Letter to Andy Burnham

We are a group of family members who belong to a group dedicated to supporting the recovery journeys of our adults sons and daughters.

In June 2020 we found out that Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust was at an advanced stage in its plans to build a new psychiatric hospital in North Manchester.

We did not believe these plans took into account the serious implications Black Lives Matter and the Covid-19 pandemic have for the future design of mental health services for Manchester or the region. Further we did not have confidence that the plan for a refurbished psychiatric hospital would be fit for purpose in addressing the needs of our diverse community without fundamental changes in approach.

Therefore we asked that the planning process be paused and wrote to Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester asking him to meet with us to discuss our concerns.

We also produced a a Briefing Document that details the issues we want to see addressed and proposals for alternative community based provision.

This was our letter:

To: Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

From: Greater Manchester Family and Friends For Recovery

Dear Andy

The Redevelopment of Park House Psychiatric Hospital and the future of mental health services in Greater Manchester

We are a group of concerned service users, family members and citizens who have come together to ask you for an urgent strategic level meeting to discuss the plans for the future of mental health services in Manchester.

We are really pleased to hear about the £90 million investment in mental health provision, however we are concerned about the proposed redevelopment of Park House, especially in the context of the Covid -19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. There are real concerns that such a facility will be an unsafe space for vulnerable service users. A major study has found that recent coronavirus outbreaks are up to 20 times more likely to occur in large care settings.

Further, we believe that because of the lack of meaningful public engagement and consultation this proposal lacks vision and would lock Greater Manchester’s future within a mental health model that will not address the needs nor the human rights of the people of our city for the next generations. This new facility will become another costly institution both financially and in missed opportunities.

Instead we and others, envisage a comprehensive, integrated, locally based service, accessible and open to all people with mental health needs offering safe crisis support including beds, which will actually serve the needs of more residents.

We believe that this would be a great improvement for service users, the community and mental health professionals which will actually serve the needs of more residents than a single, expensive building. We have seen these community-based services work and grow around the world, in places continuously since the 1970s.

With proper consultations, including with clinical staff and commissioners, and local tailoring we believe that a neighbourhood system would be a clear implementation of your vision, in 2018 you said that because Greater Manchester is “the only city-region with health devolution, it has become increasingly clear that the unique opportunity we have, is to integrate health with everything – early years, education, community safety, housing and employment.This means professionals from all public services working together, with a single budget, working in neighbourhood teams of 30-50k citizens.”

In this spirit we would like to draw your attention both to alternative crisis service models for adults and other approaches that increase autonomy and agency, and the attached Briefing Note gives much more detail both of the needs and alternative responses. We don’t apologise for its length, because we believe it shows that your belief in neighbourhood based mental health services better addresses social determinants and unlocks resources within communities – and from within the NHS – that are otherwise locked into building costs for years ahead.

We want to help you and colleagues make our region’s mental health truly part of this neighbourhood vision, with a whole system response based in and responsive to the needs of localities. Recovery is a question of both personal and social transformation. Let’s seize the opportunity to do something different and better, collaboratively rather than competitively. Between us we have the vision and the capacity to do this here in Greater Manchester and know we can access local, national and international support, knowledge and experience. Not only would changes like this result in better use of the finances available but most importantly reduce human distress and promote human rights.

We believe we need to pause this proposal and facilitate a full public engagement on these issues. The time is right to learn the lessons from the past and to take the opportunity to co-create a modern mental health whole system that makes us all proud of Greater Manchester.

Let’s begin the conversation to reach all levels.

Yours sincerely

(in alphabetical order)
Anandi Ramamurthy, Elaine Okoro, Jan Hanson, Liz Saxby, Mary Norman, Michelle Sullivan, Paul Baker, Shakilla Azram
Greater Manchester Family and Friends For Recovery

Supported by:

Manchester Trade Union Council
Disabled People Against Cuts
Greater Manchester Coalition For Disabled People
Keep Our NHS Public
Manchester Hearing Voices Group
Manchester Service User Network
RAPAR (Refugee and Asylum Seeker Participatory Action Research)

