Campaigners spread word in fight to save St Andrews Ward
CAMPAIGNERS hoping to prevent the closure of the St Andrews Ward took part in a Morning of Action in Wells on December 4.
Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group has taken a decision to move the 14 beds in the ward, at Priory Health Park, to Yeovil, which those opposed to the move say will leave a hole in Mendip for people in need of mental health care.
They say that it could be difficult for family and friends to visit the ward in Yeovil, and that charities such as Heads Up would be asked to take on more work, and would need additional funding to do so.
During the Morning of Action, the campaigners displayed banners and distributed leaflets to raise awareness and obtain support.
Emma King, one of the organisers, said: “We firmly believe that the CCG needs to invest in St Andrews Ward properly and reopen Phoenix Ward in order to provide local people with the services they need in light of the growing population and the growing need for mental health provision in the light of the pandemic.
“We handed out a lot of leaflets and had many good conversations with people, most of whom did not know about the closure and many of whom were outraged and appalled that yet another local service is being removed from us.”
A similar action is planned in Shepton Mallet early in the new year. Other protest events have taken place previously in a number of locations including Wells and Glastonbury.
The CCG said in April that it does not expect the relocation of the beds from Wells to Yeovil to take place until summer 2022. A spokesperson said at the time: “The proposals will help us to provide safer and better quality care to people who need this level of mental health support across the whole of Somerset.”
A petition calling for St Andrews Ward to be saved has gained nearly 3,500 signatures.