Leslie has Autism and a mild learning disability .  As a teenager, he became depressed and attempted to take his own life. He was admitted to Winterbourne View. His time there was traumatising and none of the therapy promised was delivered.   

After Panorama exposed the hospital there was a public outrage and Leslie’s story was published in the new ‘Transforming Care’ policy document as an example of why the service needed to change.  A good care package was provided; Leslie had his own home, a stable team of carers and a community disability nurse as well as a psychologist working with him. Leslie was doing well, loved his house and wanted to try new things and look after himself.   

However within 10 months both his psychologist and disability nurse were gone and hadn’t been replaced.  Despite repeated pleas to the authorities for psychological help for our son, it was not forthcoming. Eventually we found out that NHS funding had been withdrawn without us being informed. We had been told before that the funding for his care was safe and ‘ring-fenced’.  

In spite of the trauma of his Winterbourne View experience, when the media attention moved on, the help for Leslie was reduced. His anxiety increased. He became unhappy and was admitted to an NHS hospital, where he was assessed as in need of extensive specialist therapy 

A suitable placement could not be found. Leslie’s health deteriorated, he became held under section 3 and - although he had broken no law - was moved to a private forensic hospital. Forensic hospitals are for people who are currently undergoing, or have previously undergone, legal or court proceedings. Some other people are sent not because they have committed an offence but rather they are deemed to be at risk of harming themselves or others. 

When admitted he was frightened and confused ,spending many weeks in seclusion, with nothing to do and receiving food through a hatch.  He wasn’t receiving the recommended therapy and the regulations, protocols and staff skill levels are completely unsuitable for his well-being.  

I was shocked when a professional told me it costs the government around £11,000 a week to keep him there.  What a waste for something that isn’t working and could have been avoided if the proper care had been in place when needed.    

People who are fortunate enough to not have a loved one in a similar situation might be surprised at how once Leslie turned 18, in the eyes of the law he was an adult – that meant the authorities became the decision makers.  A series of inappropriate placements followed and our son’s welfare took a downward spiral.   

By law he had to be educated and at first he was safe attending a small unit for autistic children. But that was closed down and he went to a larger school for a range of children, including those from difficult family backgrounds and with behavioural problems. The teachers were not specialists, he was bullied, became ashamed of his autism and became depressed.   

When he was sent to Winterbourne View we saw it was a terrible place and became scared of the power wielded by the psychiatrist.  After we got him out and the place was exposed I wrote about how one of our main fears was that during a crisis something will happen that puts our son's wellbeing into the hands of people who know very little about him. Well now what we feared has come about, and we have been powerless to prevent it.

Decisions regarding Leslie’s care are still made by people who hardly know his potential. He has gone from a healthy creative person with a lovely sense of humour to somebody who has given up trying. He is angry, overweight and on unnecessary drugs administered by the hospital.  Because of what he has been through his behaviour is becoming increasingly challenging. We wish the authorities had never intervened.

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