Council seeks to arrange home care for woman ‘detained’ in hospital for six months

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Council social services bosses say they are trying to arrange a care package for a woman with mental health difficulties after a judge said she had “effectively been detained” in hospital for six months because her home was not fit to live in.

Lawyers representing Greenwich Council, in London, told Mr Justice Hayden on Thursday that refurbishment work had begun on the woman’s home and staff were trying to organise care.

The judge is considering the woman’s case at hearings in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves are considered, in London.

He said the woman, who is in her 60s, had unnecessarily been in hospital since October and suggested that she was being harmed by a “State” which was meant to care for her.

Mr Justice Hayden, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court, said the woman could not be identified in media reports.

But he said Greenwich Council had responsibility for her welfare and could be named.

Lawyers told him last week that the woman, who has a personality disorder, had last year gone into hospital after experiencing physical health problems.

The judge had been told that the woman was “difficult” and that her home was not habitable.

“I don’t have a problem with difficult old people,” Mr Justice Hayden said last week.

“I hope that I will be one myself.

“What I do have a problem with is a woman who is in a hospital ward, where she has been since October, who has not been required to be there for health reasons since October, and through November, December, January and February has effectively been detained there against her will, in circumstances that are wholly inappropriate, by a State that purports to be caring for and assisting her.”

He added on Thursday: “She has been in hospital for an unconscionable length of time in circumstances where she should not be there. It should not continue for a moment longer than it has to.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Nick Ansell / PA Wire.