Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1108/31594
From The Socialist newspaper, 4 November 2020
Save St Andrews mental health ward
photo, Dave Moody (Click to enlarge)
Dave Moody, Mid-Somerset Socialist Party
The last 14 beds for inpatients at St Andrews mental health ward in Wells, Somerset are set to be moved. After ten years of successive cuts this is all that's left of what used to be 60 beds. After a public consultation that started in January, 75% of residents opposed the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) plan to move the beds to Yeovil, over 30 miles away.
70 people attended a demonstration on 24 October, with support from Mendip and Somerset Trades Union Councils, mental health professionals who work in Wells, and Unite the union members. I spoke on behalf of the Socialist Party, and raised the need for frontline NHS workers and community groups who use the services to have democratic control of planning health services.
In January, I was one of the founding members of a Facebook group 'Save Somerset's Community Services'. The group now has 720 members. In a Zoom meeting discussing the consultation at the beginning of September, the CCG claimed that the fact that local people were opposed to the plan would not change their decision.
Tory MP James Heappey said it was not a financial decision, but one based on the advice of medical experts. He claimed that there was nothing he could do. Since when have Tory politicians listened to expert advice regarding health?
Our campaign group has written letters to local newspapers, the CCG and Heappey demanding that, during the current Covid crisis, St Andrews ward should have its capacity and local crisis teams increased. We currently have an online petition running that has over 1,200 signatures.
Mid-Somerset Socialist Party branch members are active in the campaign, and support the demands of the group to increase beds in St Andrews Ward and stop the closure. We demand an increase in the number of crisis teams to improve early intervention. Mental health services should be provided by the NHS in-house and expanded across the whole of Somerset.
We have more protests planned and will continue leafleting, offering support to any action that staff take to save St Andrews Ward.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 4 November 2020:
What we think
Our lives, our jobs - not safe in Tory hands
Corbyn suspended - Time to fight for a new mass workers' party
Socialism 2020: Mass workers' voice needed
Why the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary
A lockdown that doesn't include education?
Spycops inquiry finally opens
Testing is failing - it's a privatised mess
Furloughed worker speaks out: Let down by insecure contracts
Transport for London given funding stop gap
Usdaw needs a fighting leadership
Birmingham NHS porters' 48-hour strike against shift changes
Optare strikers escalate their action
Chile: A defeat for the right!
Poland: Mass protests against abortion ban
US presidential election 2020
Save St Andrews mental health ward
Leeds protesters demand "Buhari must go!"
Building Bangor Socialist Students
Maybe now they will listen - Refund the fees!
Donate now to the Socialism 2020 appeal
Corbyn suspended: Join the fightback, join the socialists
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