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Mental health beds could move from Wells

A picture showing inside Yeovil Hospital

Proposals to move mental health beds from St Andrews Ward in Wells to Yeovil are being recommended by Somerset's NHS bosses.

It's because the nearest Emergency Department to the beds at Priory Health Park in Wells is at the Bath Royal United Hospital.

Rowan Ward in Yeovil is less than one mile from the emergency department at the town's hospital and already has 24/7 cover.

The two acute mental health wards in Taunton, which are close to Musgrove Park Hospital, would not be affected,

Speaking about the transformation of mental health services Dr Alex Murray, a GP and the clinical lead for Fit For My Future said: "We recognise the historic underfunding and challenges in mental health services across Somerset; they’ve been apparent for some time. 

"We're excited to be developing new mental health support services and enhancing our existing community mental health and crisis services throughout the county. 

"Our overall vision for mental health is innovative, and £13 million trailblazer funding recognises that. 

"We’re investing in existing services and introducing new ones, closer to where people live and supporting them at every step of their journey.

"We needed to understand how to provide the best care in the safest possible way. 

"Staff across the service in Taunton, Wells and Yeovil are tireless and dedicated in their support for patients and we recognise and value their commitment very much.

"We’ve looked in great detail at what the best service shape might be and examined all the evidence closely. 

"Our wards in Wells and Yeovil are ‘stand-alone’ which means there are no 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. 

"St Andrews Ward in Wells is 22 miles and around 45 minutes away from the nearest Emergency Department at Bath Royal United Hospital which can be critical if someone is physically ill or has harmed themselves in some way."

A spokesperson for the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group added: "Over the past two years, health and care services in Somerset have been reviewing adult mental health services in Somerset. 

"As part of Fit for My Future, Somerset’s health and care strategy, regular conversations have been taking place between staff, patients, carers and colleagues in the voluntary sector about how people use services, what they find helpful and the opportunities to improve the support offered.

"Working together, a new model of mental health care has been developed for Somerset which offers a full range of support from prevention and maintaining wellbeing through to crisis and inpatient care. 

"Last autumn it was announced that Somerset is to receive £13 million of funding over the next three years to support the new model of community mental health care.

"Acute inpatient services are just one part of the whole system of mental health care and support services, but a very important component for people facing the most acute mental health conditions or crises."

"The configuration and location of these beds has been considered at various times in the past but over the last year a more detailed review has taken place, using a set of criteria shaped with input from members of staff, patients and the public.

"One of the key ambitions of the review was to reach a shared view about how the best and safest level of care can be provided for people with the most urgent and acute mental health needs who need inpatient care."

For more details click here

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