Mental health service in Manchester plunged into crisis as NHS trust axed and vital services cut

Mental health service in Manchester plunged into crisis as NHS trust axed and vital services cut

Wednesday 28 Th October, 2015

By: Jennifer Williams Political, Local government, Trade Unions

Services for people with sexual problems and chronic fatigue among those scrapped

model mental health

Manchester’s mental health trust is to be axed as it faces a catastrophic £7m funding black hole.

A new round of £1.5m worth of cuts will hit more than 650 patients, sparking a warning that people could be driven to suicide.

Manchester Health and Social Care Trust’s finances are now so bad that the trust is to be abolished. NHS bosses will decide in the coming days what to replace it with.

Support for people with chronic fatigue, affective disorders and sexual problems will all go in the latest cuts. Community therapy through gardening and carpentry, which many patients say they rely on to stay off medication, is also being axed.

The trust has had to make £7m worth of cuts. It says it has already made £3m in savings, but will now have to find another £4m, including the latest cuts.

It blames a range of factors including £2m in redundancy costs due to council cuts, high spending on private beds due to shortages in NHS spaces, and cuts to NHS funding.

A report going before councillors on Thursday says the proposals ‘have not been taken lightly’.

Alan Hartman, 67, from Crumpsall, is schizo-affective and said patients were ‘extremely frightened’, adding the move would lead to suicides.

“I don’t want to be locked up again,” he added.

Paul Reed, of Manchester Users Network, which represents mental health patients, said: “I’ve never known a response like it from patients and parents of patients, who say these services are their lifeline. To lose this will mean they end up in hospital. It’s appalling.”

Around one in four Mancunians suffer from some kind of mental illness – with the city facing some of the longest waiting times in the country.

The trust has suffered bad headlines over its finances and care for years. Last month the health watchdog raised patient safety concerns, while in December it was named one of five trusts most likely to be putting people at risk.

It is unclear what will happen after it is wound up, but it is likely to be merged with a neighbouring trust.

Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell has written to the city’s clinical commissioners and said she would raise the crisis in parliament,

She added: “These cuts to early intervention mental health services are extremely concerning and will likely prove to be a false economy in the long run.”

‘I don’t want to be locked up again… I’ve seen so many people commit suicide’

A mental health patient has described his terror at planned cuts to services – warning it could ultimately drive vulnerable people to suicide.

Alan Hartman, 67, said he was frightened he would be ‘locked up’ in hospital after Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust outlined plans to axe a wave of therapy-based services.

Such care is based around practical skills such as gardening and woodwork and helps people socialise while being overseen by professionals.

Alan said that without it patients feared they would simply be ‘doped up’ instead.

Alan, from Crumpsall, is schizo-affective and sometimes hears voices. He currently lives independently in his own flat, but relies on therapeutic services – many of which have already been axed.

“I used to go to art therapy years ago and all that’s been cut,” he said.

alan-hartman-cropAlan Hartman, who uses Manchester mental health services

“I’ve lost my back-up worker, so if my care coordinator is off sick I’m left to my own devices.

“I’m scared that I will be going back into hospital. I don’t want to be locked up again.

“I don’t want to be doped up on medication. I’m afraid. I’ve seen so many people commit suicide with overdoses.”

Of those being cut back, he said the ‘green wellbeing’ service – which uses horticulture to help patients – is the one he uses directly.

“I can speak up for myself, but there are those who can’t speak up for themselves.

“If that shuts they’ll have nowhere to go. But it’s a domino effect. I’m seeing less of the care coordinator – and now they’ll have even less time for me.

“We are very frightened that the replacement of those services will be giving more drugs and medication.

“There will be more people getting sick and more people committing suicide. Suicides are already going up. It’s very, very dangerous.”

Paul Reed, of the Manchester Users Network, said one reason occupational-type therapies are so important is that patients are continuously seen by staff while there.

He said he had never had such a response from patients over any issue.

Referring to Karen Reissmann, the MHSC nurse who was sacked four years ago afterspeaking out against cuts within the trust, he said: “She has been proved right.

“If this is approved, it is going to be terrible for people.”

‘It’s been a difficult decision’ – but now we need to find a long-term solution

A spokesman for Manchester Health and Social Care Trust said it had already made a range of savings to relieve financial pressures.

