The news that Wellington Community Hospital is to reopen in January has been welcomed by The League of Friends which has provided support over the last 50 years.
The League of Friends’ Treasurer, John Bailey, said, “The League of Friends are delighted with the news and await the re-opening with great anticipation.
“We will continue to support the Community Hospital with our fund-raising activities – the next of which is our Christmas Coffee Morning from 10.00 till 12.00 at the Baptist Church Hall, South Street.
“We welcome everyone to celebrate with a mince pie and a coffee. Admission is free and we will have a raffle as well as a number of stalls selling a variety of things.
“We thank the local community for their support in the past and especially over the past couple of months. It just shows what can be achieved by everyone coming together to ensure the best for Wellington.”
Whilst welocoming the news that the hospital is now to be reopened, there was continued disquiet regarding the decision to close Stratfield House. John said, “It was made absolutely clear by representatives from SCC at meetings this week in the town that this is a decision that will not be reversed, despite a very strong movement within the community against the proposal, not least from those who currently make use of the facility and who will be left wondering what is going to be available to them to care for their affected loved ones.
“The League of Friends believe this to be savage blow aimed at some of the people most needing the service and most vulnerable to its’ loss. It would appear that little has been done so far by SCC to find alternative care for the most advanced dementia cases and with such a short time left, and with holidays in between, the closure becomes an ever more pressing burden on these people. Not knowing must be a great strain.
“It has been said by SCC representatives that the facility is “outdated” and is no longer “viable”. The League of Friends disputes this as the service provided has been of great benefit to those using it. It has capacity both in physical terms and in staffing to handle more patients than have been going recently and we believe that this would unquestionably make the centre viable.
“The fact that referrals to the centre have been withheld or delayed leads to the idea that the ‘spend’ per patient is not economic, BUT with a clear need and patients available to use the centre this seems like a rather poor way of assessing its’ economic situation.
“It seems impossible for SCC and the Somerset Partnership NHS Trust to get together and formulate another ‘contract’ to replace the one expiring at the end of January. They both say this is not possible BUT cannot say why. After all, a contract is only an agreement written on a piece of paper and with some goodwill on both sides, and importantly goodwill toward the future of a large group of distressed patients and carers, it should surely be possible to keep Stratfield House open for the good of all.”