VICTORY AGAINST DECISION TO CUT MANCHESTER SPECIALIST MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
A High Court legal challenge by a service user represented by DPG has forced Manchester Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust and the three Manchester Clinical Commissioning Groups to withdraw their decisions to cut seven specialist mental health services in the area.
The services, which support almost 500 people with complex mental health needs, were due to close by the end of August 2016 following a consultation earlier this year. Our client challenged the decision on the basis that the consultation and decision-making process failed to take into account information that could have allowed the services to stay open, including the impact on marginalised groups in accordance with the public sector equality duty.
The responses to the consultation were overwhelmingly in favour of keeping open the services, which offered supported creative, horticultural and employment activities as well as specialist psychological services for those with chronic fatigue conditions, psychosexual problems and severe treatment-resistant mood disorders.
The case raised important issues about the parity of esteem between mental and physical health services, the long-standing under funding of mental health services by the NHS, and the need to consider socio-economic inequality in access to and outcomes achieved by health services.