Aggie Johnson, Citizen, Manchester
Alison Branitsky, Lived-experience researcher at Psychosis Research Unit, Mental Health Action Team, GM Citizens, Prestwich, Manchester
Dr Alasdair Honeyman, Hulme, Manchester
Alison Treacher, Mental Health Worker, Manchester
Ana Lucía Cuevas, Citizen, Whalley Range, Manchester
Aneez Esmail, Professor of General Practice, University of Manchester and Rusholme Health Centre, Manchester
Ananya Bhattacharya, London
Adam Danquah, Citizen, Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Manchester
Anna Robson, Person with lived experience & friends and family members, Groombridge
Andrea Johnston, Person with lived experience and Secretary for Manchester Service User Network
Andy Bowker, Huddersfield
Anna Rabinowitz, Citizen, Withington, Manchester
Amrit Wilson, Friend, London
Amy Henwood, Trainee Art Psychotherapist, Manchester, Failsworth, Ashton, Trafford
Annette Rimmer, mental health worker, Manchester
Anuli Changa, Person with lived experience, advocate, trained mental health first aider, London
Ashlyn Alves, person with lived experience and a family member and carer, Baguley, Manchester

Ben Willems, Manchester
Bethany Moran, Withington, Manchester
Beverley Drummond, Person with lived experience, Blackley, Manchester
Bob Ellard, Steering Group Member of Disabled People Against Cuts, Tonbridge, Kent

Camille Jordan, Cheadle, Stockport
Carol Dugdale, Expert with lived experience and activist, family member, Manchester Hearing Voices Group Coordinator, Stockport
Carol Packham, Family member, Whalley Range, Manchester
Carolyn Kagan, Friend, citizen, community psychologist, South Manchester
Charlotte Garrett, PhD, Trainee Clinical Psychologist, University of Manchester, Whitefield, Manchester
Charmain Berry BSc Psych Dip Trauma Psychotherapist, Bolton
Chris Powell, Family member, Chorlton, Manchester
Claudia Manchanda, London
Claire Joseph, Citizen, Manchester
Cliodhna Mc Phillips, Private Practice Counsellor, adults and young people Manchester and work with people all over Manchester and Stockport

Danielle Carbon-Wilson, Theatre in Prison and Probation (TIPP), Fallowfield, Manchester
Dawn Edge, Academic, Activist, Family Member, University of Manchester, Manchester
Dawn Mullen, Learning Mentor, Patrol support for children and parent/Carers and carer & Psychology and Counsellor student, Family member, Primary school Manchester
Debbie Grue, Mental Health Worker, Retired nurse, Unite Member, Manchester
Dee Dixon, freelance artist, Fallowfield, Manchester
Dharmi Kapadia, Manchester
Diane Frost, Friend, Manchester
Dimitra Karachaliou, Mental health professional, trainee clinical psychologist, person with lived experience, Manchester

Eileen Carberry, Manchester
Elizabeth Samuel-Bryan, Citizen, Hulme, Manchester
Ellie Page, Person with lived experience as well as a friend, worker & activist, Chorlton, Manchester
Emily Edwins, Self Help Services, Manchester

Fleur Perry, Swindon

Helen Hulme, person with lived experience, family member, friend, support worker for people with learning difficulties and coexisting mental health difficulties, Manchester
Helena Kettleborough, Friend, neighbour and community activist, Rusholme, Manchester

Ian Parker, Asylum Magazine Editorial Collective, Manchester
Imogen DeCordova Citizen, Manchester
Iyabo Fatimilehin, family member, clinical psychologist, citizen, Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester

Jake Spencer Dunn, Denton, Manchester
Jack Adam Morris, Person with lived experience, Crumpsall, Manchester
Jan Pearson – Carer & Retired Social Work Manager, Basingstoke, Hampshire
Jane Morris, Community Acitivist, Rusholme, Manchester
Janet Wolstenholme, Family Member, Chorlton, Manchester
Jasmine Taylor: person with lived experience of Park House, and activist, Manchester
Jason Ioannou, Northenden, Manchester
Jessica Pons, Family member, lived experience, Hearing Voices manager at Mind in Camden, London/Manchester
Jill Woodward, Retired Nurse Practitioner, Unite Union, friend of 2 people with lived experience over decades, Manchester
Jim Dewey Elected Councillor for Stroud District Council, Stroud Gloucestershire
Joanna Monaghan – psychotherapist, friend and activist, London
Joanna Omylinska-Thurston, Counselling Psychologist, Manchester,
John Jenkins, IMHCN, UK
Julie Roberts, Outreach worker, Manchester

