Family horrified as dementia sufferer 'dragged from home' without warning

Derek Buckley has dementia but his family maintain he's perfectly capable of living at home with assistance

Derek Buckley has dementia but his family maintain he's perfectly capable of living at home with assistance, and did not need to be sectioned - Credit: Terry Wheeler

The family of a dementia sufferer say social workers dragged him from his home and dumped him in hospital without warning.

Derek Buckley, 75 and living in Wymondham, was diagnosed with dementia in 2017. He lives at home, but relies on night-sitters and daily visits from carers to look after him.

On October 17, he was removed from his Talbot Close home after failing a mental health assessment.

But his brother-in-law John Reeves, who has lasting power of attorney, believes Derek was "set up to fail" — and has now lodged an official complaint with Norfolk County Council's adult social services department for its "horrible and high-handed behaviour".

Derek loves spending time with his cousin Terry Wheeler and his brother-in-law John Reeves

Derek loves spending time with his cousin Terry Wheeler and his brother-in-law John Reeves - Credit: Terry Wheeler

The 54-year-old, who lives in London but visits Norfolk regularly, received a call on Saturday, October 16 from social workers saying they were performing a mental health assessment on Derek to see if he had capacity to make his own decisions.

This was the first Mr Reeves had heard of it — though he was later appalled to discover the assessment had been arranged three days before, on October 13.

Knowing his brother-in-law would be too distressed to pass any assessment, Mr Reeves asked if it could be postponed until he, or a family friend, could be with Derek.

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But a promise to consider his request wasn't kept. Instead, he received a call the next morning to say the assessment had already gone ahead, three men had removed Derek from his home and he was in hospital with a 28-day sectioning order.

Mr Reeves appealed the sectioning and it was lifted four days later. He hopes Derek will be out of hospital shortly.

John Reeves

John Reeves, who has power of attorney for Derek, said he couldn't believe he hadn't been informed an assessment was taking place until the day itself - Credit: Terry Wheeler

Norfolk County Council's director of community social work, Craig Chalmers, said the complaint was being investigated.

He explained: "Every Mental Health Act assessment is monitored carefully and undertaken by two medical doctors and an Approved Mental Health Professional.

"Decisions to detain to a hospital, especially during this time of demand on the NHS, are only warranted for cases where no other alternatives are possible.

"We will continue to work with the family at this time."

But Mr Reeves explained: "If he needs treatment, then that's fair enough.

"But you cannot put a 75-year-old dementia sufferer through what they did. He won't have had the faintest clue what was going on."

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