The Mail, as well as a variety of other news sources, report today on the tragic story of an elderly woman, 86 year old Betty Figg,  with dementia who has been ‘’snatched’ by social workers from the loving home provided by her daughter, Rosalind Figg, and returned, with police assistance, back to the residential home from which she was taken.

image badlogik at Flickr

Horrific, scandalous, indicative of the police state we now live in, evil interfering social workers, direct result of the government policies. Well, that’s some of the milder comments on the website.

Reading this story (with accompanying photos in the newspaper) really chilled my bones. Because I, myself, have done almost exactly the same thing. I didn’t write about it at the time for the sake of confidentiality but it follows a very very close mirror to the situation described in the newspaper and I will say no more.

What I can say is that on the basis of my knowledge of the law this can be the perception of what happened but it does not bear a relation to what would have been the reality.

The local newspaper, for example, describes the need for an assessment to take place – namely a Mental Health Act Assessment. Therefore it’s a fairly safe assumption that  Mrs Figg has been removed from her daughter’s property under section 135 (1) of the Mental Health Act for removal to a ‘place of safety’ for an assessment.

The ‘place of safety’ in legal terms may be a specific place and isn’t necessary making any assumptions about the safety of her daughter’s home but of course this is the language that will be used by the local authority to describe the process – not necessarily the language that will be automatically understood by The Daily Mail. This application requires attendance by an Approved Mental Health Practitioner (probably the social worker in this case) and a doctor.

It would have been a decision made within a Community Mental Health Team and while a social worker might have been the AMHP, it is the Trust rather than the local authority with whom the responsibility for the decision would lie – so grabbing a quote from the local social services seems a little simple.

These circumstances just wouldn’t come into play with  your standard ‘pleasantly confused’ elderly patient – this is someone at significant and imminent risk.

The BBC report that

The warrant alleged Betty Figg was being mistreated or neglected.

Well, yes, that’s what all section 135 warrants basically say. Either that or that someone isn’t able to look after themselves but there has to be a reason that the warrant is required. A warrant was gained for entry. This means that the situation had to be presented in court to a magistrate with evidence of why it was needed. This is not a rubber-stamping process and magistrates can question and turn down warrants that are requested – however it was granted meaning there has to be more to this story than is shared by Rosalind Figg.

Rosalind Figg then comments

“They have not got any proof of that. Maybe my mother does forget a lot and she is confused – but we were having a lovely time.”

I know nothing of the situation in Coventry but you do not assess people who are comfortable and ‘pleasantly confused’ under the Mental Health Act. Especially not if you need to take them forcibly from their families’ home. There has to be an over-riding best interest.

The team and local authority are obliged to pay heed to the human rights involved.

This is not a question of overbearing social workers – the law does not allow that. The fact that the police were present indicates that inter-agency planning had gone ahead and that the event, however unpleasant, was following the legal procedures – which mean that the background situation and level of distress caused had been balanced against the level of immediate risk.

It is not a decision taken lightly or without significant proof of very real harm. Of course, the social workers and social services department are in no position to explain their case due to the limits of confidentiality.

It is though, cheap and lazy journalism. Anyone who had done an iota of research into the legalities of removing someone to a place of safety for an assessment would have a better understanding of the sensitivities of the situation.

I don’t really expect much more though.

49 thoughts on “Snatched

  1. According to the Telegraph “A spokeswoman for Coventry City Council said yesterday: “An advocate has been appointed through the Independent Mental Capacity Advocate Service to represent and support Mrs Figg.”

    An IMCA can only be appointed if someone has no living relatives or friends-with-involvement, according to the Mental Capacity Act.

    Not sure I agree with you when you say “This is not a question of overbearing social workers – the law does not allow that.” Overbearing social workers carry out many acts and misdeeds regularly, without the law entering into their process of decision-making.

    And, having once been on the brink of ‘kidnapping’ a relative from the assessment unit, because of the abuse being suffered in the hands of so-called mental health nursing staff, I can well understand anyone feeling the need to do likewise. If only for the safety of their relative. Care homes are no longer safe havens for vulnerable people. That’s a fact of life.

    • re: instruction of an IMCA – one *can* be instructed if there are concerns that the relatives/friends may not be making best interests decisions. E.g. Safeguarding adults cases. I instructed an IMCA where the service user lacked capacity to make the decision, but her relative who was allegedly abusing her would also be making the best interests decision!

  2. Victoria, you are not quite correct when you say that an IMCA can only be appointed when someone is “unbefriended”. An ICMA must be appointed when someone is “unbefriended” but a local authority can exercise its discretion to appoint an ICMA especially in situations where it feels the relatives are not acting in the person’s best interests or there is a difference of opinion between relatives as to what is in the relevant person’s best interests.