Kalpana Wilson, Friend, London
Kuljit Chuhan, Director of Suicide Action, Greater Manchester
Kath Grant, Rusholme, Manchester
Kathie Branitsky, Prestwich, Manchester
Kathleen Crotty, Manchester
Kenny Thompson, activist, Liverpool
Keren Dean, Counsellor, Manchester

Leonardo Duart Bastos, Community Mental Health Organiser, Campinas, Brasil
Linda Carver, Ancoats, Manchester
Linda Foley, family member, educator, activist, Rusholme, Manchester
Miss Lisa Crowther, carer of daughter, also support worker with Connect Support, Manchester
Lorraine Lowe, Family Member, Trafford
Lydia Lighten, person with lived experience, Stockport

Marco Le-Star, Fallowfield, Manchester
Margaret Manning Citizen, former mental health worker, UNITE member, Manchester
Margaret Turner, Retired mental health social worker, Exeter
Maria Haarmans, clinical/community psychologist, researcher, Manchester
Maria Waters, Family member, work in Manchester as a health visitor, Trafford
Martin Armbrust, Ofterdingen, Germany
Mary Patel, Family member, Manchester

Neil Caton, Person with lived experience of in patient care, Chorley
Naeem Malik, Friend, Birmingham
Nasser Latif, Withington, Manchester
Nicky, Citizen, Manchester
Nilofer Shaikh, Mother, East Didsbury, Manchester
Njal Curlett, Manchester
Norma Turner, Campaigner in GM Law Centre, Manchester
N S Ahmed, Stockport
Nuala Sheehan, family member, retired family therapist, mental health activist, Bath

Olatunde Spence, Activist and Therapist, Chorlton, Manchester
Otis Thomas, Director for TAP The African Pot Project

Pamela Walker, Person with lived experience, Hulme, Manchester
Paul Hammersley, Trauma Therapist, Manchester
Penny Morris, family supporter of person in severe distress, Cambridge
Dr. Philip Thomas, retired consultant psychiatrist, Salford
Peter Bullimore, National Paranoia Network, Sheffield
Professor Peter Kinderman, Citizen, family member, former user of mental health services, clinical psychologist, Professor, and former President of the British Psychological Society, Chorlton cum Hardy, Manchester
Peter Marshall, Person with lived experience, Manchester

Rafaela Nunes, Mental health worker, North Manchester
Dr Rajesh Patel, Youth and Community Worker, Hulme, Manchester
Rebecca Shindler, Friend, Manchester
Rini Bhattacharya, Human Rights Activist,
Rita Horgan Service user, Activist, Therapist, Stockport
Rose, Manchester
Rob Hemingway, Manchester
Ruby-Ann Patterson, Chorlton, Manchester
Ruby Bannerman, London

Safia Aslam, Person with lived experience, Bury
Saira Qureshi, Concerned relative, Rusholme, Manchester
Sam Whitehouse, Student, Fallowfield
Sandra, Social worker SWE, Chorlton, Manchester
Sanaz Raji, Independent researcher and migrant rights activist, Manchester
Sara Richardson, Bradford on Avon
Sarah Cowan, Family member, Whalley Range, Manchester
Sarbjit Johal, friend, London
Scarlett Gorman, Manchester
Shahnaz Ali, Former Director for Equality, Inclusions and Human Rights, NHS NW, Manchester
Shamshad Khan, Hulme, Manchester
Shirley Dewey, Specialist Teacher for Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia), Stroud, Gloucestershire
Sonia Davis, Nottingham
Steven Willett, person with lived experience, including over 5 years of compulsory treatment, Walkden, Worsley, Salford
Sue Balmer, Counsellor, Chorlton, Manchester
Ms Sumayyah E. Ibrahim, Community Advocates/ No More Exclusions, High Wycombe

Tanya Finn, Carer for a relative with serious mental health issues, Blackley, Manchester.
Tariq Mehmood, Father of a mentally distressed child, Manchester
Tom Griffiths, Secretary of the Mental Health Charter Alliance, Trustee of the Soteria Network, Liverpool

Valerie Beaumont, Mental Health Worker, Stretford, Trafford

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