Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust Struggles with Improvement: A Continued Saga of Failures and Unmet Promises

Manchester Mental Health Trust

Revealing Stagnation in A Striking Way

Well over a year after the shocking revelation of patient mistreatment within the mental health system of Greater Manchester, the promises of reform by GMMH have hit an alarming rock.

The most current assessment was recently conducted, and it only shows very few improvements that were promised.

A comprehensive inquiry by the Manchester Evening News into GMMH has unearthed shocking issues including deaths of young people in mental health wards, falsification of medical records, ill-treatment of vulnerable patients and racial rows among close staff members.

GMMH accepted during their latest board meeting that their well-structured improvement plan had gone astray.

Twenty-six out of forty-four areas for improvement that were rated as red indicate significant delays or decline. To make matters worse eight areas are seen to be declining.

Stagnating Progress: Areas in Peril

The specific aspects flagged as deteriorating include “ligature risk management,” “safeguarding,” “sexual safety,” “safe and therapeutic environments,” “recruitment and workforce supply,” “induction and onboarding,” “strengthening service user and carer voice” and “data quality and visibility.”

This is blamed upon the trust’s delays caused by waiting for investment or pending decisions about necessary changes.

However, more than half of the key areas that require improvement have remained unexplainedly stagnant despite these inquiries from MEN.

Financial Crises Intensify Problems

The financial crises add another dimension to GMMH’s current challenges. This body’s services amount to a £186.5 m deficit in NHS England Healthcare Financial Reports as show in its 2023 annual report.

Furthermore, this deficit has been exacerbated by increasing costs in relation to mental health out-of-area placements mainly due to local mental health units frequently having no beds or insufficient staff.

Dr Manisha Kumar, a chief medical officer at NHS Greater Manchester noted concerns about quality of patient care and transport costs across the country.

Staff from Agencies and Disputes of Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust

Two trusts, including GMMH, coping with vacancies and staff strikes are said to have accounted for an approximately £10m overspend on agency staff in contradiction to the local financial plan.

However, GMMH disputes this by saying they expect only a break-even in 2023/24 and that agency staff is used to fill temporary vacancies.

The trust promises ongoing recruitment initiatives and less turnover in order to reduce reliance on agency staff.

Continuous Failures and Repeated Assurances

Greater Manchester Mental Health has plunged into scandals incessantly leading to several investigations and scrutiny by regulators.

The issue was not resolved as it was intended even after lots of assurances made by the trust as well as inquiry.

According to a damning CQC report in July 2023, conditions worsened as a result of which the trust’s safety and leadership ratings were downgraded to ‘inadequate.’

Yet again, concerns persist about lack of connectivity between leadership and frontline practices, thus making patients vulnerable.

Persistent Public Outcry and Ongoing Challenges

The Manchester Evening News (MEN) has been consistent in exposing cases where mentally ill people have suffered due to system failures.

The ongoing crisis is highlighted by tragic episodes of patient deaths, unallocated case loads and inadequate support.

Families demand accountability whereas city councilors have expressed their disappointment at GMMH’s slow pace of change urging quick actions that will respond urgently for vulnerable individuals’ needs.

Warnings of Change Unheeded, Promises of Change Ignored

Jan Ditheridge, the interim chief executive, has admitted that mistakes were made and promises that improvements will be fast-tracked.

In order to get back public trust again, Ditheridge reiterated the ongoing attempts being made and acknowledged the areas where they had begun.

However, several of the board members implicated in the failure are still serving on the board.

A Long Road to Redemption

The Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust is grappling with a deep-rooted problem. The organization has not managed to implement substantive changes over many years despite warnings and inquiries from various quarters.

Achieving redemption still requires immediate discernible changes that will rebuild trust in its services and put on top priority vulnerable individuals’ safety and well-being.

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  • Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust Struggles with Improvement: A Continued Saga of Failures and Unmet Promises