Category Archives: Uncategorized

Stroke service closure discussed at Scrutiny

Following Somerset Council’s meeting last week, stroke services were back on the Adult & Health Scrutiny Agenda today. The Scrutiny Committee were examining plans by Fit For My Future to close stroke provision in Yeovil Hospital. Fit For My Future have run a consultation on the proposed closures.

A local group in Yeovil, Quicksilver Community Group have already had some support from Somerset Council. A petition against the proposed closure handed in at last week’s council meeting was well received. With over 5,000 signatures opposed to the proposed closure, it was hard to ignore.

Somerset Council agreed an action plan, which essentially stated:

  1. the council to make representation to the NHS trust about the risks of the removal of the HASC at Yeovil District Hospital (YDH).
  2. to explore the cost risk to the council of additional care needs for stroke victims whose recovery is lessened by the delay in treatment.
  3. The council scrutiny committee to have a full debate next Wednesday (31st)
  4. To engage with all Somerset MPs to bring them on board in support.

At today’s Scrutiny Meeting, the Group’s Rick Beaver spoke about the consultation. And again addressed the closure plans. Mr Beaver told the meeting: “Only two options are proposed in the consultation both involve the closure of the Hyper Acute Stroke Care service in YDH. It is frankly incomprehensible to have a vision of stroke patients receiving timely acute interventions … regardless of where they live, while acknowledging that with a Hyper Acute Stroke Care service in both Yeovil and Taunton that journey times are a challenge, and then propose to remove the facility in Yeovil.”

Mr Beaver added that he was grateful for the opportunity to: “outline the impossibility of meeting recommended onset to treatment time of 45 minutes for stroke victims for a large area currently supported by YDH if the Hyper Acute Stoke Care facility is located just in Musgrove hospital. Delays in treatment result in less successful recovery for the patient, with life changing consequences for them and their families, and additional care requirement which will impact on the council.”

He posed this question to the committee: “Our approach to you is to ask you to recognise the strength of feeling, the fear of the risks inherent to the proposal, and ask what you are currently doing, and what further actions and influences you have to get these proposals reviewed and rejected.”

The Scrutiny Committee have not as yet made any recommendations. They agreed to hold an extra meeting in September when there should be a report on the conclusions from the consultation available.

The Scrutiny Committee would review this information before making any recommendations.

The Scrutiny Committee acknowledged that the final decision is an NHS one. It is not for council to take although they have scrutinised the consultation. They have also raised issues of concern following the motion agreed as part of petition debate at Full Council.

Ilminster company sold

Powrmatic, the Ilminster based HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) company has been sold to Carver Group. Powrmatic made £2.3m in pre tax profits for the year to 30 June 2022 down from £3.3m the year before. Walsall based Carver Group bought the company which also has operations in Dublin for an undisclosed sum. The Ilminster based directors of Powrnmatic have all resigned concurrently with the takeover.

The company is one of Ilminsters largest employers. Across its two sites it employs a total of 166 people.

The business was previously controlled by Marilyn Skony Stamm. She is also president of President of Stamm International Corporation. Talking about the takeover she explains: “Powrmatic is a strong strategic fit with Carver Group, a bringing together of a talented, experienced, and entrepreneurial group of employees who share similar core values of customer service, teamwork, integrity, and respect. My objective of finding the right acquirer for Powrmatic and all its employees has been met. This is a wonderful opportunity for both Carver and for Powrmatic.”

Aidan Killeen, Carver Group chief executive officer, and new boss at Powrmatic believes the acquisition is a good fit: “There are considerable business synergies in the portfolio of products manufactured by Powrmatic and we believe this acquisition will afford our customers a greater product offer and solution”.

Carver Group has a venerable history of its own. Established in 1776 it is now in the 8th generation of family ownership. As well as having its headquarters in Walsall in the United Kingdom, the group has representation in 50 countries and offices in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Canada.

Stabbing in Wellington

A man was stabbed in Wellington at around 2.15am today (Monday 29 May). Officers were called to the incident at the junction of Longforth Road and Victoria Street, known locally as Roly Poly Green. The victim, in his 30s, has been taken to hospital. His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening or life changing.

They are treating this as an isolated incident and do not believe there is any further danger to members of the public. Their enquiries are ongoing.

Police are now calling for witnesses to come forward. Were you in the area around the time of the incident and saw anything? Do you have any relevant CCTV, doorbell or dashcam footage which could aid the investigation? If you can help, please call 101 and quote reference 5223125056.

Fatal accident at Wraxall

A man died following a single car collision at Wraxall this morning at about 5.30am. Police believe the incident happened at around 10.30pm last night (Saturday 27 May). However the vehicle was only discovered at 5.30am this morning by a passing ambulance.

The accident took place on the A37 just outside the village of Wraxall near Shepton Mallet. A vehicle left the road and the driver, a man in his 20s sadly dies at the scene.

His next of kin has been informed. They will being offered support from a specially-trained family liaison officer.

Police are appealing for witnesses or dashcam footage. Bearing in mind the incident could have taken place at any point between 10.30pm on 27 May and 5.30am this morning (28 May).

The A37 has been closed for accident investigators to do their work. It is now fully reopened.

If you can help, please call 101 and quote reference 5223124345

Yeovil College downgraded by Ofsted

The latest Ofsted report for Yeovil College has been published. The College, which was graded “Good”at the last two full inspections, has been downgraded to “Requires Improvement”.

