The High Court has ruled that a hospital board can move a 20 year old autistic woman 230 miles away from her family for treatment.
The woman, Claire Dyer, suffers from a learning disability and is being detained in a Swansea hospital under the Mental Health Act.
Despite being detained, she regularly saw her family and often slept overnight at the family home.
The hospital board responsible for her care sought permission to move her to a specialist facility in Brighton, which is a five and a half hour drive from her home.
The High Court ruled in the board’s favour, allowing the move to take place despite the objections of the woman’s family.
The NHS Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University (ABMU) Health Board said the placement was temporary, and added that the plan was “for the patient to return closer to home as soon as possible”.
In a statement after the ruling, Claire Dyer’s mother said the family was “heart-broken and devastated”, and while they accept that the stay in Brighton was a temporary measure, the fact that there were no specialist hospitals in Wales was “beyond belief”.
She added that the ABMU appeared to want to “lock her up rather than help her manage her condition”.
Mental health charity Mencap said it was “appalled” that the High Court had allowed Claire to be moved so far away.
Wayne Crocker, director of Mencap Cymru, said the charity wanted to see an end to the “unacceptable culture” of placing patients in facilities hundreds of miles from their families where they would be “at significant risk of abuse and neglect”.
Photo of Brighton Pier by D1v1d via Flickr