Councillors hear St John’s Court concerns

PUBLISHED: 12:32 17 March 2016


County bosses are to visit a mental health facility in Exmouth, having heard concerns about plans to close it.

Devon County Council’s health and wellbeing scrutiny committee received a report from the Devon Partnership NHS Trust on its plans for St John’s Court.

The trust wants to sell the site and move to more affordable premises in Exmouth, however, campaigners fear this may not be viable and may leave patients worse off.

The committee’s most recent meeting was addressed by representatives from the trust, and also by Dot Taylor, who is leading the campaign to save the facility.

She told councillors: “This report is full of contradictions, and does nothing truthfully to address the consequences of selling off St John’s Court.

“I fear lives will be lost due to these drastic measures, which I feel are not necessary, if the trust entered into genuine dialogue with the campaign members.”

The trust’s Peter Leggatt told the meeting: “Our plans for St John’s Court are nothing to do with reducing services.

“They are about trying to move to a more affordable base in the town.”

The trust’s Jacquie Mowbray-Gould said no decisions had been made.

She said: “We believe it is in the best interests of the organisation to sell St John’s, but at this point in time we have got no alternative estate and we’ve made a commitment that until we do we won’t progress with any suggested moves.”

However, raising concerns, Councillor Eileen Wragg said: “There’s a great deal of uncertainty, and this is among people who have in some instances very serious and ongoing mental health problems, so they are very, very worried and it’s not helping their condition.”

Concluding the debate, committee chairman Cllr Richard Westlake suggested a site visit, to which the committee agreed.

He told the trust representatives: “You haven’t shown an alternative and we haven’t heard from the consultation group what they feel about that alternative.

“I say we note the report and would like to have a site meeting. Then we can move on from there.”

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