After attending the “Fit For My Future” consultation at Glastonbury Library on 29th February, the attendees agreed they wanted to come together to organise against the proposals. Wells CLP Women’s Officer Kama McKenzie said “The entire group was against the closure of St Andrews Ward in Wells. We were told that at present the public consultation is 50/50 for and against. People did not believe that our local community wanted the ward to close or indeed any future proposals threatening the future of our local community hospitals and Minor Injury Units. We agreed to set up a group as a platform to share ideas and ways in which we can come together as a community to ensure we save our local services; to prevent areas in the county being pitched against one another.” A Facebook group has been set up and also an online petition.
Fit for My Future
The CCG “Fit For My Future” consultation process began in April 2018. Currently they are consulting on mental health services and community services (https://www.fitformyfuture.org.uk/) There are currently two areas of local health services being consulted on (deadline 12th April 2020).
The current consultation includes 6 options for the future of acute mental health beds in Somerset.
Kama explains “The CCGs preferred choice is to close St Andrews Ward in Wells and move beds to Yeovil (option 2 costing over 5 million pound). Option 6 is to build a new unit and moving all beds from Wells, Yeovil and Taunton together costing substantially more. The consultation documents are put together to ensure that people who are simply following the guided process will agree with the proposals. We believe there should be an option 7; keep St Andrews Ward (increasing funding for safer staffing levels) and increase beds at Yeovil.
If this truly is a forward-thinking process for planning for future needs, this option would ensure that accessible, local services are increased to meet the needs of local people (sending less people out of county). Moving all beds to Yeovil will make travelling for patients and carers more challenging, particularly by public transport. The main argument cited in the documents about physical health emergencies and ambulance times applies to everyone in Wells and the surrounding areas. If this is unsafe (as they say) then this evidence should be presented to the Government to create a case for one of the promised “40 new hospitals” to be built in mid-somerset.
Most of the staff at St Andrews Ward, local people and professionals are against the closure of this local service.”
Kama adds “The current consultation documents are ambiguous; it would seem they are trying to keep people in their own homes, but it does not note that we have currently got a crisis in social care. Most of the suggestions are reliant on increased capacity for social care and GP services to respond. In principle the discussion about managing local healthcare is valid. What is concerning and unclear is whether this consultation is a gateway to closing local hospitals and minor injury units. The local community wants to make their position very clear-we do not support closing or reducing any local services at our community hospitals or MIUs. “
- Minehead Community Hospital
- Williton Community Hospital
- Bridgwater Community Hospital
- Burnham-on-Sea Hospital
- Shepton Mallet Community Hosptial
- West Mendip Community Hosptial
- Frome Community Hospital
- Wincanton Community Hospital
- South Petherton Community Hosptial
- Crewkerne Community Hospital
- Chard Community Hosptial
- Wellington Community Hosptial
- Dene Barton Community Hosptial
Kama concludes “We are encouraging the community to unite against any closures or reductions in services. To be fit for the future we need to expand provision to meet growing demand.”