'He's been neglected': Parents celebrate release of autistic son detained by mental health act
After years of fighting, a family has been told that their autistic son will finally be released from the secure hospital where he's been held for more than two decades.
Tony Hickmott was initially sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2001 and despite assurances he would stay in the short-term facility for just nine months, he's been detained for almost half his life.
Joining Alison and Dermot on This Morning, his parents, Pam and Roy Hickmott celebrate the news of his release and share more about Tony's detainment.
Speaking about his upbringing, Pam spoke about the lack of support during his education which led to him being excluded. She said that the problems began at that point.
After being detained, Pam said: "We didn't realise that we weren't having the proper mental health tribunals. We begged for him to move to be closer to home and safer."
"We kept being told by our local services that there were no providers willing to take our son on."
Roy and Pam spoke about the lack of care for his son throughout the 21 years and told of the basic living conditions that Tony endured.
Responding to the claims, Rob Persey from Brighton and Hove City Council said. "We have a responsibility to look after people such as Tony to the best we can and we remain committed to doing so."
Whilst the NHS responded saying: "We have worked closely with this patient and his family and the local commissioner's to ensure his complex care needs are met and will continue to work with this family and our partner organisations to support his ongoing care needs."
Pam and Roy shared their concern for the system and hope that the law can be changed to stop autistic people being detained under the Mental Health Act. Pam said: "No autistic person should be under the mental health act, nobody should be under section three because you can't cure autism. It's not a mental illness."
Tony will be released on the 31st October with Roy adding: "We want for him to be happy and then we're happy."