Published: August 2, 2011
Confusion over Burnham centre's closing date raises concerns

Councillors in Burnham-On-Sea have this week expressed concern about the mixed messages from the NHS regarding the closing date of a mental health care centre in the town. first reported here that Belmont House in Technical Street, pictured, had been earmarked for closure this summer.

The NHS insisted at the time that Belmont House would not be closed until another base for its services had been established - but it has since confirmed the closure, as reported here.

Burnham town councillor Helen Groves told on Monday (August 1st): "The imminent closure is of deep concern as there remains a lack of continuity to the information being provided by the Somerset Partnership and the organisation itself."

"Despite assurances that the premises will not close before alternative venues have been secured, there remains doubt as to where the future provision will be made."

"A number of service users have been told that the closure date had been moved forward to August 10th, however we sought clarification from Belmont house itself and Cllr Tom Nicholls visited in person. He was advised that the date had indeed been moved forward and the last appointments would be given between the 10th and the 15th of this month."

"However, a letter from Edward Colgan, Chief Executive of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, on the same date as Tom's visit stated that Belmont would close on August 31st."

"To be entirely frank, I am highly concerned by the seeming lack of consideration which is being given to the clients of Belmont by the partnership."

She added: "Further, the indications I have received are that the Berrow campus is the only site at which a long-term arrangement has been made to provide appointments though several temporary venues have been arranged."

"The difficulty this presents of course is one of accessibility. The lack of transport links would actually make it easier for people to travel to Bridgwater which is exactly the situation we had hoped would be prevented."

"I understand that the Partnership says this closure is not motivated by finance but in light of the lack of consideration made to those who need the service and the overly hasty approach taken I really do question that. I have attempted to seek clarification from the partnership but as yet have not received a response."


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