On Thursday 24 th September at 9.30am, a small number of campaigners gathered outside Wynford House in Yeovil, the HQ of Somerset CCG, in anticipation of the announcement of the decision to close St Andrew’s Ward in Wells. The “Fit For My Future” consultation process had been concluded in April and the findings of the report had been released at the end of August. Organiser Emma King , Branch secretary Glastonbury & Street Labour Party said ” It was fairly obvious, from the way the consultation had been conducted and the way the report was written, that the CCG were going to decide to close the ward and move the beds to Yeovil. Many of us felt that the consultation was merely a formality, especially with the way they discounted the majority of views from the Wells area by saying that they were “biased”. Therefore, it was no surprise to us that the closure of the ward was announced around midday. There has been an outpouring of anger at this decision and a petition was launched on Sunday (27 th Sept) evening, which reached nearly 500 signatures in less than 48 hours and is now approaching 900. There is also a demonstration planned for Sat 24 th October, meeting on Cathedral Green, Wells at 12pm, as well as a letter writing campaign to James Heappey, the CCG and local papers.”
The wording on the petition is as follows, and if anyone agrees and would like to sign it, the link is also attached here:
“Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group have made the decision to close St Andrews Ward in Wells. We do not accept that the building of a new ward in Yeovil requires the closure of the ward in Wells. We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has had, and continues to have, a dramatic impact on mental health and therefore this is absolutely the wrong time to make dramatic changes to mental health services provision.
Furthermore, all councils in Somerset have signed up to the climate emergency and they are therefore duty-bound to consider the environmental impact of this decision. The bus service to Yeovil is infrequent and expensive and so most patients and visitors will be reliant on private car use and this will inevitably increase the carbon footprint over and above what it would have been if St Andrews Ward were to be retained. Recovery rates for patients are likely to be quicker with the support of family and friends, who may not be able to visit if they have to travel further, meaning that beds are likely to be occupied for longer.
We believe that the closure of Phoenix Ward was ill thought out and has allegedly left St Andrews Ward vulnerable as a stand-alone ward. This is an example of the planned neglect of the NHS, with the gradual running down of services. If St Andrews Ward is closed then it will be gone for good and we do not believe that the Bridge will be maintained into the long term future and will also be vulnerable to closure once St Andrews Ward is gone.
We therefore propose that St Andrews Ward is retained and improved and that Phoenix Ward is reopened to cope with the increased demands and to ensure that services remain local, the carbon footprint of patients and their families and friends is kept to a minimum and that fewer people need to be sent outside of Somerset for mental health treatment.”
You can sign the petition here: