When we talked to people during our engagement in autumn 2018, 93% said mental health services should be given the same priority and focus as services for people with physical health conditions.

We agree.

We recognise that we need to enhance the quality of our mental health services. Over many years they have faced under-investment compared to physical health services, in common with many other mental health services across the country, and there are gaps in provision.

There is not enough capacity, in particular in community-based services, to support the demand and we also recognise that we need to do more to join up our services, across all levels of need and conditions.

Despite the financial challenges we face, Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group has committed to invest more in mental health services. We recognise the impact of historic under-investment in these particular services, a common problem across the country.

Over the next three years, we will be investing £17,046,388 on transforming mental health services for adults, children and young people. We want to make sure that people can reach a whole system of support through just one referral, and services that are accessible every step of the way.

Mental health charities and other partners have been involved in helping us to shape the new mental health model described above. Most of this involves enhancing and introducing new services but we recognise that we need to provide the best and safest in-patient care for people with the very greatest need.

That’s why the focus of our consultation is on the changes we are considering to the location of our acute mental health inpatient wards for adults of working age. This is not about money. Nor are there any reductions in the number of beds. Instead, it’s about changing the location of where some of them are.

Once the consultation process comes to an end, the final decision about any changes will be made by the Governing Body of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group based on all the evidence and information available, including taking full account of the feedback from this consultation.

 For more information, download the consultation document here.