HOW JUST ONE PATIENT COST YOU
NO case better illustrates the poignancy of this issue – and the sums spent– than that of Tony Hickmott. He has been locked up for almost 18 years at Cedar House, a 40-bed secure unit near Canterbury owned by Huntercombe, despite his mother Pam saying he never harmed anyone when living at home.
Pam says she was told in 2003 it was costing £600,000 a year to keep her son in conditions she describes as ‘worse than a prison’. Since then, fees are likely to have risen. But even if they had stayed the same, this one case has cost taxpayers more than £10 million. ‘He could have been in the best hotel for this money,’ says Pam. ‘He’s only got autism but he’s been left so damaged by this.’
A recent inspection found safety and services at Cedar House needed improvement. Huntercombe says the typical length of stay there is six to 12 months and fees are agreed with the NHS.
‘SO DAMAGED’: Tony Hickmott with his mother Pam