What happened to Alison?

Alison was in the “care” of the NHS in Carlisle as an inpatient and outpatient for over a year. Unknown to us she was being groomed and taken advantage of by an older male nurse called Robert Scott-Buccleuch. As a result of this Alison endured a crisis pregnancy and on the 12th of August 1988, she had a hastily arranged abortion in Carlisle Hospital. Dr. T M Singh, the Consultant Psychiatrist treating Alison, signed off the abortion to enable Scott-Buccleuch to cover up what he had done.

Subjected to an abortion, mentally ill, and seriously conflicted, Alison left Carlisle to be with Mum in Doncaster. We had entrusted her to the NHS because she needed help, but because of the selfish acts of one man and the willingness of others to look the other way, she emerged from the hospital in Carlisle more damaged and confused.

On Friday, December 13th, 1991, near the anniversary of what would have been the birthday of her aborted baby, a known trigger point for people with pre-existing mental illness, Alison took her own life. She removed her coat, placed her handbag on the station platform, and stepped in front of a train at Rotherham Station. Alison had been used to gratify the sexual desires of a thoughtless man who had used her and cast her aside when things became complicated. She was fragile and ill-equipped to deal with the emotional aftermath of what she had been put through.

When she was admitted to an NHS Hospital in Carlisle in 1987, Alison was 21. She was a deeply troubled mentally ill young woman who found herself in a Victorian Style Asylum when Mental Health was taboo. Miles from home, scared, alone, confused, and vulnerable, she was singled out and groomed by a 35yr old nurse called Robert Scott-Buccleuch who abused his position of trust. Having sex with mental health patients on hospital premises is not only unlawful it is also an abuse of trust that flies in the face of all available guidance. Records show that Scott-Buccleuch was told what he was doing was inappropriate because Alison was so unwell, but he continued regardless.

No civilised person can think it is ok for the nurses in NHS Hospitals to have sex with the patients they are supposed to be caring for. For vulnerable patients to be the subject of 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 male member of staff was having sex on hospital premises with a young patient? It has emerged some staff and managers knew what was going on. They ignored their duty of care to protect Alison.

We buried Alison on a bitter, dark, and unforgiving Christmas Eve. We could not see her body before the funeral, the injuries to her were so severe. When Alison stepped in front of that train, the nurse who took advantage of her, the staff, and the managers who turned a blind eye, all had their hands on her shoulders guiding her into its path. There are reasons for the professional boundaries that exist in healthcare. The consequences of crossing them can be disastrous and the impact on those left behind lasts a lifetime. Nobody has yet been held accountable for what happened to Alison.

So what happened next?