Bootham ‘not fit for purpose’ says David Cameron – but ignores MP’s call for changes to the law

David Cameron responds to Rachael Maskell at PMQs. Photographs: UK Parliament / YouTube
4 May 2016 @ 10.08 pm
| Health & fitness, News

David Cameron was challenged over the abrupt closure of Bootham Park Hospital in the Commons on Wednesday (May 4).

York Central MP Rachael Maskell called on him to change the law at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Mr Cameron responded by suggesting that the mental health hospital was right to be closed so quickly because it was “not fit for purpose”.

Ms Maskell told the PM:

The findings of the NHS England report on the sudden closure of Bootham Park mental health hospital in York have confirmed that the relationships between the NHS bodies, as defined under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, are dysfunctional and have failed patient safety.

She added: “A Healthwatch report showed that harm has occurred because life has been lost.

“Will the Prime Minister now accept that, because of the serious risk that has been created, the 2012 Act has to change in line with NHS England’s recommendations?”

Mr Cameron said he would look carefully at what Ms Maskell said.

But he added:

My understanding is that she called for action on an outdated and dangerous facility back in July last year, and that is exactly what happened.

I am pleased that action was taken. Bootham Park was not fit for purpose.

The Care Quality Commission identified serious and life-threatening issues on patient safety, which were not put right. As a result, there was a decision to close and then subsequently reopen the facility after changes.

‘Failed to protect patients’

York Central MP Rachael Maskell quizzes the PM
York Central MP Rachael Maskell quizzes the PM

Labour’s Ms Maskell said the government had a lot to answer for “in their ideological restructuring of the NHS which cost £3bn and has failed to protect patients from safety risks”.

“Today the Prime Minister has failed to accept that the chaos created by his Health Act that led to the perfect storm and Bootham Park Hospital’s closure and refuses to acknowledge the need for transparency and to learn from mistakes that have occurred.

“No one has yet accepted responsibility for the delays in finding solutions to the risks at Bootham Park Hospital and ultimately service users across York have suffered as a consequence.”

She also criticised Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for his handling of the NHS.

Jeremy Hunt’s narrative on patient safety is no more than words tossed into the air.

It is very telling of the Government’s approach when it cannot be bothered to come to York and listen to the voices of those who use and work in the service.