    As for “overbearing social workers” I am not sure what you mean by this. Social Workers are a “public authority” within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998 and are therefore subject to its restrictions. In this case Articles 5 and 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights would apply and the public authorities could not act in such a way to breach the person’s rights under these Articles. If they did it could be quickly challenged through the courts. Both the HRA 1998 and the new Court of Protection brought it as part of the changes to the Mental Health Act 1983 make this easier.

    Also budgetary restrictions would mean that social services would not place people into residential care unless there was no alternative.

    I suggest that the term “overbearing social workers” is one propagated by the populist media. Just because you disagree with a decision of a social worker (and we regularly have to make very complex decisions) it does not automatically follow that they are “overbearing”.

  3. Well, tthat really does show how a Social Worker got it wrong then, because when there was a difference of opinion between relatives in our family, we actually asked for an IMCA to become involved, but we were told, in no uncertain terms, that the Mental Capacity Act only allowed for an IMCA to be involved if there were no relatives who could be called upon to make decisions in the best interests of the person. We asked for that to be clarified – and the Head of the Unit insisted it was absolutely correct, and that he had taken legal advice to double-check. No IMCA was allowed.

    I merely referred to the original post “This is not a question of overbearing social workers – the law does not allow that.” which gave the impression that the law does not allow social workers to be overbearing.

    Sociall workers do place people into residential care even if there is an alternative – they do it by devious means sometimes too; they also make decisions without referring to family members; they give out incorrect information to family members; they withhold vital information from family members; they fail to listen to the wishes of family members; and there is no way for family to override the decisions (which are sometimes far from complex) without spending months and months going through “formal complaint procedures” which end up … nowhere. Not always – but often enough for the SS not to be trusted again. If such Social Worker ‘interference’ has happened once only, with serious consequences, then that is once too often.

    • Victoria – an IMCA can only be instructed where there is family if it can be established that the family is not acting in the user’s best interest – so a family asking for an IMCA may disallow itself in one of those strange catch-22 ways – by asking for an IMCA you are proving you have the best interests of your family member at heart thereby negating the need for one.
      I am sorry you have had such awful experiences of social services input but in the context of this story, there is no question that there is more to it. The Mental Health Act which was used according to the local reporting, demands that nearest relatives are consulted and informed and the code of practice is extremely clear on this.
      Both of these two factors point immediately to something not being quite ‘right’ about the way this story has been reported.
      My sentence about the law not allowing for overbearing social workers was meant to be specifcally related to the situation presented in this article.
      And the fact that the decision was not made by a social services dept but a mental health team headed by a consultant with a social worker present in their role as an AMHP (which doesn’t have to be a social worker).

  4. It’s very hard to know what has happened here. I have met good social workers and bad social workers. I have also met caring family members and uncaring family members. I ‘kidnapped’ a member of my family from a hospital where I felt they were getting neglected; fortunately for me they were sound of mind, so there was no issue about consent, but I found myself in a different situation with another family member in a care home who was getting neglected and I all I could do was constantly buzz them; they had dementia and I had no jurisdiction over them. But family members have their own issues as well; looking after a relative means that you have access to their bank account, that you can receive things like attendance allowance or a car, not to mention the relative’s house. The figure for EPA fraud (enduring power of attorney) was around 15% in 2004 and some think it might be twice as high as that. Don’t jump to conclusions just because the Daily Mash says something.

    • Hi Julie
      Of course there are good and bad social workers and I will never defend poor or neglectful practice by any social worker but the pieces of this story just don’t fit together.

    • Julie Wrote

      But family members have their own issues as well; looking after a relative means that you have access to their bank account, that you can receive things like attendance allowance or a car, not to mention the relative’s house. The figure for EPA fraud (enduring power of attorney) was around 15% in 2004 and some think it might be twice as high as that. Don’t jump to conclusions just because the Daily Mash says something.

      Dont jump to conclusions, have you any idea how much Social Services And N.H.S Unlawfuly Swindle out of frail vunerable sick elderly people, in this country, by unlawfully denieing them N.H.S Fully funded care for a primary health need At the point of need

      well that figure stands at a staggering 80% Of this elderly population that in real terms = £120 BILLION unlawfuly Taken from sick and disabled elderly citizens Who have been FORCED to Sell their houses to Self fund simply because they have assetts.

      Despite having a primary health need some will say double THAT, elderly vunerable people are being exploited
      for their assetts And their health needs are being deliberately Ignored

      Having a mother who fell victim to this I dont need to read paper Mash to reach the truth, The truth is the elderly are robbed of their cash and their freedom systematicly

      • Net Smurfit,

        You are making some very serious allegations here. I would be interested in what evidence you have for what you are saying.