“However, it has not been possible to achieve the expected level of savings without affecting some service areas in the form of service retractions,” he said.

“The proposals put forward are so that we can make best use of the resources available to us and to continue to provide high quality services for those people who are most in need and most at risk.

“Most service users affected by the changes will remain in the system as they are already receiving care from another part of our service. Through any implementation, mitigating actions will be taken wherever possible to minimise the impact upon all service users affected through these proposals.”

It had been a ‘difficult decision’, he added.

A spokesman for the three Manchester clinical commission groups said they were working with the trust and NHS chiefs ‘to identify a longer term plan which will provide a more resilient service in the future’. An extra £7m had been invested in the last two years, it added.


MORE: Manchester health trust rapped by watchdogs

MORE: Charity warning over surge in demand for mental health services

MORE: NHS is dyings, says letter signed by top Manchester doctors


Credit: Jennifer Williams Political, Local government, Trade Unions Manchester Evening News

2 Responses to "Mental health service in Manchester plunged into crisis as NHS trust axed and vital services cut"

  1. Paul Reed   8th November 2015 at 8:13 AM

    Many thanks for your concerned comments P.P. Service User’s:

    Manchester mental health services users, have had their services hammered year in year on. Manchester Coun.Paul Andrews said; “we are down to the marrow when it comes to cuts in mental health”. If they did this to any other health service there would be out cry from Manchester MP’s and Councillors, but little comment passes their lips when it comes to taking our services away. Soon we will be locked in our homes being drugged up twice a day and most probably tagged. Yes they are de-medicalizing mental health and criminalising us for our illness.

    Thanks P.P Services User’s keep coming back to our website and giving your fellow services user’s your support and comments (Comment is after all free and helps others feel they belong). It make a big difference when we receive comments from Service Use. If you can come to our meetings and support us when we demonstrate against services being cut that would be really helpful to us all We tend to have meeting at the hospital every two weeks on Wednesday afternoon at 1:30pm.

    MUN is a member of NSUN (National Service Users Network & affiliated to the Manchester Trade Council our aims are to get better treatment for all who suffer. We all have mental health, at times some have good mental health and at other times some suffer poor mental health. It’s as simple as that). Our Twitter account is @MUNReporter & @munreporterscoo and we publish all events on here.Please keep coming back and giving your comments and your support others reading your comments feel connected and that can only help them to feel cared for.

    MUN ‘Keeping the service User in mind’

    Many thanks,

    Paul Reed,

  2. P.p.Service Users   6th November 2015 at 7:33 PM

    P.p.Service Users Reply

    November 6, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Manchester Users Network
    Blog posted: 6/11/2015


    We, the service users have written to Alison Marriott Clinical Director asking WHY Day Care Services for a minority Group of people in our Community. Who suffer with YOUNGER ONSET DEMENTIA.
    Ever since the Service was set up – There has been a Day-care element with the service as there was a need in Manchester for a specialized service with day-care to support the Younger person and there carer.
    Since the Trust was aware of the so called re-design of later-life services and proposed cuts and Public consultation. Carers and service users have noticed that many people are being discharged, Pictures/paintings which were done by individuals were taken down and put in a skip along with filing cabinets and other equipment as well as the Star Wards which was issued to the trust for there achievement with Younger People with Dementia.
    later-life services: Later life that’s a laugh why are younger people placed in later life services all later life intervention are modelled on older age services and those who become unwell with a mental illness can be supported with recovery and maintain people independence in the community.
    Dementia : You do not recover!
    Why have Young People been placed with Later Life?: Is it because no one knows to which department they need to be put in.
    Then when you have been discharged you will have to find your own Peer two Peer support Group in your area in the Community….. and if you need a referral not to contact them, to go to your G.P and ask for an referral for assessment?
    Later-Life proposed re-design: Its already been put in place and any consultation is a P.R. exercise
    Talk about a cold hearted Management and Manchester boasts to be a Friendly City for Dementia.
    As Christmas is approaching here a quote From A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens “If they would rather die, . . . they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”
    That what a quote from one service user – The quote fitted how the service users felt… And shock that the service would change and individuals will be left to ISOLATION.
    The ONLY One Centre for day-care and support for the whole of Manchester will be gone. P.p. Service Users


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