An autistic man detained by the NHS for more than 14 years could soon be released and allowed to live a “full and active life” after The Independent highlighted his case.
His mother Sharon Clarke spoke out about the poor care of her son to The Independent last month, revealing how staff at the Humber Centre for Forensic Psychiatry, run by the NHS Humber Teaching Foundation Trust, had deliberately blocked her and her husband’s phone numbers.
Now NHS managers have said they have reached an agreement that could see Ryan discharged into a specialist community home.
His mother, who will meet NHS managers this weekend, said she was happy that action was now being taken.
She told The Independent: “I am very happy that the CCG now acknowledge that Ryan needs to live a life in the community. I have been let down in the past so I won’t rest until it becomes a reality.
“There are places available which I believe are suitable, so I expect the process to move forward rapidly. I am looking forward to meeting with the CCG on Saturday and hope we can make progress together.”
Ryan was detained as a teenager after he self-harmed and was not diagnosed with autism until 2018, by which time years kept in detention and isolation had caused his behaviour to worsen. For nine years he has been detained in secure forensic psychiatry wards, usually reserved for people who have committed crimes as a result of mental illness.
Medical reports reveal Ryan has suffered bruises and broken bones as a result of being restrained by up to nine staff at a time. He has had to have 14 teeth removed because of the effects of powerful drugs. He was fitted with dentures but they were lost 18 months ago and have yet to be replaced, his mother said.
The latest data from the NHS shows the number of detained people with a diagnosis of autism was 610 in June this year, up from 295 in March. This is despite official guidance that autistic people will not benefit from being detained.
In total, there were more than 2,000 patients with both learning disabilities and/or autism detained in hospitals.
An independent tribunal of Ryan’s care earlier this year reiterated concerns of doctors that he was in the wrong place and it criticised delays by NHS England and the local NHS clinical commissioning group, which pays for local services, in resolving the issue.
In a statement Humber Teaching Foundation Trust said: “We are in complete agreement with Mrs Clarke that Ryan’s current hospital placement is an inappropriate environment to meet Ryan’s needs. We are pleased that, following positive meetings with commissioners last week, together we are now taking the steps required to discharge Ryan into a community placement that will be better placed meet his needs.
“We understand that Ryan and his family feel that this process has taken a longer than expected, however, it is important that we find the right placement that meets Ryan’s complex needs and enables him to progress further with his recovery.
“Whilst this work is taking place, providing Ryan with the best possible care remains our priority.
“We are in very regular contact with Mrs Clarke to ensure she receives frequent updates, visits and is able to ask questions. We have also ensured that Mrs Clarke knows that she can speak to a senior member of our staff at any time.”
A spokesperson for Hull CCG added managers would be continuing to meet with Ryan’s mother and involve her in discussions about his community placement.
They added: “This is with the aim of ensuring Ryan is provided with a future place in the community, and level of care which is suitable for him. Above all, we want Ryan to live a full and active life out of hospital.”