        We do have a system where some people have to pay for their care and some don’t which inevitably leads to “winners” and “losers”. The system is complicated and can be difficult for health and social care professionals to understand and negotiate never mind service users and their carers. Currently if someone is subject to aftercare under section 117 of the Mental Health Act 1983, they do not have to pay for their care. This section applies when someone has been detained in a psychiatric hospital for treatment (usually under section 3 MHA’83). A person who has been treated in a psychiatric hospital as an informal patient (without being detained) and then needs care in a residential home, will have to contribute to the cost of their care. It could be argued that this is unfair. The Government could have resolved this situation easily via the recent amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983 but they didn’t presumably for cost or political reasons.

        This leads to a debate about the costs of care and who is going to fund it. If people where not financially assessed to see if they can afford to contribute to the cost of their care, someone else would have to pay. Good quality care is not cheap. I am presuming that you think that the taxpayer should foot the bill. As a result taxes would have to go up. No Government remains popular if they put up taxes and we the electorate will vote them out of office. We can have a fully funded care system if that is what we as a country want. At the moment, we are not willing to pay more taxes so are not able to have a fully funded care system. It is simple as that!

        • Mad mutt wrote

          You are making some very serious allegations here. I would be interested in what evidence you have for what you are saying.

          We can have a fully funded care system if that is what we as a country want. At the moment, we are not willing to pay more taxes so are not able to have a fully funded care system. It is simple as that!

          To answer your first question When any citizen is deemed to be in need of 24 hour supervision, I’e needs to go into a care / nursing home They Are NEVER told about N.H.S Fully funded care, One of the very first question’s asked by Social Services, Is about finances Like do you own your Home Have you Got any savings, If you answer yes to both question’s you are automatically Told you will be a self funder
          Despite your health needs

          Do not try and dispute this fact I have personal experience of this in my own mother’s case, Along with at least 500 other people that I personally am helping with the exact same problem/situation

          And I reiterate you are NEVER told about fully funded health care free at the point of need. This is one of the core principles of the N.H.S And is also law as confirmed in the 1946/8 health act and confirmed in the coughlan ruling in the high court of appeal 16th July 1999 It is the Legal right of every British citizen who has an illness or disability To receive 100% fully funded N.H.S HEALTH CARE AT THE POINT OF NEED

          Ever since the 80’s The Thatcher years And this government, The elderly have been forced to sell their Homes to pay for their health care despite their health needs or condition as the N.H.S Avoids at all costs to meet their responsibilities, The figures stated are an estimate of The amount of money unlawfully extracted by local authorities over 20/25 years From those who were deemed not to fit the criteria for free care UNLAWFULY

          It was clearly proved in the high court of appeal that the criteria were fatally flawed. Lawyer speech to mean UNLAWFUL and the criteria Still continues to be fatally flawed It is now called coughlan compliant, There was no such thing called criteria used in the coughlan case There were no set domains . But local authorities now set their own criteria Rules Without legislation so it is unlawful

        • Madmutt,

          You say “We do have a system where some people have to pay for their care and some don’t which inevitably leads to “winners” and “losers”. But you omitted the word “health”, and by law, no individual is required to pay for NHS health care for a primary health need. Netsmurfit was talking about NHS fully funded care for a primary health need at the point of need. The NHS is legally responsible for providing that – free of charge.

          Not every person who needs 24/7 health care comes under the Mental Health Act, regardless of section 117 thereof. Many/most have a primary health need. As a result, the NHS should indeed pay for the care they need – by law – not the LA, not the SS, and not the individual. But as you so rightly say, the system has been made complicated and difficult to understand.

          More importantly though, many people with a primary health need are not even told that they have a right to for continuing care, fully funded by the NHS. And it is most often Social Services who step in, demand funding, without even mentioning the lawful right to full assessment for NHS continuing care.

          If NHS Continuing Care is denied to people with a primary health need, then that is illegal in this country. It is nothing to do with “the costs of care and who is going to fund it”. It is the law.

          The costs of health care are paid for by every individual who may – or may not – need health care at any point in their life. That was a right handed down by foundation of the National Health Service.: free at the point of need – and that has not changed.

          Expensive care is not always good quality care. Which brings us back to the original story behind the debate. If Mrs Figg’s health needs are such that she cannot be cared for by her family, and if she has a primary health need, then she should firstly not be in a ‘residential home’, she should be in a nursing home, or rather a care home with nursing. And Mrs Figg should have had that full assessment of her needs before she was moved to the residential care home, not afterwards, so that she may receive fully funded NHS continuing health care.

          You are wrong again, when you say that ‘we are not willing to pay more taxes so are not able to have a fully funded care system’. Has anyone ever asked you? Has the Chancellor asked? But you misunderstood Netsmurfit’s point. Or rather you chose perhaps to misundersand it.

