The handwritten song above (typed transcript below) is by Tianze Ni, 17. For the last six months Tianze has lived in a hospital unit in Middlesborough, 200 miles away from his family in Fife, Scotland.
Tianze is desperate to be home. His parents are desperate to have him back. The local council that has placed him in the unit says there is nowhere appropriate for his needs nearby.
I mentioned Tianze’s case in a piece for the Guardian recently on the 2,600 people with learning disabilities stuck in specialist institutions miles from home (you can read more in this post too).
A report commissioned by NHS England attempts to find solutions to the problem. In addition there is a growing grassroots campaign for new legislation – the disabled people (community inclusion) bill 2015, also known as the LB bill) to prevent people from being sent to these places in the first place.
Tianze’s mother, Nina, describes the “inhuman treatment” of keeping Tianze away from home. “We are suffering day and night,” she says.
She is not alone. Leo Andrade-Martinez, for example, whose son Stephen, is also miles from home in a similar unit: “No one should suffer like this”.
The stark words of families and of people with learning disabilities are more powerful than anything I can write here.
Here are Tianze’s words; they need to be read and shared widely:
Miss home, back home, by Tianze Ni
I miss home,
I dream home,
I miss mum,
I miss Dad,
My home is in Scotland…..
I miss home
I dream home.
I miss home food
I miss home family together,
I count days to back home …..
* See also Tianze’s petition on Change.org, and Stephen’s.
* See here for information on the “LB Bill“, a draft private members bill that aims to boost the rights of people with learning disabilities so health or social care authorities will find it harder to transfer people to assessment and treatment units miles from home.