Alongside members of East Cheshire Mental Health Forum, local MP, David Rutley, has delivered a petition organised by the Forum and signed by over 2,800 local residents, to Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (ECCCG), calling on local health service leaders to commit to keeping vital adult inpatient mental health beds in Macclesfield.
ECCCG and Cheshire & Wirral Partnership, the local mental health service provider, consulted earlier this year on proposals to transfer the last remaining adult inpatient beds from Macclesfield's Millbrook Unit to an expanded facility at the Bowmere Hospital in Chester. This would mean that patients could face a round trip of over eighty miles to receive the treatment that they need. Along with other local MPs, Fiona Bruce and Esther McVey, as well as East Cheshire Mental Health Forum Chair, Michael Heale, David has consistently campaigned against these proposals and continues to urge local health service leaders to bring forward more acceptable options for local patients, and their families and carers.
David took the opportunity presented by the petition handover to reiterate these strong concerns, which are widely shared across local communities, to Dr Mike Clark, Deputy Clinical Chair, and Jerry Hawker, Chief Officer, at ECCCG, who accepted the petition. Dr Clarke and Mr Hawker emphasised to David that no decisions had yet been taken about the shape and scope of future services, and that ECCCG was taking time to consider all the feedback provided to the recent public consultation before next steps are decided. A decision-making business case will be prepared and brought to a meeting in public of the three local Clinical Commissioning Groups before the end of the year, when a decision will be made as to how to move forward.
The petition handover, which was also attended by Macclesfield Town Councillor, Cllr Alift Harewood, and East Cheshire Mental Health Forum member, Geoff Gray, took place ahead of ECCCG's Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Macclesfield Town Hall, which David also attended. The AGM was an important opportunity for local residents to ask questions of ECCCG about its clinical priorities; a number of attendees, including David, asked questions concerning the future of local mental health services.
Speaking after the petition handover, Michael Heale, Chair of East Cheshire Mental Health Forum, said, “We all hope for something positive to happen. I hope that the Clinical Commissioning Group is listening!”
David commented, "I would like to thank Michael Heale and all at East Cheshire Mental Health Forum for their tireless commitment to promoting this petition. As the strong response to the petition clearly demonstrates, there is widespread concern across local communities about the proposals to move the last remaining adult inpatient beds in East Cheshire to Chester. It is vital that local health service leaders reflect on this clear strength of public opinion and bring forward improved proposals that would enable local patients to receive treatment within their local community, and closer to their families and carers. Local residents can be assured that I will continue to campaign to this vital end.”