Whilst Stephen lived happily at home, he had the support of professional carers from the ‘Trinity Noir’ company. Stephen’s father was very happy with the level of support and had no complaints. The Local Authority footed the bill, as is their legal duty. Changing Stephen’s diagnosis from “autism, severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviour”, to “extreme challenging behaviour, learning difficulties and possible autistic spectrum disorder” may seem hair splitting to my readers, but on such finite definitions rest the liability to pay for Stephen.
The new diagnosis could shift the responsibility for care onto the NHS Primary Care Trust…..the current suggestion is that Stephen is ‘sent to a care home in Wales’, many miles from his home in London, who will ‘assess the reasons behind his behaviour’ – I would think most of my readers will have figured out for themselves by now the reasons for his behaviour. He wants to go home! His Father wants him to go home!
Those of you with a modicum of legal knowledge will be saying ‘but surely he can get legal representation and go before the mental health tribunal – I’ve read about cases like that?’
No, he can’t, he has no access to the Mental Heath Tribunal – Autism isn’t a mental illness. This action isn’t being taken under the Mental Health Act – it is being taken under the Mental Capacity Act. Under the MCA he only has access to a ‘Best Interests Assessor’ – who is appointed on a consultancy basis, and paid, by…..the Local Authority.
He can be deprived of his liberty for up to a year, which period can be renewed indefinitely, for the purpose of ‘assessing’ him – see above – being sent to Wales to ‘assess’ why he is unhappy at being locked up.
This has made me very sad and angry. There doesn’t seem to be room in “the system” for common sense.
I signed the petition. Consider whether you ought to as well.