan said: “Jane struggled to obtain support and assistance in her care of her eldest daughter. She had significant help from her parents who lived close by and they provided a lot of assistance.
“They initially moved into a bungalow but they did not have the sufficient space as Jane did not have a bedroom. She was supplied with a property, which was not adequate.
“There was no mechanisms for her daughter to go downstairs, get into the bathroom or go to her bedroom. Nothing was adapted. The property was not in a good state of repair. They found it difficult to live in there.
“This affected Jane’s ability to care for her children and the cause of her stress was down to the care of her daughter. In December 2016 she presented to have gone through a mental health crisis and she was prescribed medication to alleviate the depression.
“There is no evidence her medication was regulated or reviewed. She was advised to self refer herself to the appropriate services. On April 20th, Jane rang the GP again and she said she felt suicidal. She requested an appointment and was provided the next available date on May 2nd, some 12 days later. There was no evidence a GP or clinician considered Jane’s case following the phone call.
“There is no evidence other organisations were being called in or were called by way of explanation for how Jane was feeling. I find Jane suffered from depressive conduct due to her being the primary carer.
I really struggled yesterday for various reasons but I did it! Here are some photos of me dancing wildly with my medal – very happy in the knowledge that I have raised nearly £5,000! Every penny of which will go to brave families with autistic children. Lx
happy in the knowledge that I raised nearly £5,000 for all of the brave families with autistic children Lx
“Across the country many autistic families are struggling as the extreme financial cuts in social care and education bite harder every day. Children and young people are not even getting the education the State is obliged to provide by law without a fight. Parents are often so worn-down by the day-to-day caring of their autistic children that they cannot fight a fight that often ends up in court”…please click my link below to read more Anything you can spare very gratefully received xx