Anger at clo­sure of men­tal health unit

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - BY ALEX SCAPENS

ANGER has been sparked af­ter it was con­firmed the Mill­brook Unit - which houses Mac­cles­field’s men­tal health ser­vices - will shut.

Health bosses rub­ber­stamped plans to shut the unit, at Mac­cles­field District Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, next year at a meet­ing on Thurs­day.

Ser­vices will re­main in the town as in­pa­tient beds for adult metal health pa­tients and de­men­tia pa­tients will both trans­fer to Lime Walk House.

The de­ci­sion fol­lows a con­sul­ta­tion and was con­sid­ered a last minute ‘pre­ferred op­tion’ that re­placed plans to move ser­vices to Ch­ester, which were fiercely op­posed.

But men­tal health pa­tients with the most com­plex needs will have to travel to Bowmere, Ch­ester, and op­po­nents have hit out at the de­ci­sion to close the Mill­brook Unit.

Co­lette Jack­son, who used to work at the unit, said: “Why do this when there is an in­crease in de­mand? Ser­vices are al­ready stretched.

“I used to work here on Adel­phi (Ward). We were al­ways full and busy. This is dread­ful and fright­ing for those in need. It is far from ideal for peo­ple with de­men­tia to be shar­ing ser­vices with peo­ple that are acutely un­well.

“The NHS will only end up pay­ing more for beds out of area. Those that make these de­ci­sions have ab­so­lutely no idea and no ex­pe­ri­ence of day to day chal­lenges. This is dev­as­tat­ing new for our com­mu­nity.”

The de­ci­sion is part of wider plans to change care for adult men­tal health pa­tients and de­men­tia pa­tients across east Cheshire - which also in­clude in­vest­ment into a 24-hour cri­sis sup­port ser­vice, com­mu­nity beds, ther­apy and home treat­ment.

It has been made by NHS Eastern Cheshire, South Cheshire and Vale Royal clin­i­cal com­mis­sion­ing groups (CCGs).

At the meet­ing Jacki Wilkes, lead of­fi­cer on the pro­ject, told com­mis­sion­ers that they had ‘a real op­por­tu­nity’ to de­liver much-needed change to men­tal health care and meet the needs of pa­tients.

She said: “We know that there is an in­creas­ing de­mand for spe­cial­ist men­tal health ser­vices.

“And we know also that, for the ma­jor­ity of pa­tients with spe­cial­ist needs, the ma­jor­ity of the care takes place in the com­mu­nity.

“We heard ex­ten­sively that users of the ser­vice feel there is a dis­tinct lack of choice around early in­ter­ven­tion and pre­ven­tion ser­vices - but very specif­i­cally around cri­sis sup­port.”

Pre­vi­ously the pre­ferred op­tion had been to keep de­men­tia ser­vices at Lime Walk House but move adult care to Bowmere.

This prompted a huge op­po­si­tion cam­paign in­volv­ing East Cheshire Men­tal Health Fo­rum, the Mac­cles­field Ex­press and MP David Rut­ley.

A new op­tion was put for­ward last week for 15 beds for de­men­tia pa­tients plus 26 for adult men­tal health pa­tients to all be pro­vided in Mac- cles­field.

It would re­quire an ad­di­tional £730,000 from NHS bud­gets - although the CCGs would still make a sav­ing of £500,000 over their cur­rent spend.

Com­mu­nity beds and im­prove­ments to cri­sis sup­port will be in place be­fore Mill­brook is closed, the CCGs have said.

Mr Rut­ley paid tribute to the cam­paign to keep men­tal health ser­vices in Mac­cles­field and said: “This an­nounce­ment is a pos­i­tive step for­ward and I am grate­ful to lo­cal health ser­vice lead­ers for lis­ten­ing to the clear strength of pub­lic opin­ion.”

A strong cam­paign lead by Michael Heale, in­set, to save Mac­cles­field’s men­tal health unit has failed, but ser­vices will re­main in the town as in­pa­tient beds for adult metal health pa­tients and de­men­tia pa­tients will both trans­fer to Lime Walk House

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