Pressing Jeremy Hunt on Bootham Park

Rachael Maskell pressing Jeremy Hunt for a full inquiry into Bootham Park Hospital at Questions to the Secretary of State in the House of Commons.


In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, pressed the Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, for a meeting to determine the future of Bootham Park Hospital and also for a public inquiry to investigate the circumstances which led to the hospital’s closure on 30th September after just 4 working days notice. 

Bootham was condemned by the Care Quality Commission after it carried out a spot check on safety following a previous report published at the start of the year.  The mandated maintenance work and safety changes had not been implemented and this was further complicated by the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s commissioning decision to transfer the service from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust to Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust.  Before the transfer could go ahead the CQC had the responsibility to vouch for the safety of the service.  They were unable to do this due to the building and service risks and so Bootham was closed.  This resulted in some patients being transferred to places as far away as Middlesborough.

Rachael Maskell recently chaired the second of two meetings about Bootham Hospital and over 100 people attended.  At the meeting representatives from the Care Quality Commission, the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group and the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust were on hand to answer questions put forward by members of the public.  The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, was invited to the meeting but he replied to say that he could not attend.

Rachael Maskell has now taken this matter up with the Minister in a Parliamentary Question which she put him earlier today.  This is shown below together with the response.

Rachael Maskell (York Central) (Lab/Co-op):

Bootham Park mental health hospital and York’s place of safety shut with four working days’ notice, so York no longer has a seven-day service, nor even a one-day service in our hospital. That would have been totally avoidable if one NHS body had overarching responsibility for patient safety. Will the Secretary of State agree to meet me and to have an independent inquiry so that mental health patients are not put at serious risk again and we can have a full seven-day service before 2020?

Mr Hunt:

Obviously, I am very concerned to hear what the hon. Lady says. I know that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State has been looking at this issue and is very willing to talk to her about it. Alternative provision has been made, but she is right to make sure that her constituents have access to urgent and emergency care seven days a week.

Afterwards, Rachael Maskell MP said:
“I have been campaigning tirelessly on behalf of constituents who are former patients of Bootham and their families and also on behalf of  the people who care about mental health services in York.  I have been raising this matter since Bootham closed its doors and I do not intend to let it drop.

“I took the opportunity to request a meeting with the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in a Parliamentary Question which I asked today. I want to ensure the concerns of mental health patients, their families and carers, are not forgotten. They need to be a priority. No-one seems willing to accept responsibility for what went wrong at Bootham and too many organisations are involved. There is a need for a public inquiry to set out what went wrong and to develop longer term solutions to ensure that the patients affected by Bootham’s closure are properly looked after. We should also ensure this situation is not replicated elsewhere in the country. This situation at Bootham has arisen as a result of the complexity of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 where conflicting interests and politicisation of the system has caused chaos and confusion. This is the Government’s doing and I want to discuss the matter with the Secretary of State at the earliest opportunity.”

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