The system is broken to a crushing point. A.T.U.'s

The system of care is broke but it’s those running it that are draining most resources. It’s those making out of date decisions that are causing the system to be broken. Those that are enforcing A.T.U. admissions to people and more often, adults with autism. It is those professionals allowing this who play a large part, in the broken system of care.

At the cost of up to 15,000 a week, they are putting many people with autism at risk of abuse from those who don’t care but work on A.T.U.’s and other care types of accommodations where inappropriate staff are being given jobs within these places often without proper training. These are the people who are looking after the vulnerable and logging ‘incidents’ they are actually creating. I saw with my own eyes what happens on A.T.U.’s when my own son was held in one between April 2006 to August 2007.

Not all staff are doing this, but many were then and reports state many terrible cases of abuse going on behind locked doors, even since. I firmly believe that many mental health professionals are turning a blind eye to what they fully know shouldn’t be happening and they risk vulnerable people’s lives when doing so.

The experience left my son traumatised. It left me traumatised because I witnessed some of the worst abuse I have ever seen, in my whole life. People employed to care who were doing no such thing. Much of the abuse going on was completely deliberate. Frustrated staff who had ‘targets’ to meet, in the form of justifying each and every admission and they were logging ‘the incidents’ they knew fully they were causing. This would cause incorrect assessments of people with autism and learning disabilities. It would cause incorrect use of medication which may not have been necessary if certain staff were not behaving inappropriately.

The fact of the cost of an A.T.U. stay would certainly brake the system of care as the costs are excessive and out of proportion to the level of ‘support’. These unfortunates weren’t having a stay at the Ritz. They were on a unit where staff would surround them for doing the likes of slight rocking on a chair or kicking a football over the bungalow unit roof. For that and also situations of not immediately obeying staff they would be restrained. Restraint was random piling on top of a person in order to overpower them in numbers and if that didn’t work a crash team would also pile in so up to 10/11 adults forcing a patient on the floor, which was actually an assault and alway very roughly in most cases.

Like I say it would happen and escalate for the most trivial of reasons. Asking for a drink when staff were watching television would be a reason. Not sitting down when told immediately, would be a reason. Not going to bed when told, not going to their room when told would be another reason to drag a client down leaving huge carpet burns to client severely….or worse.

My son’s eyes were bulging after a restraint on the unit he was on and it must have been because the restraint restricted his breathing through crushing. They did it out of sight but he came back in that state. Horrific abuse of power via physical assault and horrific to see as a mother. Too horrifying to even think about for long.

I have lived over a decade after this happened since trying to protect myself from the image. I know the image as I know what happened but I refuse to store that image although it is stored. I just choose not to see it when I write about this.

A lot more happened there besides just that, much of it just as impactive.

Not only is the system wasting resources, but it also doesn’t properly support when there is a discharge from one of these places. Sadly, more often than not the system continues to waste its resources impacting care packages in preference to N.H.S. and council workers who are waged employees but also many are wasting resources just by being employed.

Many are employed at great cost to the system but don’t do the jobs they are paid to do or only to a scale of restrictive measures to enforce dwindling packages of support which never seem to increase with need…often from the off-set.

The system is broken because it doesn’t acknowledge parent carers or what they say, but in the same respect, it relies on them without looking after the interests of those caring by not maintaining any proper fairness or support, especially to long-term carers who are ignored when it comes down to decisions.

In the same respect, parent carers are expected and also enforced to fill in a massive gap in the system of care. Then they find themselves disrespected and forced by the employees of the system who are paid by the system.

This is just a small part of the whole broken system and until attitudes change it will continue to brake the whole system of care eventually.

As a carer, within this network, I can describe how it feels to be on the receiving end…it’s like being continually crushed and that can’t carry on forever, can it…

Hi Charm.

Little I can offer in reply but … a tentative link to a campaigning organisation out there which shares
your deep concerns over ATU placements :
( Internet search … ATU admissions problems. )
Added advantage of a forum :

PDA Society Discussion Forum

Their guidance on education … all the pros but none of the cons ?

A long shot admittedly but … I hope it maybe of some use.

Better than nothing at all ?

If it’s another dead end … apologies.

What a heartfelt, well written account of this awful situation. Hoping Carers UK will use this posting when forming their wordsmithed objectives…

Hiya Chris, thank you and any advice is always welcome honestly. I appreciate it.

Thanks, Rosemary, It was difficult to write about but I think I cracked it. I could say much more but then again it’s enough. It has been tough…but then again so am I:)

I’m with you charm. The complaints processes are the only remedy for us, however the social workers side with the agencies and there is nothing you can do about it unless you make a strong case to the ombudsman and know how to or take legal action seems to be the only way for remedy imo.

The authorities do not care and will not do an investigation based on your situation they will if 1000 people request it but not the odd 1 or 2 stories.

The way I see care and other issues with authorities is you need to find a way around the rules to win as they are using ways around the rules to win over you like a game of chess.

I agree pipsy, even if you know your way around the system they will block it via ‘the ignoring method’ and they will ignore and say they aren’t ignoring. They also rarely ever uphold complaints…even when there is no way they can’t.

Yeah, they claimed I made an informal complaint that was accepted not a formal complaint as due process therefor my acceptance of a complaint is not valid!

I’ve been waiting for a new assessment their chief executive promised in August 2019 which they have failed as everytime i call they state he is on a waiting list and he is not high risk!

The ombudsman say they will take between 10-13 weeks due to staff shortages.