24-year-old man with autism locked up for years and fed by his mother’s desperate complaints

A young autistic man has been locked in an old archives room with his meals pushed through a trap door for more than four years, according to his desperate mother.

Patient A, 24, lives in a private psychiatric facility, Cheadle Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester, part of the Priory group.

His mother, Nicola Cassidy, 49, says his movements inside the “small” room are constantly monitored by CCTV, that he has no physical contact with anyone and that his meals are slipped out. through a hole at the bottom of a wooden hatch.

Patient A, who also has a learning disability and Tourette’s syndrome, has been detained under Mental Health Act since September 2017 in what his mother claims is a former archive room at the back of the hospital.

Now Liverpool’s Nicola is preparing to launch a legal battle to have him released from his’ life in a box ‘, adding that’ people would not treat an animal ‘like they do for her son and his care is’ worse than being in prison “.

Patient A stands in a walled-up courtyard – this is where his mother claims he is being guarded while his room is cleaned


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

Patient A can be seen standing behind a hatch where his meals are spent on a tray


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

She said: “We fully appreciate that my son has complex needs, but he is being treated terribly.

“He’s locked away from the world and has no physical contact with anyone. Having his meals pushed through a tiny space at the bottom of the hatch is awful.

“People wouldn’t treat an animal that way and I think their care is worse than being in jail.

“He has challenges but he is a loving and caring person who needs stimulation and support.

“He’s not receiving anything yet. I can’t even hold his hand or give him a hug due to the conditions he’s been kept under.”

Desperate mother takes her case to protective court in hopes that a judge will review her son’s section under the mental health law – and with help from the clinical commissioning group and the board from Liverpool, will bring him back to a community home.

Currently, patient A has a bedroom, a bathroom and a small sitting area, as well as a “comfortable” or sensory room, where he often sleeps, under the eye of a camera. CCTV at the Royal Cheadle Hospital.

The Mirror newsletter brings you the latest news, exciting stories about showbiz and television, sports updates and essential political information.

The newsletter is sent by e-mail every morning, at noon and every evening.

Never miss a moment by signing up for our newsletter here.

Nicola says he is taken care of by staff in a five-to-one ratio and that when his room needs cleaning he is locked in a separate area, like a garden area, enclosed by a high fence. metallic.

She believes that with the right support, her son will thrive and be able to spend more time with his family.

She said, “Every time I see him it breaks my heart. He has no quality of life, he just exists.

“Some people involved in my son’s care told me that things were not working out and patient A could, with the right support, be taken care of in the community.

“It’s hard not to think that the longer he stays, the worse his condition will get, to the point where he cannot be released.

“It’s not about the money. He has five caregivers assigned to him on a permanent basis.

“This level of staffing is expensive and is probably a waste of money since he has no contact with anyone.

“We continue to ask for more to be done to support my son, but nothing seems to be happening. We have no choice but to take this step.

“All I want is what any mom would want and it’s best for their son so he can try to make the most of his life.”

Now his mother Nicola is desperate to release him from conditions and move into a house in the community.


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

Nicola says her son had a typical childhood until he was around 12 years old.

He was diagnosed with autism at the age of seven, then later with Tourette and a learning disability.

It was around the age of 14 that his family began to struggle to cope with the changes in his mental state and Patient A reached a point of crisis.

He left his family home to go to an institution at the age of 14 in 2012 and was moved from placement to placement.

He was admitted to the Mersey Lodge ward at the Royal Cheadle Hospital on September 5, 2017, where he has remained since.

Kirsty Stuart, Public Law and Human Rights Lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Patient A and Nicola, said: “This is yet another case where relatives of people with autism and / or disability have learning are held in units that were not designed to care for people like patient A.

“The first-hand account we have heard from Nicola about what is happening to her son is probably the worst I have heard.

“It is understandable that Patient A’s family is deeply concerned. We are currently investigating these concerns and how the legal process can help the family.

Nicola compared her son’s life to a “prison”


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

“We call on the Priory, CCG and local authority to work with ourselves and Patient A’s family to come to an agreement on his care, which the family believes should be in the community as this would give him the better quality of life. “

A total of 2,040 people with learning disabilities and / or autism were in hospitals at the end of August 2021, according to figures from NHS Digital.

Of those, 1,145 – 56 percent – had been hospitalized for more than two years in total.

The average cost to the taxpayer of keeping a detained person in hospital is estimated at £ 3,563 per week or £ 185,276 per year.

But the Priory Group, which runs the private mental hospital, denied Nicola’s claims that food had slipped under her son’s hatch.

The group says the facility is specially designed and although it has a service hatch in the door, they say it is a “large square space where items of different sizes can be passed while including his food on a platter “.

A spokesperson for the group also said the accommodation had been “completely renovated to provide the package of care commissioned by the Clinical Commissioning Group.”

The group added that the family provided feedback on the design at the time and supported the accommodation provided.

Family launches legal battle to release patient A


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

A priory spokesperson said: “The well-being of the people we care for is our number one priority.

“We are fully committed to the Transforming Care program and to ensuring well-planned transfers to the most appropriate community settings whenever they become available.

“Our Adult Care division has successfully delivered at least 39 of these placements, with positive results for those involved.

“Unfortunately, however, some people with very complex behaviors and detained under mental health law can be difficult to place despite all parties working very hard together for a long time to find the right setting.

“At all times, we work closely with families, Commissioners and the NHSE to ensure that patients receive the safest and most appropriate care at our facilities.

The Priory Group denied the allegations and added that Patient A’s family provided feedback and supported the care he was receiving.


Irwin Mitchell / SWNS)

“This care is provided and monitored on a regular basis by a multidisciplinary team of experts, including a consultant psychiatrist and an NHS autism specialist, and independently reviewed by commissioners.

“Staff provide 24 hour support at Mersey Lodge and all interventions are carefully and continually reviewed, monitored and evaluated to ensure they are in the best interests of patients, with the goal of getting the framework right. less restrictive possible.

“Drugs are always prescribed by a consultant psychiatrist and when patients are detained under the MHA, agreed upon by a second independent physician from the CQC. We aim to reduce drugs to the lowest possible doses to keep people safe. “

“Specialty internships – whether residential or in the community – require significant funding and are commissioned by the NHS or clinical commissioning groups who have a legal obligation to obtain the best value for money and highest quality possible.

“Priory offers these internships because they are commissioned with considerable input from families and funders to ensure that the environment and care provided is appropriate.

“Priory is always ready and willing to participate in any review of a Transforming Care placement.”

Comments are closed.