Crisis Care As Manchester Strikes Take Hold

Health bosses have set up a crisis care centre and sent patients to a private hospital in a bid to cope with a crippling nursing strike.

Around 150 community staff – who care for more than 1,000 seriously ill psychiatric patients across Manchester – began a walkout after their union leader Karen Reissmann was sacked from Manchester Mental Health and Social Care trust.

She had been accused of bringing the trust’s reputation into disrepute after speaking out over cuts.

Bosses say patients will only be sent out of the region again as a last resort. Manchester Primary Care Trust have set up a crisis fund which is paying for 20 beds at the private Cheadle Royal hospital and at one point half were being used by NHS patients.

A temporary care centre has been set up in north Manchester where staff who are not taking part in the strike and agency staff are caring for patients.

Union leaders said they were disappointed it was only during a strike the trust bosses had agreed to pay for extra beds

As revealed by the M.E.N. on Saturday, on the day the strike began chief executive Sheila Foley went on holiday to Dubai.

Deputy chief executive Tracy Ellery says they have brought in extra staff to look after patients.

She said: “We would only consider commissioning beds outside of the Manchester area if there was no other alternative to ensure patient safety.”

Caroline Bedale, of union Unison, said staff were `frustrated’ money was being spent to pay for beds in the private sector.