U-turn joy over care of son for Wibsey mother

Paula Rawnsley

Paula Rawnsley

First published in News by , T&A Reporter

Health trust bosses will put a disabled Bradford teenager in his own flat with carers instead of sending him to a care unit 125 miles away from friends and family.

Paula Rawnsley, of Wibsey, who had fought against her son Thomas being moved from Lynfield Mount Hospital in Bradford to Peterborough, said it sounded “wonderful” but she would remain sceptical until it actually happened.

The trust’s original decision to transfer Thomas, who has Down’s Syndrome and is autistic with challenging behaviour, was blocked last week after an independent panel recommended it should develop a local care plan for the 19-year-old closer to home instead.

An emergency meeting of independent hospital managers was held on Tuesday after Thomas’s father, Paul Bradbury, put in an 11th hour bid to keep him in Bradford. Mrs Rawnsley’s own appeal against the BDCT’s decision to send him to Peterborough had been rejected.

She had feared the trust would come back empty-handed because the care plan recommendation could not be enforced and that Thomas would be returned home where they would not be able to cope, despite loving him deeply.

But she has now been told that a company called Lifeways will place Thomas in a flat in Bradford and provide staff to support him.

“It sounds wonderful, but I’m very sceptical after everything that’s gone on and the twists and turns of the last few days,” Mrs Rawnsley said.

She said the trust had told her the flat move would take sometime, but it was working as fast as possible. Until then Thomas will be staying at Lynfield Mount’s Highfield Unit under a Deprivation of Liberty order.

“Then when he moves because it won’t be a hospital or residential service he will be placed under the court of protection. I want this to happen quickly as I don’t want him staying where he is any longer and hope legalities don’t delay things,” she said.

A previous plan by the trust to give Thomas a flat of his own with staff fell through last year.

“Because of last year I will be more confident when it actually happens,” she said.

Mrs Rawnsley said the Peterborough threat had been the latest in a series of complaints she had about her son’s treatment in the Highfield Unit. This included the use of anti-psychotic drugs and him being left naked in the corridors at the unit, where he has been held under the Mental Health Act since October.

Without a car and no job, she said she would not have been able to visit and “protect” him if he was so many miles away in Peterborough.

The trust said it could not comment because of patient confidentiality.

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