What happened to Alison?

When she was admitted to an NHS Hospital in Carlisle in 1987, Alison was a troubled mentally ill and vulnerable young woman who found herself in a Victorian Style Asylum when Mental Health was a taboo. She was miles from home, scared, alone and confused. We did not know it but a 35yr old trainee nurse called Robert Scott-Buccleuch was taking a sexual interest in Alison. He had life experience and was nearly old enough to be her father. If older men in positions of trust develop relationships with vulnerable mentally ill young women today, we call it grooming. Having sex with vulnerable mental health patients is not only unlawful, it is an abuse of trust that flies in the face of all available guidance. Records show Scott-Buccleuch was told what he was doing was inappropriate because Alison was so unwell, but he continued regardless.

No civilised person thinks it is “ok” for trainee Mental Health Nurses in NHS Hospitals to have sex with vulnerable patients they are supposed to be caring for. For patients to be subjected to their nurse’s desires is the stuff of nightmares; like fish in a barrel at the mercy of the unscrupulous. I often wonder where managers & staff were, while a 35yr old male member of staff had sex on hospital premises with a young patient? It has emerged some staff and managers knew what was going on, they ignored a duty of care to protect Alison.

Alison was in the “care” of the NHS as an inpatient and outpatient at Garlands for over a year. On the 12th August 1988, unknown to us, as a result of the illegal sex acts, Alison had an abortion in Carlisle HospitalScott-Buccleuch knew about the pregnancy and termination and it seems he hid this information from people, including his manager, coworkers and the Psychiatrist treating Alison. He brushed the consequences of his actions under the carpet and then became distant to Alison. We recently found out he even accompanied Alison to some of her appointments so he would know what was being talked about. Distraught, depressed and now cast adrift, Alison moved to Doncaster to be near Mum. We entrusted Alison to the care of the NHS because she needed expert help, but because of the selfish actions of one man and the willingness of others to look the other way, she emerged more damaged and confused. On Friday, December 13th, 1991, near the anniversary of the birthday of her aborted baby and after a long battle with depression, Alison committed suicide. She took off her coat, placed her handbag on the station platform and stepped in front a train at Rotherham Station. Alison had been used for the gratification of someone who was supposed to care for her and who should have been supervised. When things got complicated she was cast aside to fend for herself and deal with the emotional aftermath of what she had been put through.

We buried Alison on a dark grey and unforgiving Christmas Eve. We could not have an open casket at the funeral, the injuries to her face and body were so severe. When Alison stepped in front a train on a cold Friday in December, the trainee nurse who took advantage of her and the staff and managers who turned a blind eye, these people may as well have had their hands on her shoulders guiding her into the train’s path. There are reasons for the professional boundaries in healthcare and they should not be broken, the consequences can be disastrous and the impact on those left behind lasts a lifetime. Nobody has yet been held accountable for what happened to Alison. Fast forward to 2001, the first investigation.

CLICK HERE if you want to tell the CPS that someone should be held accountable…