        • “a person who has been treated in a psychiatric hospital as an informal patient (without being detained) and then needs care in a residential home, will have to contribute to their care”
          Not necessarily….IF their care is more than just..”incidental or ancillary to their need for accomodation”….AND if they have a HEALTH NEED….not to be confused with a need for health care, no actual care may be needed or appropriate, then the NHS by law is required to meet their bills for the care home (they are all called care homes now) in full. They also have to fund that care if it is the patients home,(see the Pointon case).
          Many, many people are being denied their rights under law by a failure of NHS staff and Social Services to inform people of those rights.
          There have been changes in regard to the information sent out to PCTs and Social services departments as to how they assess eligibility BUT there has been no change in the law. Following the Coughlan case anyone whose health needs are similar in severity to hers MUST be found eligible for NHS funded care. that is the law. Many staff involved from both the NHS and SS seem unaware of the facts about NHS funded care,( by that I do not mean the NHS funded nursing care which is different and is assessed in a different way), but where the NHS has to pay for so-called personal care too.
          The argument about costs is a distraction…..SS are accepting people on to their books the law says they should not. That means their budgets are stretched BUT they can and do means test all those they accept. The NHS is not allowed to means test so by denying funded care they push people into paying when they should not.
          As a relative who successfully fought the NHS over this and had all nursing home fees plus interest returned I can claim to now know a lot about NHS continuing care in all it’s forms. I have been involved in this since 2003 when I saw the ombudsman’s report and realised there was such a thing as NHS funded care! I should have been told this when my relative was being discharge from hospital.
          Your point about a presumption that the tax payer should pay the bill is a little off the mark…..all those who are denied care have already paid their taxes!! They paid them in preparation for that care and the NHS is trying to ignore that fact.
          A quick look at your local PCT Board publications will show you the true picture…many PCT’s are currently UNDERSPENDING money ear marked to cover this maladministration. I can safely use this word as I have a written apology from my PCT for it! Many PCTs have budgets in the black…..we all know about the population boom BUT…at present the law says what we are entitled to expect..the PCTs have been given the money for that but are not using it!
          By fighting the many claims they are getting for NHS funded care when it is obvious to anyone a person’s health needs are more than incidental…and then having to pay out interest on the money returned the final bill to the NHS is even greater so does not make sense in terms of the “public purse”.
          We do have a fully funded system….if you have health need your care is paid for in full by the NHS. The difficulty is accessing that funded care.
          The NHS in my case had to refund over £100.000 and I am not the only one.

        • Mad Mutt and anybody else who is ninterested, Netsmurfit is speaking / telling the truth.

          We do have a free healthcare suystem in this country paid for by something called National Insurance, it was set in stone, in the law in 1948 and ahs NEVER been changed, alon with the National Assistance Act
          1946, which does charge for social care.

          Anyone can debate all they like and deliberate how it’s not feasible now but it can only be changed as a LAW/STATUTE.
          It was challenged in 1999 successfully by the ‘Coughlan’ case ten year anniversary 16th July 2009, which is the only landmark case in law and has to be used as a proved defence, that is why cases do not get to court cos they will lose.
          The NHS act is clear we may not like it but here it is re free health care,
          ‘any UK citizen OR VISITOR will receive health care FREE at the point of need if they have an illness, disease or disability’,
          until this is changed to reflect some views ie maybe could be worded something like this:-
          ‘ to receive stepped healthcare, decided by us NHS PLC, judged only by ability to pay, at the point of need , if anyone cannot pay, then off to the workshouse with them’
          My MiL was placed in 2002 by the SS and charged £120k+ for the pleasure. You may not be too happy that I have won back over 50% so far and will gain the rest this year.this has taken over 2 years.
          they withheld info from us, we beleived them when they said it was just social car, so you ahve to pay if you own your own property, but don’t think you are immune because you are under 60 you are not, if you have a stroke for instance which makes you bedriddeen for life, then you will have to pay if you have means unless you put up an almighty fight in the first instance, it has happened, cases ready to quote if you need to know.

          • Guys I appreciate your poor treatment relating to continuing care v nursing care but really this is taking the thread off topic.

            Thanks for your input and good luck with your campaigning. I took out the link to youtube because I am not on a computer that can access the site and can’t check it.

            • You still don’t understand, do you?

              The fact that you don’t understand is part of the problem.

              It is not “continuing care v. nursing care”.

              • Fair enough, I wrote that without thinking. I have finished an extremely exhausting week and might not have considered the exact phrases I should have used.

                I will investigate the point further then, Victoria, and thank you for highlighting it – but this is not the place for it.

            • cb wrote

              Thanks for your input and good luck with your campaigning. I took out the link to youtube because I am not on a computer that can access the site and can’t check it.

