Hundreds expected on protest march marking one year since Bootham Hospital closure

A nice place to retire to…
28 Sep 2016 @ 7.00 pm
| Health

It’s a year since Bootham Park Hospital was shut with only five days’ notice, sending shockwaves among its users.

York Minster

Fri Sept 30 @ 6pm

More details

To mark the first anniversary on Friday (September 30), hundreds of people are expected to join a march calling for York’s only psychiatric hospital to be reopened.

Mental Health Action Group York (MHAY) are organising the event. It will start with a sunset vigil at York Minster at 6pm in support of all those affected by the sudden closure, before a walk back to the hospital.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell is the guest speaker, while music will be provided by the York Rock Choir.

Bootham Park Hospital, which has been providing mental health care for 200 years, was closed on September 30 2015 after a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection found it unfit for purpose and that patients were at “significant risk of harm”.

Around 200 people are expected to take part in the march.

New hospital

The march comes shortly after the health authorities revealed their preferred locations for a new mental health hospital in York.

A 12-week consultation over the plans was launched on September 23 by the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV).

They have earmarked three locations for the new hospital:

  • the Bootham Park Hospital site
  • Clifton Road, and
  • Haxby Road (the former Bio-Rad site).

People are also being asked to give their views on proposals that the new hospital will have four 15 bed wards with single, en-suite bedrooms. That would match Bootham Park’s 60-bed capacity.

There will be two adult, single sex wards and two wards for older people (one for people with dementia and one for people with mental health problems such as psychosis, severe depression or anxiety). Each ward will have separate male and female bedroom and day areas.

The Bootham Park site is one of those earmarked as a potential site for a new hospital
The Bootham Park site is one of those earmarked as a potential site for a new hospital

You can read the full consultation document here (PDF).

Seven public meetings about the proposals have been organised – see the full list here.

Ruth Hill, director of operations for TEWV, said:

Most people want to receive the care they need at home and developing services that support service users in the community is a key priority for us.

Alongside this we want to make sure that those people who need to spend time in hospital have access to modern, state-of-the-art facilities.

Reopen Bootham

Flashback to the York mental health protest in May. Photograph: Jack Gevertz
Flashback to the York mental health protest in May. Photograph: Jack Gevertz

MHAY organiser Amanda Griffiths said she wanted to see the current Bootham Park Hospital refurbished and reopened.

“I have not spoken to the MHAY group as a whole regarding the question of opposing a new building but the consensus of opinion of the group being that refurbishing Bootham Park Hospital is the best option for retaining mental health care in York,” Amanda told YorkMix.

“This view is founded from listening to service users, staff and the general public, totalling 95% of people expressing a view in favour of refurbishing Bootham Park Hospital.”

MHAY is also planning a sponsored ‘Leg It Back To Bootham’ event “where we hope to team up with a local gym and ask people to cycle, row or run collectively the amount of miles that people have been sent out of area to an inpatient bed since the closure of Bootham Park Hospital”.

Amanda added:

This is important to evidence how far vulnerable people have been expected to travel, many miles from the support of their family and friends since the sudden closure.