Macclesfield MP, David Rutley, met recently with local resident, Mrs Moira Harris, to learn more about her family's experiences of local mental health services and her strong concerns about proposals to transfer the last remaining adult inpatient mental health beds from Macclesfield to Chester.
Mrs Harris' son was diagnosed with severe mental health challenges thirty years ago. Although there have been periods of calm and good health where her son has lived semi-independently in supported housing, there have also been repeated, serious mental health crises which have required him to receive inpatient treatment at the well-respected Millbrook Unit, which is a short drive from her home just outside of Macclesfield, where her son is currently recovering after being sectioned at the end of last year.
At their meeting, Mrs Harris highlighted her strong concerns, which are shared by David, about the roughly eighty-mile, three hour round trip that would be required to visit her son when he needs inpatient care, should the proposals go ahead. These concerns were brought home to her when her son stopped taking his medication, and was sectioned in December and taken to Clatterbridge Hospital on the Wirral, where he stayed for four months. Mrs Harris explained how this period had been very difficult for her son and her family. The distances and travel times involved meant that they could not see as much of each other as they would have wanted, and that her son felt far away from home and loved ones at a difficult time.
Speaking after his meeting, David said, "I was concerned to learn of Mrs Harris' son's experiences, which highlight the serious implications for often vulnerable adult mental health patients, and their families and carers, of the proposed removal of inpatient beds from Macclesfield to Chester. Since these proposals were announced, I have heard similar concerns raised by other residents who also have direct experience of how vital local mental health services make a real difference when available close to home. I shall continue to work with East Cheshire Mental Health Forum, our local mental health patient and user advocacy group, as well as local MPs Fiona Bruce and Esther McVey, to keep adult mental health beds in Macclesfield."