A mental health trust in Manchester has announced several service closures due to ‘year on year reductions’ to its budget.
- Several “non-core” services will be axed at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust
- CCGs argue a consultation is not required as services have not been “decommissioned”
- Trust declared itself unviable as an independent organisation
- Decision follows “year on year reductions” to budget
In a paper presented to the city council’s health scrutiny committee yesterday, Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust outlined a number of “services for retraction”, after its “conventional” efficiency savings had been exhausted.
Earlier this year, the trust declared it was “no longer viable” as an independent organisation, and the NHS Trust Development Authority is looking at options for a possible merger. There are three mental health trusts in Greater Manchester, each with a turnover of less than £300m.
The committee papers said the service closures would save £1.5m, but would still leave the trust £2.3m short of its cost improvement target of £6.9m for 2015-16.
The “non-core” services to be withdrawn from March next year will affect 664 people, including those on a waiting list, and 29 staff.
The services include:
- creative wellbeing activities such as ceramics, photography, textiles, and woodworking;
- a placement and support service to help people into work;
- a chronic fatigue and pain service;
- a psychosexual service;
- support for specialist affective disorders; and
- a perinatal liaison nurse.
Union representatives and campaigners attended the committee meeting and were heavily critical of the decision to close the services without a public consultation.
Craig Harris, chief nurse for the Manchester clinical commissioning groups, told the committee the services had not been “decommissioned”, so a consultation was not a legal requirement.
However, he conceded this was a “technicality”, as the trust operates under a block contract and the savings were needed to reduce the trust’s projected deficit of £6.1m.
The provider is set to receive £104m under its contracts this year, following several real terms cuts to its budget. It received £106m in 2012-13, £105m in 2013-14 and £106m in 2014-15.
Michele Moran, the trust’s chief executive, told the committee: “This was a really difficult decision for the organisation to make and we didn’t make it lightly.
“There has been year on year reductions in the budget that we get, called a deflator, which actually has been taken off the organisation, [along with] rising demand and acuity.
“We have a duty to actually provide services to the frontline patients who are in crisis and really ill. So that’s why we’ve had look at other services across the board.”
The trust’s latest board papers said “a large proportion” of this year’s deficit related to staff redundancies as a result of service changes by Manchester City Council. Last year, about 12 per cent of the trust’s income was received from the council, with about 72 per cent from the CCGs.
At the request of the committee, Mrs Moran said she would meet with the CCGs to discuss whether a public consultation on the changes could be delivered.
In 2013, an independent review of Manchester’s mental health services recommended that the trust should be merged with another organisation, but this option was discounted.
However, earlier this year the trust began discussions with the TDA, which is now overseeing a new options appraisal.
Council papers, meeting and board papers
October 29, 2015