The College had around 1800 learners aged 16 to 18, 1740 adult learners, and 980 apprentices.

Inspectors did suggest that most learners had a good experience.

However they criticised the College for not giving timely information to governors. They also suggested the College needed to do better for high needs learners.

Other comments included the variable quality of education. Leaders are good at producing plans, not so good at holding staff accountable to them.

The College was also told it needed to do better with ensuring that all learners “have a secure knowledge of the signs and dangers associated with radicalisation.”

On the plus side teachers are praised for their substantial specialist knowledge and for the way in which they deploy it. They use assessment effectively to check the new knowledge and skills that learners develop.

Motorcyclist killed on A371

A motorcyclist was killed on the A371 near Axbridge today (25 May). Emergency services were called out to the accident at about 1.40pm after a single-vehicle collision involving a motorcycle.

Sadly the motorcyclist died at the scene. His next of kin have been informed. A specially-trained family liaison officer is providing them with support.

The A371 between Cheddar and Axbridge was closed this afternoon while investigative work was carried out. It was reopened at about 7.35pm.

Avon and Somerset police would like to hear from anyone who witnesses the collision. If you did or if you have dashcam footage please call 101. Give the call-handler with reference number 5223122142.

Progress made at Huish Academy say inspectors

Ofsted today published the results of a Monitoring Visit to Huish Episcopi Academy. The visit follows an Inadequate grading of the school in January 2023 which saw it put into special measures. The current visit of just two days took place on 25 and 26 April.

The words of the report sound harsh on the face of it. The Inadequate rating remains and the school is to remain in special measures. Additionally the Ofsted Inspector notes that no “early career” teachers should be recruited.

If all that sounds worrying, it is in part to be expected following such a negative report published just four and a half months earlier.

There was also a lot of positive commentary on the progress the leadership team at the school have made. Importantly, the Inspector notes that safeguarding had been a concern. Now he notes “as a result of improvements made by leaders, safeguarding is now effective.”

While significant improvements are acknowledged the Inspector notes they are “still in their infancy”. Again this is to be expected for this stage of a turn around project.

Cabinet reshuffle at Somerset Council

We are just one year in to the life of the new Somerset Council. Inevitably the progress of bringing all the councils together and bedding it all in is not going to be quick. So now a series of changes have been announced to the executive team. At yesterday’s (24 May) Full Council meeting the changes were confirmed.

Most of the Executive roles remain unchanged. Bill Revans remains Leader of the Council with Liz Leyshon as his Deputy. However there are some changes too. Somerton’s Cllr Dean Ruddle is promoted to be Lead Member for Social Care in place of Heather Shearer. The Local Government Reorganisation portfolio previously run by Val Keitch is abolished, its work largely done.

In its place a new role is created for a lead Member for Transformation and HR. That will be taken by Wells Cllr Theo Butt Phillip.

Then there are a couple of changes in the scope of portfolios. So for instance Cllr Francesca Smith-Roberts was previously Lead Member for Communities. Now she is to be Lead Member for Communities, Housing and Culture.

Similarly Cllr Ros Wyke was previously Lead Member for Development and Assets. She retains that role but it is now enlarged to be Lead Member for Economy Planning and Assets.

All the other main Executive posts and portfolios remain unchanged.

Police investigation in Wells

Avon and Somerset Police have launched an investigation into indecent exposure in Wells. A number of offences have been reported to the police, including incidents on Sunday 14 May and Tuesday 16 May. Th incidents all involve a man indecently exposed himself to members of the public. Variously on a cycle path and in surrounding fields between Wells and Dulcote.

Police have arrested a man on suspicion of outraging public decency. He has been released on conditional bail. Police would like to speak to any victims of, or witnesses to, offences of indecent exposure in the area around the Strawberry Line cycle path within the past few months.

Police want to reassure the public that an investigation is underway. They are carrying out enquiries to gather as much information about these offences as possible. If you have any relevant information, please call us on 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5223113518.

Third Frome bank to close

Yesterday (23 May) the removal men were taking the furniture and fittings out of the Frome branch of Nat West. It’s an odd site watching removal men taking the safe out…. The branch closed on 11 May. HSBC directly opposite Nat West, will close next month.

Losing two bank branches in a month is not good news for any community, especially a town the size of Frome.

Yesterday however Barclays confirmed that they too will be closing their Frome branch at the bottom of Stony Street. The branch will close on Wednesday 23 August at 12 noon. They’ll also be removing their cashpoint too.

A letter to customers which, without any trace of irony, contained a paragraph headed “supporting you and your community.” Barclays say they will provide some support and that they’ll still be part of the community in Frome.

They also say they cannot yet confirm what form that support will take. For instance in Wells it is a mobile banking service with a member of staff. However the service doesn’t handle cash.

Barclays insist they will consult with customers, the local MP (David Warburton), councillors and members of the business community before finalising any new service.

Barclays also offer a branchfinder service:

However having shut branches in Wells, Warminster and Street in recent years, you can rest assured it will not be close. The only bank (as opposed to building society) left in the town from August will be the TSB branch on Cheap Street. Perhaps residents and businesses should consider moving to TSB to ensure that does not close in due course too?

You can find a more detailed article on banking in Somerset in general in the 15 May edition of The Leveller (on p8).

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