Plans for a new 30 bed mental health hospital adjacent to the Wellesley Hospital at Chelston have been submitted to Taunton Deane Borough Council. A decision is expected by 16 October after a public consultation process.
The plans were submitted by Montpellier Estates for a medium and low-secure treatment and rehabilitation hospital for patients of 18 years and above across the South West with a range of mental health problems. Elysium Healthcare which already runs the 75 bed medium to low-secure mental health hospital at Chelston would operate the new unit.
Wellington Town Council recommended that permission be granted for the new unit following the WTC meeting on 6 August. Wellington Mayor, Councillor Gary James, welcomed the employment opportunities it would bring to the town. He said: “The council decided to support the plans as it gives a facility for people so they don’t have to travel far to get the treatment they need or to see their loved ones receiving care. It will bring in new job opportunities and is in a good location being next to Wellesley Hospital.”
It is anticipated that 225 full-time jobs would be created from the proposal with £20 million invested in the local area.
The Wellesley Hospital opened in February 2017 and was inspected by the Care Quality Commission in October 2017. As a result of that inspection the CQC issued four requirement notices relating to patient safeguarding, staff qualifications and record-keeping. It was inspected again in May 2018 when inspectors concluded that the provider had taken sufficient action to meet the requirements set out. It was assessed as ‘Good’ in all categories of inspection. However, the report also noted high vacancy rates in staffing, high levels of staff turnover and a compliance rate for mandatory training courses of less than 75%.
The south-west has the lowest provision of secure beds in England with just one bed per 27,000 head of population compared to the East of England which has one bed per 5,000 per head of population. Elysium Healthcare works alongside Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Avon and Wiltshire Foundation Trust, Cornwall Foundation Trust, Cygnet Healthcare and Livewell in providing mental health treatment in the region.
Details of the plans can be found on TDBC’s planning website – application number 43/18/0079.