Family win right to choose home for sectioned mother

North Yorkshire Council has been slammed by the local government ombudsman for refusing to pay for a woman with mental health problems to live in a care home near to her family.

The woman was assessed as needing frequent family contact in order to help with her mental health but the council refused to meet the full costs of a home near to her family and instead placed her in a cheaper home that was difficult for them to reach.

Following compulsory detention for treatment, Mrs Trent (not her real name) was assessed as needing mental health aftercare under the Mental Health Act 1983 and was placed in the home by the council.

Her daughter, Mrs Medway (also not her real name), complained that the chosen home did not meet her mother’s assessed needs, but the council said that only a third party – such as a family member – could meet the additional costs of the home chosen by her family.

It later reviewed the decision and said Mrs Trent could fund the additional costs out of her own resources – but has now accepted that the home chosen by the family was appropriate and it will meet the full costs.

Making a ruling of maladministration with injustice by the council, local government ombudsman Anne Seex called on the council to pay Mrs Medway £500 in compensation, to which it has agreed.

Seex said the council had not properly considered whether the home it had identified would meet Mrs Trent’s needs nor taken into account the impact on family contact.

Accepting the verdict, a spokesperson for the council said: “We will continue to work positively with the ombudsman and address all the concerns raised.”

Related information:

Essential information on mental health

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