Manchester MP to press Health Minister after angry meeting opposing the closure of Health Unit
Tony Lloyd MP for Central Manchester was joined by nurses, patients, and health service campaigners at a 40 strong meeting in Manchester last week hosted by two local health union branches.
Proposals by the Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust to close Edale House, an inpatient purpose built facility, located at Manchester Royal Infirmary, were slammed.
Tony Lloyd outlined his main concerns, which are shared by mental health nurses and many of the patients who have been treated at the facility.
Although the Mental Health Trust does have financial debts their plan to close Edale House would merely pass the debts on to the Central Manchester Trust. “There may be a financial transfer of debt, but no saving to the NHS economy,’ explained the MP. Shuffling debt is not a real saving to our NHS.
Edale House is only 5 years old and was built specifically for inpatient treatment. Under the Trust proposals patients would be shipped out to wards in North Manchester’s Park Hospital or to Wythenshawe Hospital. ‘Moving from a newer building with single rooms and en-suite to hospital dormitories will not result in an improvement in care’ for patients with critical mental health problems, he said. ‘It would be wrong to close the purpose built facility, Edale House.’
Many patients are alarmed at the closure plan. Visits from family and friends are critical for patients who are recovering from mental health problems. If Edale House becomes unavailable people living in central Manchester are likely to find visiting relatives and friends in North Manchester General or Wythenshawe very difficult. Students who need treatment would be deprived of recovery in surroundings and facilities at the Universities located in central Manchester.
‘My 76 year old mother traveled to Park House in North Manchester from Levenshulme every single day for 3 months to visit me,’ explained one former patient. ‘It took her over two hours each way having to go first to Piccadilly station and then to walk to the bus stop for the bus to North Manchester General.’ Another patient explained how when being treated in North Manchester time out to assist recovery and rehabilitation ‘from the ward was useless as everyone I know lives in central Manchester and I could not get their and back in the few hours I had away from the ward.’ The Trust have no proposals to assist with transport for family or visitors.
Assurances made by the Trust to the local MP that he would be fully informed before any announcements are made over the closure plans have been broken. ‘I have either been mislead or I have been lied to by the Trust, and I have not received answers to questions I have put to the Strategic Health Authority,’ said a clearly angered Mr Lloyd.
Tony Lloyd is to meet the Minister of State for Health to press him over these concerns.
The two trades union branches that hosted the meeting are UNISON Manchester Community & Mental Health Branch and UNISON Central Manchester Healthcare Branch.