My name is Tom Bell. This website tells the story of my sister Alison, a young woman who was taken advantage of by an older male nurse when she was a vulnerable mental health patient of the NHS. Alison took her own life soon after what happened. This is a story of the abuse of trust and the hiding of wrongdoing by the Public Services we pay for, services in which we place our trust and to whom we entrust the care of those we love.
This is a picture of our family at my christening in 1968, my sister Alison is the fidgeting redhead holding her Dad’s hand and by all account’s she was well on her way to the terrible twos. My mother and father split up when I was three, Alison was five and Sarah was seven.
My sister Alison was caring and intelligent, the kind of person who didn’t seem to have to try hard to get good grades. She read music and drove us to distraction trying to play the violin. She was a gentle soul who was loyal to her friends. In the 1980’s, as a young woman in her teens, like one in four other people in the UK each year, Alison experienced Mental Health problems. Her episodes became increasingly severe and in 1987 she was sectioned and admitted to a Mental Health hospital in Carlisle called the Garlands.
Alison was a shy vulnerable and increasingly disturbed young woman. We entrusted her to the NHS in Cumbria thinking she would get the professional help she needed. If we knew then what we know now, we would have kept Alison away from that place at any cost. So what happened to Alison?