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Plans to Improve Care for 7,000+ People Approved

Plans to Improve Care for 7,000+ People Approved
04 February 2019

Dr Ian Hulme, clinical lead for mental health at NHS Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and GP with Meadowside Medical Centre, Congleton


As a local GP, I’m delighted that plans have been approved to improve the care of more than 7,000 people who need support every year with serious, long-term mental health problems. Enhanced community services will include a new dementia outreach service and 24/7 crisis care, alongside modern inpatient facilities for people who need hospital care.

Our new care model is in line with the Long Term Plan published last week by NHS England. It said that care should focus more on prevention, providing support in a crisis, and offering much better community support. I am pleased that our local plans reflect that ambition.


I’m extremely grateful to the many people, including service users and carers, who contributed to the new model of care. As a GP with an interest in mental health, I am passionate about getting the right care for my patients – at the right time and in the right place. This new model of care sets the foundation to do that and has been brought about by collaborative working across the NHS, social care and with patients and the public.


I’m encouraged that our approach to engagement was recognised positively by Cheshire East Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee last month. Councillors confirmed due process had been followed throughout the additional one month consultation on the move of 13 rehabilitation patients from Lime Walk House in Macclesfield to Bowmere Hospital in Chester and the previous three-month consultation. Councillors also welcomed the new model of care.


The new model will provide:

  • Improved community mental health teams, with 30 more staff
  • Improved crisis home treatment teams, with eight more staff
  • A new dementia outreach service to support people in their homes and care homes
  • 26 specialist inpatient beds at Lime Walk House in Macclesfield for adults and older people with serious mental ill health (plus four complex/intensive care beds in Chester and an extra three beds in Wirral)
  • 15 specialist inpatient beds in Macclesfield for people with dementia (based on the Macclesfield District General Hospital site);
  • six community-based crisis beds, in locations to be determined in partnership with service users;
  • 13 rehabilitation beds in Chester.


The inpatient beds currently in the Millbrook Unit on the Macclesfield Hospital site will be re-provided and replaced by 47 local beds designed to the latest modern standards, meeting privacy and dignity requirements set out by the Care Quality Commission.


Together with the enhanced local community support, a further seven beds for people with very complex needs – bringing the total re-provided beds to 54 – will be provided in Chester and Wirral. This approach is in line with current arrangements, where people requiring a psychiatric intensive care receive their care in Chester or Wirral.