“We Trusted Them To Care For Our Son”

Serious concerns over the care given to people with learning disabilities have been raised by a report by health inspectors into services provided by Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust. Here we hear of two cases, those of Russell Bevan and Ryan Blakey.

Russell Bevan

Russell Bevan, 37, who has moderate learning disabilities had been an inpatient at Budock Hospital before moving into supported housing, both of which were run by the NHS trust.

Pauline Bevan told the BBC she had seen signs of abuse over a period of time while her son was living at the house: “I went into his room and there was blood all over his bed. They said it was a nose bleed, but there was too much blood.

“Russell went to the doctors because he had nosebleeds for about a month. But I think he was being hit on the nose, because that’s what he told me was happening.

“He was being dragged, pushed, he had fingerprints on him when he came home where they’d held him. It looked as if he’d been held down.”

Pauline said: “I was absolutely appalled when I heard what had been happening in the trust. I thought Russell was a one-off. I’m appalled and disgusted. We trust our sons in their care and they let them be abused.”

Russell now lives with his parents. Pauline said: “I would not let Russell go in a healthcare home again.”

Ryan Blakey

Ryan Blakey, who has severe learning disabilities, epilepsy and autism in addition to Tuberous Sclerosis and has tumours throughout his body.

He cannot speak and is currently being cared for by his parents at home. Ryan has carried comforters – pieces of bedding – around with him for a number of years. Ryan needed to be admitted to Budock hospital twice to oversee changes to his medication.

The family later complained that Ryan had injured his hand during his first stay, and that his comforters were taken away from him during his second visit.

His family said Ryan’s mental state deteriorated, and he was found slapping himself, tearing at his fingernails and wearing dirty clothes while in hospital. Staff later acknowledged during a meeting with the family that his care had not been good enough.

His sister Victoria said: “My brother has suffered nightmares ever since this ordeal and he often screams out in his sleep.

“This has ruined a life, that we have spent every minute of, trying to make him comfortable and trying to make his life as enjoyable as we can. Our family will never be the same and it has scarred us all for ever.”

She added: “We are petrified that this will all die down and nothing will be done to protect the same thing happening to others. People need to realise that un-describable things happen behind closed doors, to people who are too vulnerable to know that it is not meant to happen to them.”