              In other words the truth be hidden again, my my you all want the the truth but when it is given you take it out as allways .dont let the public see the truth TUT TUT

              CB i hope you have kept the link m8 so you can watch it on a computer compatable to access the film, the film will blow you away And guess what it is the Absolute Truth



              • I think I’ve given you a platform. Although actually it is not related to what I actually posted about. You might not believe it but i have some sympathy with your position.

                As I say, I wish you luck. Honestly.

                • cb Wrote

                  You might not believe it but i have some sympathy with your position.

                  As I say, I wish you luck. Honestly.

                  cb m8 good luck to you also my friend But do your self a big favour and watch that vidio you will be blown away
                  with what They are trying to do/are doing

                  Remember it’s us today you tomorrow


                • cb: I don’t think it is off thread, it is leading on within the thread about a dementia sufferer in a 24 hr care home, where social workers applied for a warrant to forcibly remove her back to the deemed place of safety, the care home.
                  We do not know the full facts of the case from both sides so cannot comment further uintil we do, most posts have debated the issue of the warrant.
                  I was referring to the issue that madmutt raised:
                  quote:restrictions would mean that social services would not place people into residential care unless there was no alternative.unquote

                  This is totally incorrect as more people have commented.
                  The social services place people to save their budget for communtiy care and utilise the users assets, whilst purporting the care required to be socail.
                  Dementia, collective word for diseases of the brain, not a psyuchotic mental disorder, but causing higher level cognitive impairment, according the NHS choices AND not a degenerative disease that the ELDERLY can assume to get when they get old.

                  My assumption is that Mrs Figg was placed by the SS into care to prevent their budget from being utilised under a means test, we will hopefully find out eventually.
                  You may be interested that the shif tis now changing, as usual, to care iin the home to keep poeple in their home and send ‘carers’ in!! god help us if the panorama programme is a sample of what is to come.

                  cb could supply you with numerous headlines where continuing care specifically can be aired and debated as a thread, and thank you for advising of your sympathy.
                  Please advise why it is considered ‘campaigning’ if one has a strong opinion of fact from experience and is shared with numerous others by these wonderful on line forums which were not available a decade ago.

                  Let’s all keep free thinking and free expression free and be tolerant of others views which are borne from their experiences too.
                  I hope no-one has to experience our journey to gain enlightenment in this subject.

  5. I saw this case on GMTV this morning, complete with film footage of “social workers” removing Betty Figg – the reporter didn’t seem aware that social workers don’t normally wear a care worker’s tunic.

    The first thing I thought was, “I bet there’s a whole other side to this story that we’re not hearing due to confidentiality.”

    • I didn’t have the pleasure of seeing the GMTV coverage.. probably a good thing as I was ranty enough as it was.. they’d have to be a doctor present anyway to remove to a place of safety under 135 so it’s a bit of a cheap shot at a social workers. I am in no doubt this situation is no at all as it;s been painted – too much doesn’t fit from the appointing of an IMCA when there is a daughter involved, to the need for such speedy action to have been taken and I’m sure I could uncover a lovely floral tunic in my wardrobe.. .. .

  6. If it was section 135, then would the 72 hours be up fairly soon? Would the mother now be release back to the safe-keeping of the daughter?

    Was the daughter arrested if it was considered that the mother was being ill-treated?

    Was it necessary for the lie to be told? Namely that the doctor had been brought to give the mother a medical checkup? Which doc did and nothing untoward was found.

    And is dementia now a “mental disorder”?

    Sounds all extremely muddled, and sounded muddled on Radio 4 just now, when the daughter and the Asst Director, Community Services, Coventry were both interviewed.

    • I don’t know when this took place. I expect an assessment would have taken place immediately rather than waiting the full 72 hours. It is best practice to assess as soon as you can.

      The actual warrant lists ill-treatment as one of the possible reasons, along with neglect – I read it that that was what the daughter was complaining about – the words written on the warrant.
      A doctor HAS to be present when the warrant is executed so that wouldn’t be a lie.
      Dementia is a mental disorder under the terms of the Mental Health Act.

      Obviously I don’t know the details – probably less than you because I haven’t heard the item on radio 4. All I can say is that it just doesn’t fit together with the information given in the newspaper coverage.

  7. Any idea where the Mental Health Act defines dementia as a mental disorder?

    It would be extremely useful for me if I could find that.


    • Yep, it’s in section 1.

      mental disorder” means any disorder or disability of the mind; and

      “mentally disordered” shall be construed accordingly;”

  8. I’d agree with you that it does look like a storm in a tea cup sort of reporting.

    Doctors, magistrates, social workers, with the community and hospital teams in agreement, organised care for a lady who’s an incapacitated adult and needed care that couldn’t be delivered in her own home by one person, 24 hours a day.

    They used legal mechanisms to effect this care.

