Wells mental health ward to close

It all seems like a different age. In many ways it was. It is two and a half years since we reported on plans by the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group to relocate 14 adult mental health service beds from Wells to Yeovil.

Today that process was finally approved following what the CCG describe “a two and a half-year period of engagement and consultation with staff, patients, carers and colleagues in the voluntary sector and people with an interest in mental health to co-create a new model of mental health care for Somerset”

The proposal will see the 14 adult mental health beds move from Wells to Yeovil before the end of the year. Part of the logic for the move was the proximity to a hospital, which Yeovil could offer and Wells could not. James Rimmer, Chief Executive at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group explains “By relocating the beds from Wells to Yeovil we can co-locate the two wards to provide support to staff on either ward in the event of an emergency, extend medical cover to 24/7 and ensure that our wards are close to an Emergency Department in case of a physical health need.”

The ward at St Andrew in Wells will close as part of the plans. While the logic of the move is understandable, NHS management in Somerset does not have the best record with these things. There is a ward on the St Andrews site that was closed after being fully refurbished at great expense. The ward has stood empty for over a decade and the new equipment left to rot.

With the closure of this adult ward there will inevitably questions over the future of mental health provision in Mendip. During the consultation period many people in Wells and the surrounding area expressed strong feelings about the proposal. They be disappointed by today’s decision.

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