Wessex House children's mental health unit to reopen

An inpatient unit in Somerset for young people with mental health problems is set to reopen after closing due to staff shortages.

The 12-bed Wessex House in Bridgwater shut in March 2013.

In the following year, 14 patients under the age of 18 were placed in adult wards against Department of Health rules.

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said a recruitment drive is under way and the unit will reopen in autumn.

The Trust said Somerset Partnership has worked with commissioners to agree a new model of care for inpatient services at Wessex House.

Andy Heron, the chief operating officer said the new model includes an enhanced outreach community service.

The unit is also being refurbished and redesigned to make it more friendly and welcoming for young people.

Head of Specialised Commissioning for NHS England in the South West, Steve Sylvester, said: "We know how difficult it can be for parents and friends when vulnerable young people have to be placed a long way from home, making it hard to visit and provide support.

"That's why we're very pleased to be able to fund beds again at Wessex House, bringing specialist care closer to home."

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