    The media intimate this is lurid scandalous practice. It isn’t news. It’s orchestrating clinical care. Why’s it even getting column space?!

    • Of course, you managed to sum it up much more succintly! But yes, that was something of my thought process as well as a general and genuine confusion as to why the whole thing has been laid on at the door of social workers/social services and really they are only one cog in the wheel of a multi-disciplinary decision – and yes, on the evening news tonight, I saw a councillor from Coventry having to explain himself..

  9. The Shrink finds it looks like “a storm in a tea cup sort of reporting”.

    Well, Shrink, I’d call it a storm in the life of a family.

    The Shrink finds that “Doctors, magistrates, social workers, with the community and hospital teams in agreement, organised care for a lady who’s an incapacitated adult and needed care that couldn’t be delivered in her own home by one person, 24 hours a day.”

    Well, Shrink, the docs, magistrates, social workers, community and hospital teams were only involved in the abduction of this woman on Monday, from an already safe situation to another situation. To a care home that has only been registered as a Care home since last October. And anyone who has experience of “newly registered, but uninspected care homes” within the first 2 years of their life as a care home knows that things can go disastrously wrong within 3 months of that care home being allowed to accept vulnerable elderly residents.

    In this case, it was only 28 residents residing in Dr Prasad’s care home. In our case it was 85 residents residing in an equally ‘freshly registered’ care home. It resulted in the death of not only my relative, but the inhuman treatment of other elderly residents who died there. They were left dead in their beds for 3 days or more, with flies flying around the care home, as flies do.

    What a great pity these docs, magistrates, SWs, community and hospital teams were not all ‘talking to each other’ before then, and above all, listening to the daughter of the ‘woman’ in question.

    The Shrink finds that “They used legal mechanisms to effect this care”.

    Well, Shrink, I’d like to think that they could have used their brains before needing to employ legal mechanisms. It is so so so simple for bullies to employ legal mechanisms to which they have access, thereby denying the simple human rights and dignity of others. Others who care about the person at the centre of it all, rather than their ability to use legal mechanisms.

    Care is enormously orchestrated, Shrink! Orchestrated by those who cannot yet begin to understand – or even care about – the damage they do to families. Because the Orchestrators don’t listen; don’t understand; can’t make the effort.

    • I don’t want to put words into his mouth but I believe ‘The Shrink’ was referring to the reporting rather than the action taken which is tragic under any circumstances. I really am sorry for the poor treatment you and your family have suffered, Victoria, but my post relates to the use of the Mental Health Act in the circumstances half-described in the reporting and why it doesn’t make sense.

      Not least because although one social worker may be involved as the AMHP, this decision to use the Act, gain the warrant etc is nothing whatsoever to do with social services but rather the Mental Health services. The Mental Health Act requires absolute mindfulness of human rights legislation which is why some of the stories coming out don’t fit together

  10. Victoria, I am so very sorry for the case that occurred in your family, but you- and we- all have no idea what really went on in this case, or anything about the care home. The situation may have a resemblance to your own case, but on the other hand it may not be similar in any way. All we really have is the daughter’s story, as the professionals are bound by confidentiality to the mother and so cannot explain to the public the true reasons for the action taken. As has been stated however, the decision was taken jointly by many people, and so would have been carefully thought out and decided upon.

      • Social workers and health professionals rarely listen to relatives, and that seems to be happening in this discussion. We only have the daughter’s story and she is obviously not to be believed. There may be more to it than meets the eye, but nobody knows that is the case. You seem to be willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the authorities, but not to the the daughter in this case. Victoria’s story may be extreme, but similar things are happening all the time and nobody cares, least of all the ‘professionals’ who are paid to.

        I speak from some experience as my late mother, who suffered from Alzheimers Disease and died age 73 (relatively young), was cared for in her own home for 12 years by her loving and devoted husband. There was never any question as to whether this was a ‘suitable’ place for her 24/7 care, or whether my rapidly aging father (due to the extreme physical and emotional stress of caring for a loved one in the latter stages of AD) was able to do so. The authorities were happy to absolve their responsibility for providing care for an extremely ill woman with a terminal disease as they could simply leave my father to do the work and means test her to avoid funding the very limited amount of care that was provided to assist my father when he could no longer cope alone (and when I say limited, that is exactly what I mean – LIMITED). Who’s ‘Best Interest’ was that serving? According to Shrink “…organised care for a lady who’s an incapacitated adult and needed care that couldn’t be delivered in her own home by one person, 24 hours a day”, but that is EXACTLY what happened when my father cared for my mother, yet nobody came with a battering ram and reinforcements to take her to a place of safety!

        I have proved via the Healthcare Commission complaints system that my mother had a health need when she died and was entitled to NHS funded care, yet to be repaid, and an earlier period still to be fought for through the Health Ombudsman.

