Rachael Maskell MP has welcomed Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust’s decision to increase the number of beds planned for its new mental health facility. In her response to the consultation on the new hospital, Ms Maskell raised serious concern that 60 beds would not meet the need of the city, and could result in people in crisis being sent out of the area. The decision to increase the number of beds by 20% on the original plans means that the people’s concerns have been heard and responded to in the consultation.
Two years ago, Rachael Maskell, used her Maiden Speech to make the case for a world class mental health service for York, and since then has been vociferous in raising concerns about the mental health services in York, not least when Bootham Park Hospital closed in 2015, and taking all these concerns to Parliament and direct to Ministers. She is pleased to see that progress is now being made to establish a new hospital. The Trust has extensively engaged with service users to ensure the new facility embraces the right environment for those who will use the service. Clinicians have also had a major input into the plans and Ms Maskell wants this process to continue over the next 2½ years as the development takes place to ensure all the detail is right.
In the consultation Ms. Maskell made the case that the mental health facility should have been co-located near York District Hospital as there is a strong correlation between poor mental and physical health. She made the case that Bootham Park was the ideal location, not least because of its accessibility. She believed that the Haxby Road site was the only viable option for the hospital, and acknowledges that the proposed location offers greater flexibility to the building design, but will lose the advantage of being on a York health ‘campus’.
In response to the announcement of the new hospital Rachael Maskell MP says:
“Clearly it is welcome that by 2019 York will have a purpose built and specially designed mental health facility to meet the needs of our city. In particular the increase in the number of beds, from the consultation exercise, has shown that the Trust has listened to the responses they received.
“It is vital that Tees, Esk and Wear Valley are able to establish a world-leading centre for mental health in York again through not only building the best facility to aid people’s rehabilitation and recovery from a period of illness, but also have the resources to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the whole community.
“We all know that York’s mental health service needs a lot more investment in the community, in early intervention and therapeutic services, and I will continue to make the case for this. Residents continue to raise serious concerns with me about access to services, waiting lists and on-going support for young people and adults.”
Rachael Maskell, in commenting on the future of the Bootham Park Hospital site, has highlighted her concern that the hospital and grounds could be simply sold off to developers. The property is now managed by NHS Property Services Limited, and under the recently published Naylor recommendation, would be sold to the highest bidder. The hospital and grounds were given, by generous donation, to the City of York in the eighteen century. It is now vital that the public interest in the site is placed above all considerations.