Briary Unit Harrogate

Health watchdog to seek assurances on mental health services following plans to close all beds in Harrogate District for mental health care

7 February 2019

The health watchdog in North Yorkshire is to meet councillors from Leeds City Council and the City of York Council on 15 February 2019 to quiz mental health commissioners and providers about plans for mental health services for people in Harrogate, Wetherby and York.

A Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, made up of leading councillors from North Yorkshire, Leeds and York, will review proposals to move away from the use of in-patient beds in the greater Harrogate area to a more community-based provision.

At a meeting of the North Yorkshire County Council Scrutiny of Health Committee on 14 December, proposals to reduce mental health in-patient bed numbers in Harrogate were considered. Committee members were concerned that a number of questions remained unanswered and needed to be referred to a Joint Scrutiny Committee, particularly how the transition from in-patient care in Harrogate to community-based care in the area, with some in-patient care in York or Darlington, would be managed.

Cllr Jim Clark, Chair of the NYCC Scrutiny of Health Committee, said:

Our committee members understand that it is better to treat people in a community setting, close to where they live, rather than continue to admit people to in-patient units that do not meet their assessed need and which are outdated.

There are genuine concerns, however, that the proposal to stop the development of a new mental health in-patient unit at Cardale Park in Harrogate, to close the beds at the Briary Wing at Harrogate District General Hospital and then move the money saved into community provision, may not have been fully thought through.


Cllr Jim Clark, Chair of the NYCC Scrutiny of Health Committee
Cllr Jim Clark, Chair of the NYCC Scrutiny of Health Committee

At the 14 December meeting there were also concerns that the impact of the proposed changes on people living in Wetherby had not been fully considered and the impact on mental health in-patient services in York was unclear.


Cllr Clark said:

Working with fellow councillors in Leeds and York, we will be seeking assurances from mental health commissioners and providers that the transition from in-patient care to community-based care will be effectively managed and that in-patient beds are available for those who need them, as close to their home as possible.

I am of the view that the NHS locally needs to provide the public with a detailed view and understanding of what the vision for mental health care is, what the new ways of working will be, how the transition from the old to the new will be managed and what will happen to those people who continue to need in-patient care.



  1. I too are concerned about mental health provision in Harrogate 3-4years ago my mum suffered from mental health and although the Briary Unit wasn’t ideal I was able to visit most days I certainly wouldn’t be able to travel to York Darlington or beyond as frequently. My mum wouldn’t accept any help from social services and kept her door locked so this provision wouldn’t have worked for us. I’m sure I can’t be the only family who have had or will have this problem

  2. Mental heath provision on Harrogate is on its knees and has been for a long time. My friend took her own life in 2009.
    There will always be a need for inpatient care because some people are so acutely ill they can not be treated at home. Particularly in a family environment.
    There are numerous instances wherein young people have been failed by our local mental health services.

  3. Im astounded to read that in a time when all eyes ‘apppear’ to be drawing our attention to increase awareness of mental illness, it is suggested that inpatient care is outdated! The numbers are rising on this often debilitating, invisible illness and too many suicides are resulting from failing services already. Inpatient care is most often a last resort when a person simply cannot cope in their normal environment. It would be exceptionally niaive or plain stupid to take this necessity from those that need it the most. Isolating a person further by shipping them off so their loved ones are out of reach would only compound the problem. This country needs to start focussing on people, not where they can save money.

  4. In-patient care is sometimes essential. At the same time the facility should be close enough to allow frequent visits from friends and relatives. York and Darlington are a long way/time from Harrogate by car and maybe hard to get to at all by public transport.

    I am very sad that the recovery and treatment of patients is being compromised by these plans.

  5. I am actually appalled by the lack of in-patient care, Mental Health and addiction care in Harrogate is absolutely rock bottom already.

    In-patient care is essential. How many more lives will be lost?

  6. North Yorkshire has 600,000 people with Northallerton and Harrogate being closed this only leaves York and Scarborough open who are already overstretched. TEWV can do one, it’s time North yorkshire had it’s own mental health service back. An area with 600,000 people doesn’t even have it’s own PICU. Oh and talking about community care anybody who is fit for the community is already in the community, this talk about closing hospital beds and extending the community service is just gambling with peoples lives. TEWV are underserving the people of North Yorkshire, and I am sure we could provide a better service to ourselves for ourselves.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Go toTop