Tony Hickmott to be released after 21 years in hospital

A BBC article has shared that Tony Hickmott, an autistic man, will be released from the ATU that he has lived in for over 21 years.

A BBC article released today (4th October 2022) provides an update on Tony Hickmott, an autistic man who is  detained in an Assessment and Treatment Unit (ATU) rated as “inadequate” by CQC.  Tony has been in hospital for 21 years, away from his family and subjected to restrictions despite. being declared ‘fit for discharge’ over 9 years ago.

Following years of campaigning by his family and a Court of Protection hearing last year, a care team is being assembled to find Tony a home near his parents in his hometown of Brighton. The Judge  criticised the hospital’s “egregious” delays and “glacial” progress. The Care Quality Commission rated the ATU that Tony is living in as inadequate and stated that it failed to meet people’s needs.

The BBC article states ‘In addition to the 100 patients, including Mr Hickmott, who have been held for more than 20 years – there are currently nearly 2,000 other people with learning disabilities and/or autism detained in specialist hospitals across England’. According to recent NHS Digital data, the average length of stay for people with a learning disability and/or autism who are currently in inpatient units is 5.5 years. This data continues to demonstrate a lack of progress in meeting the Transforming Care target of reducing the number of children and adults in inpatient settings by 35% by 2020, a target which has not been met and was pushed back again, to 2023/24.

The Government must now take urgent action to ensure that individuals with learning disabilities and autistic people receive the timely and appropriate support they need to live full lives in the community, and that the targets set years ago are actually met.

–  You can read the BBC article here: Tony Hickmott: Autistic man to be released after 21 years in hospital – BBC News

–  You can read another CBF post regarding people with learning disabilities continuing to receive inadequate care and support in inpatient settings here: Inadequate inpatient settings – Challenging Behaviour Foundation

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