A SENIOR clinician has warned "it would be a miracle if someone does not die" as a result of the chaos in mental health services in York, MP Rachael Maskell has told Parliament.

Ms Maskell gave a speech to express her concern there had been no Ministerial intervention following the closure of Bootham Park Hospital and that no one had taken overarching responsibility for what had happened.

Discussing the problems arising as a result of the closure she said: "Let me mention some of those risks: the closure of the place of safety, section 136 suite, so people in a crisis have to travel at least to Harrogate for an assessment and then on again for a bed for their own safety; the closure of acute beds, with in-patients moved as far away as Middlesbrough, creating a huge risk and insecurity; patients moved away from their support networks and families to strange environments; and the moving of 400 people engaged in out-patients’ services to new locations.

"I heard how one service user’s condition became so exacerbated on hearing about their move that they became seriously ill, and that is not the only story.

"I have heard from a parent how their child totally withdrew—from food and from them—because he was very frightened, and they were fearful for him. I have since supported frightened service users and family members. Out-patients who were suddenly discharged were confused and one senior clinician said it would be a miracle if someone does not die."

Ms Maskell told the debate too many organisations were involved at Bootham Park and there was "unbelievable scope for too many organisations to blame one another for the lack of progress in addressing the CQC’s safety demands... their cumulative inaction put lives at risk."

Calling for an independent investigation, she said: "No one died, but do we always have to wait until it is too late for someone before problems are taken seriously and situations are investigated? Agreement to an independent investigation is overdue."

In response, health minister Alistair Burt said he had regularly spoken with Ms Maskell. She denied this was the case, saying: "I am confused because I have been trying to get a meeting with the Minister—I have got correspondence for three months. I am therefore sorry if his office has let him down, but we have been trying to get a meeting, which senior clinicians also want to hold."