NHS Improvement (NHSI) has selected the provider that will acquire the struggling Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust (MMHSCT), which had announced as far back as 2014 that its finances were unsustainable and considered cutting a range of services last year in order to save £1.5m.
Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS FT will take responsibility for the financially beleaguered mental health trust’s services from 1 January. There will be no change as to how the organisation delivers its services to people in Manchester during this immediate next phase of the acquisition, when an agreement about joining together will be drawn up between the two organisations, overseen by NHS Improvement.
According to MMHSCT’s chief executive, Michele Moran, the takeover – which was the only solution found to keep the trust from folding – will lead to be a more integrated, joined-up mental health service in line with the FYFV and the city’s health and social care devolution plans.
But Moran herself has recently been criticised as it emerged she will be leaving MMHSCT to head up an even bigger trust, despite having presided over the mental health trust’s financial deterioration and eventual takeover by the neighbouring FT.
The outgoing boss, who will join Humber NHS FT as its interim chief executive from 1 September, was described by MMHSCT’s chair as an “excellent, high performing CEO” that achieved a “successful sustainable future for staff and patients”.
But local MPs highly disagreed with this positioning. Former shadow education secretary and MP for Manchester Central, Lucy Powell, told the M.E.N that the appointment “smacks of the NHS revolving door syndrome”.
“I think the public would, rightly, ask whether someone who has just overseen such difficulty should just walk straight into another highly paid job,” she told the paper.
The priority over the coming weeks and months with respect to the merger will be to “better understand” the MMHSCT and engage with its staff, service users and carers, according to Bev Humphrey, chief executive of foundation trust. Whilst this happens, there will be no change to current service provision.
In February, the mental health trust proposed nine services that could be stopped in order to find £1.5m in savings, despite having racked up a deficit black hole of £7m. Whilst these haven’t yet been closed in practice, some may still face the axe as part of a consultation on proposals for the future of Manchester’s mental health services, which is expected over the next few weeks.