Health authorities have issued an apology to a man who experienced delays in receiving aftercare following his detention under the Mental Health Act. The man, who had severe autism and schizophrenia, was sectioned in December 2016. The NHS and Peterborough council have been ordered to pay the man and his father £600 in compensation by the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman. The NHS has expressed its intention to learn from these errors.
The ombudsman’s report referred to the man as Mr X and stated that he was discharged in February 2017. However, his carer, Mr Y, filed a complaint as he was not assigned a care co-ordinator as required. It was also revealed that review meetings, which should have taken place annually, ceased in 2019.
The ombudsman upheld the carer’s complaint in May 2022, highlighting the shared failure of the NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Integrated Care Board (ICB), the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), and the council. A subsequent complaint made in November 2023 revealed that the ombudsman’s findings had not been acted on. As a result, the three organizations were instructed to pay £100 each to both the man and his carer. They were also directed to appoint a care co-ordinator and arrange an aftercare meeting within two months.
Both the ICB and CPFT have offered their sincere apologies to the individuals involved and expressed their commitment to learning from these mistakes. The council, on the other hand, has completed a Section 117 review (aftercare meeting) and is actively working with partners to resolve the appointment of a care co-ordinator. The council also extended its apologies to the affected individuals for any distress caused.
This case highlights the importance of providing timely and appropriate aftercare for individuals who have been detained under the Mental Health Act. It is crucial that all organizations involved in the care and support of these individuals work together effectively to ensure their well-being. The NHS, the council, and other relevant bodies must take this incident as an opportunity to review and improve their procedures to prevent similar delays and failures in the future. The compensation awarded to the man and his carer serves as a recognition of the distress they have experienced as a result of the lapses in their care.