Petition against possible loss of St John's Court

PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 April 2015

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A petition is being launched to oppose the possible closure of a mental health facility in Exmouth.

St John’s Court, which supports adults and older people with mental health needs, is the subject of a review by the Devon Partnership NHS Trust, alongside its other buildings in the county.

The announcement of the petition by Dot Taylor, whose son attends the facility, comes as NHS bosses move to reassure residents that mental health services to Exmouth would not be reduced.

Mrs Taylor, who will be in the Magnolia Centre with the petition on Saturday from 10am, says she has already had strong support.

She said: “I went to Friends’ UK and people were queuing up to sign the petition.

“It’s something people feel very, very strongly about. It’s a much-needed facility in this area.”

The medical director for Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Dr David Somerfield, said: “We would like to reassure local people that we have no plans whatsoever to reduce mental health services in Exmouth. Quite the opposite in fact. Demand for our services is gradually increasing every year and we know we will need to support more people with mental health needs in the future - particularly older people.

“The debate we are having is about how and from where we can best deliver our services - it absolutely isn’t about reducing services in any way. There is no threat to the quality or quantity of mental health services in the town. We want to spend as much of our budget as possible on people, and as little as possible on unnecessary bricks and mortar.

“This does mean that, in the future, people who need our support may be seen by their mental health worker in a different place, but the vast majority of people that we see in and around Exmouth are already seen in their own homes or other community settings - not at St John’s Court.

“We will be equipping our staff with better and more mobile technology so that they can spend more of their time with people and less of it sitting at their desk or in the car - and this is good news for everyone.”

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