THE relocation of adult mental health beds from Wells to Yeovil has been approved.

The governing body of the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) made the decision at the meeting held yesterday (September 24).

The move was being considered because St Andrews Ward in Wells is around 45 minutes away from the nearest emergency department (at Bath Royal United Hospital), whereas Rowan Ward in Yeovil is less than one mile away from Yeovil District Hospital.

READ MORE: Somerset CCG to discuss mental health beds moving to Yeovil

A two and a half year consultation took place and many people in Wells were not happy with the plans.

“We are very grateful to everyone who gave their time and expertise over the last two and a half years as this proposal was developed and refined,” Maria Heard, programme director for Fit for My Future and Somerset CCG governing body member said.

“From patients who use the services to clinical experts and local organisations together we have co-created a new model of mental health care for Somerset which offers a full range of support from prevention and maintaining wellbeing through to crisis and inpatient care.

“We know that in Wells and the surrounding area there were strong feelings about the proposal to relocate the fourteen adult mental health in-patient beds from Wells to Yeovil and some people will be disappointed by today’s decision.

“However this proposal was approved to help us provide safer care to people who need this level of mental health support across the whole of Somerset.

“As a result of the consultation feedback we will put in place a service user and carer reference group to support the implementation of the proposal, and particularly to review how the potential negative impacts of increased travel time can be mitigated.”

According to the Somerset CCG, the relocation of the beds would mean that staff will be better supported in the event of an emergency.

This is because the Yeovil beds will be closer to a hospital with an emergency department.

James Rimmer, Chief Executive at Somerset CCG said: “This proposal will help us make sure that all adults across Somerset have access to safe, high quality acute mental health care when they need it.

“Our wards in Wells and Yeovil are ‘stand-alone’ which means there are no other wards close by and so no other staff to support in an emergency when a patient is experiencing a medical or mental health crisis.

“At times, patients on acute mental health wards will need acute medical support as well as mental health support.

“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 Somerset CCG approved the following proposals:

1. The mental health inpatient unit for adults of a working age at St Andrews Ward in Wells should be relocated to Yeovil.

2. A service user and carer reference group should be put in place to support the implementation of the proposal, particularly to review the negative impacts of increased travel time.

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