The following statement was made by Chris Brace at the the City of York Council Health & Adult Social Care Policy & Scrutiny Committee on 20th October 2015 on behalf of York People’s Assembly and Defend Our NHS York.
Chair and members of the Committee, I am speaking to you this evening on behalf of York People’s Assembly.
That there has been a catastrophic failure in the provision of mental health services for the citizens of York, is widely known locally and nationally, and is a matter of public disgrace. The blaming and counter blaming by the various agencies responsible for this disaster is frankly pathetic!
That the conditions exist, in which a remote and centralist Foundation Trust, ineffective commissioners and myopic regulators can wreck an essential service, is the result of the cumulative policies of more than one Government:
Serious Underfunding of the service; the “Purchaser Provider Split”; The Health and Social Care Act 2012 have all played a part in leading to this appalling situation.
But these are abstract points and can distract from what has been and still is for York citizens, at their most vulnerable, a horrible and in many cases frightening few weeks. No concern for the dignity and wellbeing of people who are requiring care and treatment in hospital or mental health services in the community or for their friends and families. We have all been insulted!
Whilst we accept that there is no immediate remedy to the harm done, we urge the Committee to exercise the statutory powers available to it and to urgently seek the opinion of service users (potentially all of us) before jointly working with the CCG, Provider Trust and the Members of Parliament serving York to secure local interim solutions pending the building of inpatient and outpatient facilities to the high standard that the people of York have a right to expect.
In recompense and to ensure that mistakes are not repeated, we ask you to consult widely (public and professionals) to please keep progress under urgent review and report progress frequently.
Life sometimes messes people up, public bodies never should!
Thank you for your time.