Ex-trust boss calls for fight for health unit

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS - KAREN BRIT­TON

THE EX-BOSS of the hos­pi­tal trust has urged the peo­ple of Mac­cles­field to fight for their men­tal health unit.

Peter Hayes, 77, was chair­man of Mac­cles­field Dis­trict Health Author­ity which be­came East Cheshire NHS Trust from 1989 to 2001. He was in charge when the town’s old men­tal health hos­pi­tal, Park­side, closed and the Mill­brook Unit was built in­stead.

He has hit out over plans by Cheshire and Wir­ral Part­ner­ship NHS Foun­da­tion Trust (CWP), which runs the Mill­brook Unit, to close it and move pa­tients to Bowmere Hos­pi­tal in Ch­ester or Springview in the Wir­ral, an 80 mile round trip away.

A cam­paign is un­der­way to save the unit and an on­line pe­ti­tion has nearly 1,800 sig­na­tures.

Peter, who lives in Sid­ding­ton and sold his fi­nan- cial ser­vices com­pany to become chair­man of the trust af­ter his two chil­dren were cared for at the hos­pi­tal, has urged peo­ple to sign the pe­ti­tion.

He said: “I’m shocked and dis­ap­pointed what’s hap­pen­ing to the Mill­brook Unit.

“It’s an out­rage. Mac­cles­field needs its own men­tal health unit. Peo­ple should not have to travel 40 miles. When Park­side was open it had 2,600 beds. New leg­is­la­tion came in and we had to close it but we needed an­other fa­cil­ity to look af­ter 50 in­pa­tients so we opened the Mill­brook unit. I fought hard to keep it as part of the hos­pi­tal and said it should be kept at all costs, so I was greatly dis­tressed that the run­ning of it was passed to CWP. Now it’s out on a limb and they are just cut­ting it off. I worked with MP Ni­cholas Win­ter­ton putting pres­sure on the health min­is­ter at the time to save the hos­pi­tal’s ma­ter­nity unit. I think the chair­man and those in charge at the hos­pi­tal with MP David Rut­ley need to fight to keep Mill­brook open and bring it back into Mac­cles­field’s con­trol. I urge the peo­ple of Mac­cles­field to sign the pe­ti­tion and sup­port their men­tal health unit to the hilt. If we lose an­other ser­vice soon we won’t have any­thing left.”

Peter dis­agrees that the unit is ‘no longer fit for pur­pose’, a rea­son given by CWP for clos­ing it.

The trust has drawn up op­tions for re­view­ing men­tal health ser­vices in Cheshire East and its pre­ferred op­tion is to close the Mill­brook Unit, fo­cus­ing in­stead on com­mu­nity care. A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the re­design of adult and older peo­ples’ men­tal health ser­vices is ex­pected to take place later this year.

A joint state­ment from Cheshire and Wir­ral Part­ner­ship NHS Foun­da­tion Trust (CWP) and NHS East­ern Cheshire Clin­i­cal Com­mis­sion­ing Group re­it­er­ated that no de­ci­sion has yet been made.

They said: “We would like to re­as­sure peo­ple that no de­ci­sion has been made re­gard­ing the fu­ture of the Mill­brook unit and that in­pa­tient men­tal health ser­vices will con­tinue to be avail­able to those who need them.

“We are cur­rently re­view­ing how we move for­ward in con­sult­ing on how to pro­vide the best men­tal health ser­vices we can within the al­lo­cated fund­ing. Our aim is al­ways to de­liver the best care for peo­ple who ac­cess our ser­vices and those who sup­port them.”

Go to doy­ou­mind.co.uk for more on the cam­paign and to sign the pe­ti­tion.

Peter Hayes is a past chair­man of Mac­cles­field Dis­trict Health Author­ity

The Mill­brook Unit

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