Bristol

Bristol mum's petition to bring home autistic son reaches 63,000

Eddie
Image caption Eddie, 16, has a range of complex difficulties and is being detained under the Mental Health Act

A mother's campaign to bring home her autistic son who is being treated 300 miles away has grown significantly.

In the last month 63,000 people have signed a petition in support of Adele Hanlon, from Bristol, whose son was diagnosed with ADHD and dyspraxia.

Eddie, 16, is being detained in Newcastle under the Mental Health Act as there are no specialist care beds available closer to home.

NHS England has said it cannot comment on individual cases.

'Really positive'

Ms Hanlon said the response to the petition, and an arranged meeting with Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie later, was "absolutely amazing".

"We've had information that a specialist service has been commissioned, by the NHS, to go and assess Eddie's needs and see how he can be catered for - if he can be catered for - when he comes out of hospital," she said.

"It is really positive. We're further down the line now than we've ever been."

Image caption Adele Hanlon wants a specialist place found for her teenage son near their home

Bristol City Council said it would not share personal details but NHS England has previously said "it is desperately sad when young people have to be treated so far away" and their priority was "always to get patients back living in their own homes".

Four years ago Eddie was moved from a residential school, where he was not coping, to a hospital in Northampton.

But following a damning Care Quality Commission report on that facility in 2013, Ms Hanlon said the NHS and city council made the decision to move him to Newcastle.

Since then, Ms Leslie said she had researched numbers of children's mental health beds in the South West and "was absolutely shocked to find the region is right at the bottom of the league tables".

She said seven out of 10 Clinical Commissioning Groups in the country have over double the number of mental health beds per child than the South West "so we're lagging behind scandalously".

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