A string of council failures caused a woman with severe learning
difficulties to spend 10 years in hospital unnecessarily, a local
government ombudsman ruled last week.
The ombudsman ordered Wakefield Council to pay the woman’s aunt
£20,000 in compensation after upholding her complaint that it
failed to find her niece suitable accommodation and did not keep
her informed and involved in decisions about her care.
The woman initially went to hospital for six months in 1990 for a
trial of medication but eventually spent 10 years in the hospital.
The ombudsman found the council guilty of “maladministration
causing injustice” to both the woman and her aunt.
David Congdon, head of external relations at Mencap, said the case
was “totally unacceptable”. He added:”We would have expected this
to be history. It should not occur due to care in the community and
the recognition that people with learning difficulties do not need
to stay in hospital.”
Wakefield Council’s head of legal services Jacqueline Pepperell
said: “We will be considering this report in detail and will report
back to the ombudsman on the action we are taking or proposing to