Closing Millbrook could see a return to the days of ‘the asylum’, according to former boss NHS trust boss.
Peter Hayes, 79, was chairman of East Cheshire NHS Trust until he retired in 2000.
A supporter of Millbrook and one of the architects of its creation, he says that moving mental health care to Chester will have a detrimental impact on Macclesfield.
Mr Hayes said: “If one of my family members was mentally ill I would want to visit them. I would want them to see that they are still loved and that their family is still with them and tell them about what was going on with their family.
“Because of the distance, 40 miles each way, there will be a lot of people who will find it very difficult to carry out an 80 mile round trip, especially if they want to see their relative in Chester hospital. It is going to be very detrimental for them as well because they won’t be able to see their loved one as often.
“A lot of the patients at Parkside had been there since their teenage years and couldn’t tell you where they were from.
“They hadn’t seen relatives for many years because people eventually stop going to visit. It harks back to what we had at Parkside, which was a mental health asylum, that was the word.
“Moving people 40 miles away from their home town smacks a bit of the old style asylums.”
Efforts to cancel the public consultations on the unit’s closure, which are set to start in February, were blocked by the council’s health scrutiny committee.
But according to the former chair of the trust, it is not just patient care that will be affected by the closure.
My Hayes says that a loss of any speciality to a general hospital will be detrimental to both staff and patients, leading to less expertise on wards.
He said: “The worst thing is that if you are a doctor specialising in one thing and somebody comes in needing desperate help for something hat you haven’t thought about for 15 years and the nearest person is 20 miles away.
“During my time there, a small conversation between consultants with different expertise over lunch, about a case, could be very important for a particular patient. I have seen that hundreds of times.”
In a joint statement, the NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG, NHS South Cheshire CCG, NHS Vale Royal CCG and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “While Millbrook is a stand-alone facility managed by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on the Macclesfield District General Hospital site, we will continue to work with hospital staff to ensure there are no unintended consequences as a result of the proposed redesign of adult and older people’s mental health services.”