        Decisions made about my mother’s care were taken jointly by many people, and would have been carefully thought out and decided upon. However I have proved they were WRONG about her entitlement to NHS funding and so have many others in their own battles with the authorities. Complaints re NHS continuing care are upheld by the Ombudsman in 85% of cases – compared to 62% of other NHS complaints.

        This case my not initially appear to be about funding – but don’t always give the benefit of the doubt to SS/NHS – they don’t deserve it!

        • Jewel – obviously you have a case. I am well able to be critical of social services and the NHS and indeed, I am. That’s why I have an anonymous blog. I am no apologist. I spend an extensive amount of my time working with and advocating for relatives and patients indeed, I see that as my most important role – far more important than anything else I do.
          I don’t automatically take the side against the daughter but in this particular story, it is only possible to report one side and there are some aspects of the legalities that don’t fit together. That’s all I’m saying.
          In my own local authority, for example, we are obliged to consider continuing care every time we request a nursing care placement. They want to provide continuing care because the local authorities are happy to shift the burden of payment onto the NHS – but in this particular case, it would have been a decision taken in a team led by a doctor through the Trust, rather than a social services department.
          Of course, I don’t know any more details – but thank you for your point.

          • cb, QUOTE for above post in reply to jewel:-

            In my own local authority, for example, we are obliged to consider continuing care every time we request a nursing care placement. They want to provide continuing care because the local authorities are happy to shift the burden of payment onto the NHS

            This statement cb is the REASON why the institutional abuse is RIFE and this proves it.
            ~Once again your comments imply that you don’t understand the law all becasue of funding, this is happening due to funding only, nwither the local authority ot the nhs wwant to pay or think they should when they know means exist.
            It is plain and simple fraud, it is conspiracy to defraud.

            ‘every time we request a nursing placement! what does this mean! please

            the discharge procedure within a few days of entering hospital sends a form 2 to SS and at that point it should indicate that a chc has been carried out! obviously failing otherwise a form 2 would not be necessary.
            When the form 2 has to be sent to SS, SS then enter the fray and means test, but are supposed to check on the chc assessment and assess whether the health needs are nore than they can lawfully provide.
            Can you advise within your authority, what known conflicts exist between nhs and ss re assessments for fully funding.

  11. Why, I wonder did SS not respond when I notified them of serious abuse towards my father. My poor father was found severely bruised.

    Why, I wonder did the police not respond when I notified them of the abuse.

    Why, I wonder did CSCI say “nothing to do do with us”,

    Why when I notified POVA did they turn up a week later..

    Why, because my dad wasn’t living with me, he was living in a care home suffering from severe dementia, and it was the carers that had abused him.

    • Choccybiccy – I am sorry that happened. It is unforgivable. Unfortunately I don’t have any answers for you.

    • Choccybiccy,

      If I knew the words to use that might comfort you, then I would use them. If I thought those words would change anything, but I know they can’t.

      So all I can say is that I know where you are now, and sadly, where you have been.

      Your cries for help sound so very similar to my own cries for hellp. But it is almost impossible to break through their “brick wall of perfect arrogance” …. even though you and I sadly know that the one thing they need to do is to listen, to care, to understand, and to do something about it. Not to dismiss it all, as if pure fiction. Truth is sometimes hard for them to accept. But sadly we have to live with the truth, and with the truth of their neglect of duty.

      The mother of the woman at the start of this story was ‘rescued’ from further neglect. Sadly, she has now possibly been returned to that place of neglect. Yes, there is far more that we don’t know about yet … but … I just hope it does not turn out to be the equivalent of the Baby P case. Granny F may be the name for it, if it does indeed go that way.

      The media coverage and the broadcast interviews have all been so consistent that I cannot believe it is ‘an error’ on the part of the media.

      My heartfelt sympathies to you.

  12. The point is: if a relative has ‘kidnapped’ a relative from an institution and then they are sitting with that relative making the best of that situation, that there needs to be at least a week of a ‘cooling off’ period before anybody seeks to bring about what would appear to the outside world as a ‘rekidnapping’ by the responsible authorities.

    After all, the adrenalin, bemusement and amusement of the family may be (wrongly) viewed in the heat of the same moment by local authorities and their representatives ‘as childlike, irresponsible and delinquent behaviour’, when in fact the family is ‘buying time’ to in some way come to terms with and grieve for what they wanted and the reality of the present, as in this case, that we expect people in this society to take as a matter of eventual course without protest or debate. The social workers being in the ‘right’ is irrelevant, what is important is that everyone was ‘hyped up’ and, again, an old person was seen in the media having been turned into an object (face covered).

