DCSIMG

Patients cursed with legacy of care abuse

16/04/2013

Picture shows Solar Centre at St Catherine's hospital in Doncaster
Staff from the centre are facing charges of abuse on patients at Sheffield Crown Court

rossparry.co.uk / Chris Fairweather

16/04/2013 Picture shows Solar Centre at St Catherine's hospital in Doncaster Staff from the centre are facing charges of abuse on patients at Sheffield Crown Court rossparry.co.uk / Chris Fairweather

After a seven year fight for justice the families of the Solar Centre victims say they are still dealing with the impact of the abuse.

But rather than being supported by those that failed them many feel they are continuing to be let down.

Richie Rowe’s family say his behaviour was affected so badly by his experiences that health workers said he would have to be sedated if they were to continue to care for him.

Since the abuse by staff the family say services have been withdrawn rather than improved resulting in Richie, 34, becoming more isolated.

Mr Rowe’s mother Kathy and stepfather Adrian Milnes now live in fear of what will happen to their son when they are not around to care for him.

Mr Milnes said: “If he went into full time care his behaviour would become difficult so they’d sedate him, he’d have no appetite so he’d stop eating, dehydrate and then he would die, probably within months.”

Mr and Mrs Milnes care for Richie full time but are no longer able to access respite care and only have access to day centres.

Mr Milnes, 50, said: “They have created the Jekyll and Hyde that is Richie and now they are absolving themselves of responsibilities. There’s a lack of accountability..

“Richie’s life quality has gone down and ours has gone down with it In order for us to care for Richie it’s important for us to get that time to recharge our batteries but more importantly it’s important for Richie to mix with different people and to become more sociable.

“The council should be falling over themselves to support us but they just don’t want to know.”

Mrs Milnes said Richie, who has a string of medical problems including curvature of the spine, is registered blind and has and the mental age of a child, was a loving, happy and sociable character until they started to notice a shift in his behaviour around the time of the abuse.

She added: “When we found out the truth it all made sense, when I had Richie I prepared myself for what comes with having a disabled child, people staring in the street, saying things about Richie but I can deal with that but never in a million years did I think he would be abused.

“We have to live with the fact that Richie is never going to be like he was before .”

In the end a jury found the Solar Centre workers not guilty in the allegations concerning Mr Rowe, but Mr Milnes, of Avoca Avenue, Intake, said a civil case was still being pursued.

The family say a report into abuse fails to address the impact on the victims.

Mr Milnes said: “The victims seem to be the elephant in the room. Nothing is going to change until there is absolute transparency. The vulnerable people in this case were simply thrown to the wolves.”

Reg and Maureen Darton’s Kay, 52, who suffers from cerebral palsy was a vcitim of the Solar Centre abuse.

Since the abuse she suffered at the Solar Centre the family say she has not been the same.

Mr Darton, 73, of Canterbury Road, Wheatley, said: “After what happened we would have expected the agencies involved to be falling over themselves to put things right but we haven’t heard anything from any of them.

Dr Nav Ahluwalia, executive medical director for Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) which runs the centre, said: “We are working with partner agencies to look at the support that collective agencies can put in place.”

 

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