A distressed dad has revealed how mental health chiefs denied his young son from seeing his own mother.
Stephen Murray from Holmfirth says his boy was devastated after hospital bosses pulled the plug on a long awaited family reunion.
Benjamin, 10, has not seen his mum Laura since March.
Laura has been detained under the mental health act since June 2017 but regular face-to-face visits have been allowed, with her visiting the family home on a weekly basis for several months until lockdown began.
Laura’s first visit in about six months was planned for August 18.
But the family was devastated when her care team cancelled the reunion late in the day, the day before the visit, citing Kirklees coronavirus restrictions that banned people from visiting other households.
Stephen said he informed managers at Elysium Healthcare that there were a number of exceptions to the restrictions, including to continue access between parents and children who do not live in the same household.
But he says they did not agree, claiming it was a “grey area”.
He said: “I was told they did not interpret it this way and would need to refer to senior management for further guidance and someone would contact me the following day.
“Two weeks on and despite repeated requests, no clarification on the reason consent was withdrawn has been forthcoming, nor any explanation as to why the exceptions I referred them to did not apply.”
He added: “Both Benjamin and Laura were very excited and happy to be meeting at long last and looking forward to being able to give each other a hug once more.
“I’m very concerned about the impact this is having both on Laura, whose mental health has deteriorated since this has happened and Benjamin, who has now also been referred to mental health professionals.
“Elysium are adding insult to injury here by not giving the matter of contact the importance it deserves and failing to involve the family in decisions, to the detriment of those who are already struggling.”
Stephen claims the true reason the visit was cancelled was little to do with Covid-19 and more to do with avoiding the expense of the 25 mile journey from Guiseley to Holmfirth.
He said: “Whilst the lockdown restrictions are now being relaxed again here, the issue remains about how the guidance was interpreted and for those still under these restrictions, or should they be re-imposed, it needs addressing now before more damage is inflicted on more innocent children.”
Elysium Healthcare said: “The safety and wellbeing of our patients is our highest priority at all times. We are strictly adhering to the latest government advice on visitation access in healthcare settings, which is constantly updated depending on the local prevalence of Covid-19.
“We recognise that this is a very challenging time for families with a loved one in hospital, and we are doing all we can to facilitate Covid-safe visits as soon as Government guidance allows.”