The closure of a mental health hospital in York has led to the local MP describing the health service as “broken”.
York’s Bootham Park Hospital recently closed its doors permanently, following a decision by the Care Quality Commission.
According to the commission, the systems in place at the institution were insufficient to support patient safety.
Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, has been extremely critical of the decision and situation, and has asked questions of the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt regarding the Yorkshire hospital.
The Care Quality Commission particularly condemned the performance of the trust with regard to safety.
An inspection took place to follow up on a report earlier this year, and the commission found that mandated maintenance work and other safety changes had not been carried out as agreed.
In addition, there were issues related to ownership and responsibility which further complicated what was already a disturbing picture for the hospital.
The Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group’s commissioning responsibility for Bootham Park Hospital resulted in the transfer of the service from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust to Tees, Esk and Wear NHS Trust.
With the new establishment unable to carry out the requisite building and service risks, the commission felt that it had no choice other than to shut Bootham Park Hospital.
This unfortunately led to existing patients being dispersed, with some having to be sent away as far as Middlesbrough.
To put this into perspective, Middlesbrough is approximately 50 miles from York.
Commenting on the issue, the aforementioned Maskell stated that she was extremely perturbed by the situation.
“My first concern has been for the patients, families and carers to ensure that their needs are catered for. I have also advocated for staff who are also affected by this crisis. However, due to my detailed understanding of the NHS, and from discussions with all major stakeholder organisations involved in this crisis, it has become evident that huge risk has been created as a result of the complexity of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 where conflicting interests and politicisation of the system has manufactured this situation,” Maskell stated.
The Labour MP also underlined her intention to seek a direct response from the government.
“I have now put calls into the minister for mental health Alistair Burt and health secretary Jeremy Hunt to call for an independent inquiry into Bootham Park to ensure that patient safety can never be put at risk again, and to support an emergency plan to secure the long term health plan for those with mental health challenges in York,” Maskell asserted.
The complexity of the reorganised NHS, where commissioners, providers, regulators and infrastructure bodies, has meant that nine months have passed before essential suicide prevention work at the 18th century hospital could be carried out.
It is clear that the situation led to a significant risk to patient safety, with highly vulnerable individuals having to suffer the ignominy of being moved to new clinical teams mid-course through their rehabilitation.