Axe falls on Manchester mental health ward

A SPECIALIST mental health ward in Manchester is to close and its 15 patients moved. Nursing staff at the Cedars Ward, based at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust’s Edale Unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary, were shocked to learn of the imminent closure.

The unit cares for elderly patients under the Mental Health Act and suffering from illnesses including dementia, manic depression and schizophrenia.

A source at the unit said: “We were told of the closure and none of us expected it. We were advised not to say anything to any of the patients by management.”


The Cedars ward – part of the three-storey Edale Unit off Hathersage Road – provides acute psychiatric assessment for older people mostly over 65.

Trust spokeswoman Judith King said: “Following a review of bed utilisation over the last two years, where it was found that the demand for beds in older adult inpatient wards in the trust was lower than anticipated, the trust board has endorsed the decision to close Cedars Ward.

“Cedars Ward provides care to older people with mental illness. The ward is scheduled to close on July 15.”

But trust bosses insisted the patients’ care wouldn’t be compromised.

Judith King said: “The closure will not affect the quality of the care of current inpatients on the ward. They and their relatives/carers are in the process of being informed of the closure and reassured that the care they are receiving will not be compromised in any way.


“Staff have offered to meet with patients and families to explain the changes and to discuss care and any additional support.”

She said patients would be transferred to other wards across Manchester depending on their needs.

The trust `is currently entering into a period of consultation meetings with affected staff and their representatives. “It is anticipated that all affected staff currently working on Cedars ward will be offered suitable alternative redeployment opportunities within the trust.”

The unit faced controversy in 2006 when a mental patient was sent to a bed and breakfast because of a chronic bed shortage.

Staff on the unit, where many of the patients are sectioned, gave him £30 a night for five nights to pay for a bed and breakfast room.

The trust said the situation was `exceptional’ because the patient was ready to be discharged but there had been a benefit payments delay.