YORK’s new MP has used her maiden speech in the Commons to plead for a new mental health hospital to replace the ageing Bootham Park.

Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, gave her first in the House of Commons yesterday afternoon praising her predecessor and her constituency, but also spoke of a desperate need for new mental health facilities in the city.

She said that with York in the midst of a mental health crisis, it was “deeply regrettable” the issue had been absent from the Queen’s Speech, pledging that the Labour opposition would fight for improvements.

Ms Maskell said that both Bootham Park - the oldest mental health hospital in the country - and Lime Trees had been failed recently by CQC inspection, with the situation at Bootham Park particularly worrying as the ageing building was more akin to a stately home than an acute mental health facility.

“I am not going to stay silent when the acute needs of my constituents are at such high risk.

“Bootham Park is not fit for purpose, and the CQC concurs.

“I am asking for a new state of the art mental health facility. My constituents deserve the very best.”

A former NHS physiotherapist, Ms Maskell said that despite her training she would not use her position in the House of Commons to “massage facts or manipulate statistics.”

She also mentioned the “failing funding formula” which left the NHS in York with £117 less per patient than other areas, spoke of wider concerns about health service privatisation, and praised NHS staff as “dedicated, professional, selfless, compassionate, innovative, caring and loving in all they do, 24/7.”

Ms Maskell also spoke of problems in York linked to the loss of skilled jobs in the rail industry, the city’s lack of affordable housing, and the growing use of foodbanks.

Following political conventioned, she praised her predecessor as MP for York Central, saying: “Sir Hugh Bayley entered this house with a keen interest in health and many will recall played an active role in the health committee.

“I am sure the whole house would want to join with me in paying tribute to the contributions he made to this place, always executed with integrity, honesty and decency.”