A distraught dad has said he would “rather be in prison” after he claims he was told to stay in a small room with just a mattress and a chair after seeking treatment for his mental health.
Ben Ashcroft, 38, told YorkshireLive he was led to a “horrendous” room at Kendray Hospital in Barnsley shortly after being sectioned.
The picture above shows a mattress placed on the floor next to a chair. Ben has alleged he was told we would have to stay in the room for “at least two days”.
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“This is an absolute p*** take,” he tweeted.
“[I have] been in hospital many times and never been treated like this. A mattress and chair and literally nothing else. No toilet. Not allowed to leave the room.”
A spokesperson for the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said demand for beds was “exceptionally high” at the weekend and Ben was “temporarily” put in a lounge.
However, they denied the suggestion that Ben could not access the toilet.
“We can confirm that we never lock someone in a room without access to toilet facilities,” they said.
Nonetheless, Ben claimed the conditions were so poor that he went on hunger strike.
“Treat me like a prisoner and an animal then so be it.”
Ben, from Calderdale, said he was initially admitted to Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax last week, but was then sent to Barnsley over the weekend.
He said: “This should never be acceptable or an option for a human being who is having a mental health crisis and sectioned. This is so far away from Trauma Informed Care.
“I hope the experience I had will help reduce it for other people in the same position I was in. The last five days have been quite horrendous and traumatic.”
Where to get mental health help in 2021
Samaritans : Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email email@example.com, in confidence
Platform 1 men’s community group : Support for issues including mental health problems and addiction recovery. Visit the website or call 01484 421143.
Andy’s Man Club : firstname.lastname@example.org
PAPYRUS : A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Mind : A charity offering support and advice for people with mental health problems.
Bullying UK : A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) : For young men who are feeling unhappy. There’s a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
MindOut: Provide support and advice on mental health for members of LGBTQ communities. Phone 01273 234839
Ben has since been sent back to Calderdale Royal Hospital, where he said he now has access to a proper bed and an en suite toilet.
However, his recent experiences have led to several high-profile politicians promising to urgently look into the matter.
Holly Lynch, the MP for Halifax, said: “I’m so sorry to see this. I will be contacting South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust immediately to work out how this could have happened.”
South Yorkshire Mayor Dan Jarvis, Batley and Spen MP Kim Leadbeater and South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck have all been in touch with Ben to try and resolve the situation.
Ben spent one night at Kendray Hospital but is now back in Halifax. He has since met with the operations director at the Trust and said he has “accepted the apology”.
Dr Subha Thiyagesh, medical director at South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “The safety of our service users is the top priority for us, as is providing care as close to home as possible.
“Demand for mental health inpatient beds over the weekend was exceptionally high and with this level of demand we took short term measures to ensure all our service users were kept safe. This involved housing a service user temporarily in a lounge while a suitable room was sourced.
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“Throughout this time we worked tirelessly to identify a bedroom, which we do for any service user needing care. Following ongoing efforts by our staff we were able to identify and provide a suitable room for this person on Sunday.
“We can confirm that we never lock someone in a room without access to toilet facilities.
“As a person-centred organisation we always take service users’ comments and feedback seriously and in this instance spoke to the patient to explain the situation and that we were doing everything we could to resolve it.
“Our staff continue to work with the service user to ensure they feel safe and supported while with us.
“We are very sorry for any distress this situation has caused.”
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