A MARCH will mark the first anniversary of the closure of Bootham Park Hospital - and push to keep mental health services in the heart of York.

The ‘Walk back to Bootham’ march will gather at the Minster at 6pm on Friday, before heading to Bootham Park Hospital where candles will be lit.

MP Rachael Maskell is expected to address the group at the Minster, where York Rock Choir is also due to perform.

The sunset event, which is in support of those affected by the sudden closure, is being held a year to the day that Bootham Park Hospital closed.

March organisers Mental Health Action York are campaigning for inpatient beds to be returned to Bootham Park Hospital.

A consultation is currently underway to build a new hospital in York by 2019, at either on the existing Bootham site, or at Clifton Park Hospital off Shipton Road, or on the former Vickers and Bio-Rad factory site in Haxby Road.

York Press:

Dr Bob Adams, a former senior psychiatrist at Bootham Park Hospital and a member of Mental Health Action York, said: “If Bootham Park Hospital is sold, I have been informed that any proceeds of the sale will go into the national NHS deficit and will therefore not be available to redevelop York mental health services.”

Bootham Park Hospital was closed with just five days notice after serious safety concerns were raised by the Care Quality Commission. The NHS organisations involved in running Bootham Park Hospital contributed to its sudden closure, an investigation found, due to a lack of clear leadership in working to fix the known problems at the hospital.

Following the closure, patients have been offered support in the community, or places at hospitals run by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) in the north east.

Writing for The Press, Dr Adams said about the planned new hospital: “Some of the buildings to the rear of Bootham Park Hospital have now been de-listed so it may be possible to build a new hospital to the rear of the site.

"However this would require a visionary architect...Whether this will be possible remains to be seen, but wouldn’t it be a shame if the Bootham Park Hospital site were to be sold and this attractive site in the centre of York be lost to public use for ever?

“It is about time that patients who suffer from mental illness have parity of care with other medical conditions and have the benefit of a visionary new hospital built for them, as happened way back in the eighteenth century.”

  • The event will begin at the Minster at 6pm on Friday and is expected to end at about 9pm.