Published: July 5, 2011
Councillors express concern over future of mental health centre

Concerned town councillors in Burnham-On-Sea have this week expressed their disappointment at 'conflicting statements' regarding the future of a closure-threatened mental health therapy centre in the town. reported here last week that Belmont House in Technical Street, pictured, has been earmarked for closure later this summer despite earlier reassurances that this would not happen until another base for its services had been found.

Councillors at Monday evening's town council meeting said they are unhappy at the statements being made.

Cllr Helen Groves said: "I am unhappy that the position regarding the centre's future seems to change so frequently, which is very worrying for its users."

Cllr Tom Nicholls added: "We were assured just a few weeks ago that Belmont House would not close, so it's disappointing that we now seem to be hearing a conflicting statement."

And Cllr Alan Miller added during Monday's meeting: "We want a clear position at a local level about the centre's future."

The town council will be formally writing to the Chief Executive of NHS Somerset Partnerhsip to request the official position.

A letter sent to Belmont House users last month by Colin Nash, the centre’s service manager, stated that the property will no longer be used for services in the Burnham area from August or September, but added that appointments will still be available in the Burnham area.

The letter said: "We will be seeing people in a range of other NHS buildings in the Burnham and Highbridge area which are more suitable. We will also be able to offer appointments in Bridgwater if this would be more convenient."

The letter says that Belmont House is not suitable for people with disabilities because it lacks modern facilities such as a lift.

An NHS Somerset spokesman added: "There is no question of the existing services at Belmont House being stopped or the building being closed before patient and carers' views have been properly considered and alternative premises indentified and services fully established."

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