Scandal of mental hospital patient fed through a hatch for NINE YEARS while she was kept in isolation
- Woman, known as Lisa, was left in room in secure hospital for nine years
- She was fed through a hatch and workers brushed her hair through it
- Lisa was discovered during an official inspection of the secure hospital
- Norman Lamb, the care minister, described her situation as ‘intolerable’
- She was sleeping on a bean bag and never left room at end of men’s ward
- Irwin Mitchell is considering whether Lisa’s human rights were breached
- She was sectioned nine years ago and had been locked in hospital room
A woman with severe mental health difficulties was kept locked in a room and was fed through a hatch for nine years.
Care minister Norman Lamb, who wants to improve care for the mentally disabled, branded the case of the woman – who never went out – as ‘intolerable.’
She was only discovered during an official inspection of the hospital and was found to be sleeping on a bean bag. Her only interaction with staff appeared to be when they used a hatch to deliver food to her and brush her hair through a hatch in the door.
She had lived like this, in a locked room at the end of an all-male ward, for nine years.
The woman, known only as Lisa, was discovered by a worker from the Challenging Behaviour Foundation (CBF) who went along on the inspection and referred the issue of her care to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2011, the Sunday Times reported.
The CBF has described the case as deeply concerning and shocking.
Law firm Irwin Mitchell is also understood to be considering whether her human rights have been breached.
In a report of the two day inspection, during which no one saw Lisa, the CQC said: ‘The CBF expert…was concerned because she was told that Lisa lived in a locked area at the end of a male ward.
‘She did not come out and no one went in.’
The watchdog said Lisa had been sectioned under the mental health act and did not receive any therapy.
This was the first time anyone had raised any issues about her care, which cost £12,600 a week. She has now been moved to a new facility .
Irwin Mitchell said it is preparing to see whether the case is a breach of human rights.
Nancy Collins, of the firm, said: ‘We are deeply concerned that someone has lived in a room for nine years and communicated through a small hatch. It defies belief.’
Lawyers are also looking into the case of Stephanie Bincliffe, who died after seven years in a secure hospital. During this time she put on 10 stone in weight and died from obesity and sleep apnea.
Norman Lamb, care and support minister, is to introduce a new green paper calling for the mentally disabled to be given more rights. The care minister has also called for better care for the mentally ill, many of whom are living in institutions but are capable of independently.
He said: ‘Cases such as this are unacceptable and intolerable.
‘There is a deeply embedded and rotten culture where people with learning disabilities are treated as second class citizens. Millions are being spent on completely inappropriate care of people in institutions, many of whom are capable of living independently.
“I expect the Care Quality Commission to be uncompromising in their response to any situations of this sort. The Government has legislated for strengthened enforcement powers – including prosecution – where providers fail to meet new fundamental standards which come into force next April. Ultimately, services can be closed down where standards of care are unacceptable.’
He has previously spoken about plans to allow families to seek a second opinion if a relative is left in a institution that they believe is unsuitable.
There are about 16,000 mental health beds in the NHS and the number of patients with learning disabilities who have been admitted to hospitals has increased since June.