• Martin Barkley, chief executive of mental health trust in York, to retire
  • Bootham to re-open to outpatients next month
  • Problems caused by "years of underspending" on mental health services
  • New hospital likely to be built in Rawcliffe or off Heslington Road

THE man in charge of running mental health services in York and Selby is stepping down from the role.

Martin Barkley, 61, said he is retiring from mental health services and plans to move to an unrelated NHS role.

He will step down from his role as chief executive at the Tees, Esk & Wear Valley NHS Trust (TEWV) in April.

Mr Barkley was in charge of the trust as it took on mental health services in York on the day Bootham Park Hospital was closed by the Care Quality Commission's concerns over safety on October 1.

However, he said he has no concerns about his team's ability to address the problems mental health services in the Vale of York face and had made the decision to leave as he was ready for a change.

Thanking staff, he said: “It has been a very difficult decision, but after careful consideration I have concluded that now is the right time for both me and the trust.

“This has been the best job I have ever had. It has been such a privilege to serve the trust as its chief executive and I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to help the trust be one of the best providers of mental health and learning disability services. However, after so many years with TEWV and other mental health and learning disability organisations the time has arrived for a change.

“I am so grateful for the amazing help and support I have received throughout my entire time at TEWV."

It has been a tumultuous time for mental health services in York in recent months as Bootham Park Hospital closed to inpatients and outpatients in October, leaving the area without a mental health hospital. Peppermill Court, off Huntington Road, then closed to male dementia patients, so it could be converted to a temporary hospital late last year.

The dementia patients from Peppermill Court were moved to Worsley Court in Selby, however last week plans were announced to move them from Worsley Court into Acomb Garth so the service could be run from York, which would close to mental health patients in need of rehabilitation.

It is possible patients needing rehabilitation may then be moved into Worsley Court but Mr Barkley said he would "stress that no decision has been taken on the future of Worsley Court. We're trying to make the best use of the estate".

Mr Barkley said Ruth Hill, director of operations in York and Selby, "is doing an absolutely outstanding job" and that had he been worried, he would have stayed longer in the role.

Having started as a trainee hospital administrator, Mr Barkley’s career with the NHS spans more than 43 years and over the last 30 years he has been chief executive at four mental health and learning disability service provider organisations.

Mrs Lesley Bessant, chairman of TEWV, said: “Martin has been excellent in his eight years as our chief executive developing the Trust".

The recruitment process to appoint a new Chief Executive will start next month.

Plans for a new hospital will be announced in months

A NEW state-of-the-art replacement for Bootham Park Hospital could be built on land in Rawcliffe, Mr Barkley said.

There are two possible locations for a new hospital: an empty parcel of land adjoining Clifton Park Hospital, which is already owned by NHS Property Services, or on land owned by The Retreat off Heslington Road.

Mr Barkley said it was hoped public consultations could be held in the coming months.

He said: "I am aware of both of those options and I'm not aware of any other options.

"Because of the issues with Bootham, what we originally thought would be our priorities have been derailed."

He said they were now looking at what would be the best option for patients and the best value for money.

York Press:

Bootham will be opened to outpatients next month

BOOTHAM Park Hospital (pictured above) closed due to years of underspending on mental health services in York - but it will re-open to some 400 outpatients in February, Mr Barkley said.

In an interview with The Press, the departing chief executive of TEWV said outpatient services such as therapy sessions and assessments would return to the hospital from next month.

Speaking about the closure of Bootham Park Hospital, Mr Barkley said the state of the buildings mental health services operate in in the York area "are some of the very worst he has seen".

He said: "It isn't just about Bootham - the quality of so many of the physical facilities and buildings that people operate in, and they see service users in, are some of the very worst I have seen, which is appalling in 2016.

"There has just been a complete lack of investment... previous [organisations] have been very financially challenged for very many years.

"I think it is disappointing that the physical environment of most of the infrastructure is the way it is."

Mr Barkley said Peppermill Court (pictured below) would re-open as a 24-bed temporary replacement for Bootham Park Hospital in July subject to a bid by a group of patients to challenge its closure via a Judicial Review.

York Press:

He said: "The fastest guaranteed way to get acute beds back in York is to convert Peppermill Court. We've already got CQC registration to operate Peppermill.

"It's absolutely vital the size of the population that live in York and Selby have their own hospital.

"Peppermill Court is the least risky option".