PROTESTORS who are against the closure of a mental health ward are planning to lobby councillors before a meeting this week.

A campaign group trying to prevent the closure of St Andrews Ward in Wells are headed to Bridgwater on Wednesday (July 21).

Somerset County Council (SCC) councillors are holding a meeting at the McMillan Theatre in Bridgwater from 10am, and campaigners are planing to lobby councillors from 9am.

The governing body of the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) made the decision to move 14 mental health beds to Yeovil on September 24 2020.

The move was considered because St Andrews Ward in Wells is around 45 minutes away from the nearest emergency department (Bath Royal United Hospital), whereas Rowan Ward in Yeovil is less than one mile away from Yeovil District Hospital.

READ MORE: Group protests against closure of St Andrews Ward in Wells

However, the relocation of the beds will not happen before summer 2022 at the earliest.

READ MORE: 'Relocation' of Somerset mental health beds won't happen until 'summer 2022 at the earliest'

And now, the campaign group want SCC to forget the idea completely and keep St Andrews Ward in Wells open.

At the lobby on July 21, there will be speeches from the campaign group, the Labour Party, as well as both Mendip and Bridgwater Trades Union Councils.

"We call upon the CCG to use the extra funding for mental health services to reopen Phoenix Ward and to fund mental health services in Wells properly," said a spokesperson for the Save St Andrews Ward Campaign.

"The claim that staff recruitment is an issue is also fallacious as this is a problem everywhere, including at Yeovil.

"In order for people to receive the help they need, mental health services need more investment, not cuts or closures.

"Travelling to Yeovil, if the ward is relocated, will be impossible for people without a private car, so family or friends will be unable to visit.

"Patients will find it difficult to get home for short periods as part of their recovery, leading to longer periods of time in a place with which they have no familiarity.

"Vulnerable people, who are already disorientated will be further confused and scared finding themselves in a strange place.

"One patient described being taken to Yeovil as like 'being abducted by aliens'."

But Somerset CCG said, when the decision was made, that it was based on the 'safety of stand alone wards' and that the change will not reduce the number of beds available.