    If the social work and the media campaign is to mean anything, then CALM down and COMMUNICATE with HIGH expectations with everyone and don’t make excuses about there being ‘no time’, because if you unpack the ‘no time’ issue it’s really about control rather than relationship and this is what the media picks up on again and again, the lack of respect for the things that the general public need to see as being respected and important.

    Wouldn’t you rail until your very last breath if you felt that you’d agreed to processes that had yours or your relatives interests at their centre but then discovered that it was all only about revenue generation and that you wanted out?

    Communication of family intimacies are increasingly played out in the public arena, cctv etc, yet the balancing of the cost of letting a family pull against processes that cost lots of time and money to set up seem to take priority over building the kind of calm, assertive and genuinely humane approach to ‘kidnapping relatives’, family guilt that society is so materially orientated and also to creating a world for rich and poor old people where they can feel at home!

    • Thanks for that. Communication is the key but it sometimes can prove difficult in these kind of desperately sad circumstances.

  13. If these Social Service “workers” cared so much for this elderly woman’s dignity, why did they treat her like a cadaver or a side of beef by throwing a sheet over her without even asking her permission? Is that an act that could be done by anyone with even a shred of human decency? Those defending these actions on the ground that there is some “law” somewhere that allows it have lost their souls by being employed too long by the state, which sees us all as things to be controlled or manipulated. Shame on all of the defenders of this outrage.

  14. I found the disgraceful narratives of the abuse of their powers by the Coventry social services regarding Mrs. Betty Figgs and the Guildford social services and police regarding Mr. Tussler and his wife in the Daily Telegraph familiar. It promptly reminded me of my 51 year old sister’s experience with Kent Adult Social Services. The sequence of events was initiated by her daughter who insisted she not be allowed to live on her own in her own home and now claims the house as her own property. Julia Shires is in a private care home in Herne Bay, having suffered from symptoms of Huntington’s Chorea for 4 years but still being able to walk without a stick and to function as an independent householder, in her Canterbury home, which she bought in 2002. She was forcibly hospitalised on November 27th 2006, starved down from a weight of ~ 50 kg to 33 kg, tortured when she insisted on going to the lavatory instead of tolerating the catheters that continually infected her and persuaded to go to a private care home, on February 21st 2007, instead of returning home. At that time Julia was content to remain in the home. On visiting her at the home, Orchard House, Herne Bay, on September 9th 2007 she told me that standards there were falling and asked why she could not return to her own home (as her previous care manager had told her she could). The staff present told her she was ‘already at home’ and the presumptuous Responsible Individual for the home, Linda Ironside, wrote to the CSCI (following a complaint from myself) stating that ‘In order to make her feel safe, help her regain her orientation and enable her to adjust to the changes, the staff agreed response was “You are at home, Julia” or “This is your home now”.

    18 months before my sister was admitted to Orchard House a CSCI inspection found that the home’s ‘Statement of Purpose……asserts that the final decision (re residents falling outside the home’s registration category) will lie with the Responsible Individual. This is a clear misinterpretation of the regulatory arrangement.’ Clearly, the reforms that led to higher scores for the home in more recent CSCI inspections only reflect superficial, misleading changes in policy presentation. Miss Ironside’s underlying attitude remains the same. Although, were I in any doubt about this, it would have been dispelled by her telling me, in May 2007, that it was her decision that Julia should remain at the home, regardless of any other consideration.

    On February 20th 2009 I received the following anonymous letter:-

    ‘I am sorry to hear your sister is a resident in Orchard House, a home in my opinion should be closed down. The last time I visited there, it was filthy. There was vomit and food spilt on the chairs, which had obviously been there for hours. The television is used as a tranquilliser and the residents are encouraged to sit in front of it for hour after hour after hour dis-encouraging them from using their brain cells. Huntington’s Disease is a progressive illness, some of the brain cells deteriorate and die while other brain cells remain alive and should be constantly challenged to keep them active. There are no leisure pursuits in the home, no library, no games room, no occupational therapy, the residents are rarely taken out. A M/s Linda Ironside who according tax records is a single person who runs the home and yet her husband, Paul works at the sister home in Allenby Drive under a different surname. Obviously some tax evasion. The home charges over £1600 a week to residents and yet offers such a poor standard. I suggest you intervene for the good of your sister.’

    The envelope typeface and wrong address (it was forwarded to me by my previous landlord) reveal the letter to originate with someone connected with the organisation of the local Huntington’s Disease Support Group, main organiser Christine Oliver. I understand that the HDSG complained to the management about the running of the home and were met with a typically offensive response, so no longer meet there.

    There is one way of resolving this issue together with Mrs. Figg’s and Mrs. Tussler’s horrible predicaments as well as those of countless other vulnerable adults. This so-called Labour Government should draft another bill providing Human Rights for private care home residents and, this time, whip it through the House of Lords.

    Stephen Shires.

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