The Governing Body of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group today approved a proposal to relocate adult mental health beds from Wells to Yeovil.
The decision follows a two and a half-year period of engagement and consultation with staff, patients, carers and colleagues in the voluntary sector and people with an interest in mental health to co-create 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. Together stakeholders developed a proposal to relocate fourteen adult mental health beds from Wells to Yeovil.
The proposal was developed to provide best care in the safest possible way by providing acute beds for mental health inpatients on two sites instead of three.
James Rimmer, Chief Executive at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group 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 Clinical Commissioning Group approved the following proposals:
- The mental health inpatient unit for adults of a working age at St Andrews Ward in Wells should be relocated to Yeovil where it will be operated alongside the existing Yeovil unit in refurbished and fit for purpose modern facilities which can be used flexibly to create male and female ward space preserving privacy and dignity.
- A service user and carer reference group should be put in place to support the implementation of the proposal, and particularly to review how the potential negative impacts of increased travel time can be mitigated.
Maria Heard, Programme Director for Fit for My Future and Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body member said: “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. 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.”
While the location of fourteen mental health beds will be changing, it is important to note that approval of the proposal will not result in any reduction in bed numbers. Adult acute mental health beds will remain available in Taunton and Yeovil with community mental health services available as close to home as possible for everyone across the county.
Jane Yeandle, Service Director for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Directorate which runs the mental health inpatient wards, said: “Following today’s decision we will now work with our staff, patients and carers to take this forward. We will also listen to feedback from current and former patients of St Andrews Ward, their carers and current staff about what they value about the service. We will use their feedback to directly inform the way care is provided for everyone on our acute mental health wards in Taunton and Yeovil.
“There will be a considerable period of building work to create the new ward in Yeovil and to upgrade the facilities on the adjacent Rowan Ward. We will work with service users to ensure that they are involved in the planning of the new ward on Rowan and support colleagues working in the service throughout the period of transition.”
All the papers from today’s Governing Body meeting, along with supporting reports and documents are available on the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group website.