Katie's Diary

Punishing parents is not the solution

5th September 2014

THE chief executive of a leading health and social care provider has called on NHS and social services around the UK to examine their approach following the case of young Aysha King.

Dorothy Jarvis Lee, of leading health social care organisation, ubu, which cares for more than 500 vulnerable adults and children said the actions of the authorities had been draconian and overbearing but often typical of the way they dealt with issues.

She said that they must learn lessons from the episode to prevent an expensive repetition of a case that had caused untold heartbreak and cost thousands pitting medics against parents.

Five year old Aysha, who has a serious brain tumour was separated from his parents when they took him to Spain to seek alternative treatment for his cancer.

He had been made a ward of court and his parents were arrested in Spain at the request of the British authorities who said Aysha was at risk and should be brought back to the UK.

“This was not a black and white issue of people ignoring medical advice because they want an obscure treatment they have read about on the web for their son.  

“Brett and Negeham King are two obviously devoted parents desperate to get the best treatment they can for their ill child and they believed they had found an alternative to that offered by the NHS,” she said.

“As they tried to get the treatment for Aysha their every move was blocked so they made it clear they would be willing to go overseas. The local authority panicked and had Aysha made a ward of court.

“This whole case highlights how some authorities’ think they know best and disregard the wishes and feelings of those directly involved, often with catastrophic consequences.

“The NHS doctors are portrayed as mean for denying him treatment when, if truth be known, they may be quite happy for him to go overseas, but the local authority chose another route.

“An awful lot of public money has been spent and wasted for an eventual outcome that was inevitable and ultimately better for the patient and society.”

Ms Jarvis Lee said the only good that could come out of the whole case was if public sector organisations started to think in a more long term, rational and commercial way to deliver the best care for individuals.

“ubu puts each person they serve at the heart of their own care.  Had Aysha been put at the heart of his care the actions of all those involved would have been very different. 

“As a society we need to think more before we act and be rational about what will deliver better outcomes for patients, families and society rather than having a knee jerk reaction based on ‘expert opinion’.

“The views of those directly involved should be listened to and families opinions given greater credence to avoid a costly repetition of this kind of case,” she added.

“The whole system seems in a shambles and all because the state was trying to intervene in a perfectly normal human situation where parents wanted the best for their child.  That is normal and any human being would understand that.

She called on local authorities to work closer with families rather than against them and take a more long term view of how to deliver the best results for individuals and society.”  

Punishing parents is not the solution

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