The Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) has launched a consultation to close the town’s dedicated mental health unit - the Millbrook Unit - and move services elsewhere.

On page 19 of this week's Macclesfield Express (March 7), an advert has appeared on behalf of the NHS consultation promoting the proposed 'REDESIGNING ADULT AND OLDER PEOPLE'S SPECIALIST MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES'.

Unfortunately due to unforeseen production issues the telephone number is incorrect, for further information please call the freephone number: 0808 169 1189 or email .

The Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) wants to close the town’s dedicated mental health unit - the Millbrook Unit - and move services elsewhere.

A 12 week consultation into the proposals - which would see either dementia or mental health inpatient services move to Chester - will give residents the opportunity to have their say, opened yesterday (March 6).

There will also be six public events organised for the public attend.

The next will take place on Wednesday, March 21, from 2.30pm until 4.30pm at Macclesfield Town Hall.

The CWP, together with neighbouring trusts, say the Millbrook Unit is no longer fit for purpose. They say their preferred option would be for dementia services to move to Lime Walk House on Victoria Road, and for acute mental health services to be delivered in Chester, with an ‘enhanced community support service’ in the town. But the proposals promoted thousands of objections, including Macclesfield MP David Rutley and councillors, who claim mental health provision should be kept in the town.

The Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) says it needs to make changes to its services to keep up with increasing demand and reduced budgets.

Under plans unveiled this week the 58-bed Millbrook Unit, which provides beds for people with dementia and adults with acute mental health problems is to close.

And while there are options to move some of the services to Lime Walk House, based on Victoria Road in Macclesfield, this is only big enough to provide beds for either adult mental health or dementia, which means the other service would be moved to Chester.


PLANS to close the Millbrook Unit will see services offered by the Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), South Cheshire CCG and Vale Royal CCG combined.

The three final options have now been outlined, which residents will be consulted on:

Option 1: Close the Millbrook Unit, provide inpatient care for dementia patients at Lime Walk House, on Victoria Road, and send all other adult mental health patients to a Bowmere Hospital in Chester

Option 2: Close the Millbrook Unit, provide inpatient care for adults acute mental health patients at Lime Walk House and send dementia patients to Bowmere Hospital in Chester.

Option 3: Do nothing. Although this formally remains an option, health bosses say it is not possible because Millbrook Unit is no longer fit for purpose.

Doctors say their preferred option is to keep inpatient dementia care in the town - and to move beds for patients with mental health issues to Chester.

They say that the majority of acute mental health care provision for adults would be provided through enhanced community support services.

Dr Ian Hulme, who is NHS Eastern Cheshire lead for Mental Health, said it’s too expensive to bring the Millbrook Unit’s current facilities up to standards required by
the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

He said: “The care given at Millbrook is very good but unfortunately the constrictions of the building - because of its old fashioned design - mean it cannot be brought up to modern standards. Unfortunately the building is not fit for purpose.”

He added that the majority of mental health services can be provided within the community but Dementia patients need inpatient care.

He said: “In Cheshire there is a much older population than the national average. When they get into crisis there is only one option and that’s hospital.

“What we know is that 50 per cent of people admitted for inpatient services [for acute mental health] don’t need to be in [the beds], but at the moment there’s nothing else we can do. Ninety-five pc of all mental health care is in the community.”

Dr Hulme added that there has also been a 35pc increase in demand for mental health care since 2010.

He said: “Unfortunately that increase in demand hasn’t been met. There is a lack of capacity in crisis care and something must be done.”

Dr Anushta Sivananthan, consultant psychiatrist and medical director at CWP, said the reorganised service would enable them to enhance community and home treatment teams for adults in Macclesfield, with the potential for six local short stay beds, a crisis cafe and more mental health nurses in the community.

She said: “There are approximately 5,000 people in the community [requiring secondary mental health support] at any one time and with a wide range of issues. Part of our job is making sure that we that we support them effectively to make sure they don’t get into crisis. With more mental health professionals in place it would mean people are more able to have more choice.”

She added: “What is important is that we really want people engaged in this decision. We want people to work with us to come up with the right decision.”