HEALTH chiefs insist that beds for mental health patients will not be taken away from Macclesfield until after new services are launched in the community.

NHS Eastern Cheshire, Vale Royal and South Cheshire clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – which buy healthcare for patients in Cheshire East, Northwich and Winsford – are due to meet on November 22 to sign off plans to transform mental health care in the area.

A business case, which will be made public next Thursday, is expected to recommend closing the Millbrook Unit at Macclesfield Hospital in order to fund improvements to mental health care in the community and crisis teams.

Older patients services will move to Lime Walk House, in Macclesfield, but adult mental health inpatient services will move to Chester.

At a Cheshire East Council scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday where NHS representatives were grilled on the plans, Cllr Gordon Baxendale, Conservative member for Congleton West, asked for a timeline on when the new services will be available.


“This is what patients are asking me,” he added.

At the meeting, health chiefs told councillors that the final ‘decision-making’ business case is still being completed – and consultation with patients is still ongoing ahead of it being published next week.

Dr Anushta Sivananthan is medical director for compliance, quality and assurance at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – the group responsible for mental health care across the county.

She said: “If the CCGs are happy to go along with the full decision-making business case, the timeline for changes in inpatient care and inpatient services would be looking at next autumn – so 12 months.

“We are still looking at a long timescale, it is not imminent.


“We expect, as part of the transition planning – and this is the work we continue to do – we would be putting community services in first and crisis services first.

“So there is a sequence to this, and actually it is putting services into the community first before we do anything with beds.”

It is expected that the business case’s recommendation will be in line with the most popular option during a consultation held earlier this year – to invest in community services, close Millbrook, and keep older people’s services in Macclesfield.

The CCGs had also explored the options of keeping adult mental health beds in Macclesfield but moving older people’s services to Chester – or keeping Millbrook, but not investing into community services.

NHS bodies in Cheshire say the changes to mental health care will bring provision across the country up to a higher standard, and 24-hour crisis care will be available for patients who need it.