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westminster memorial hospital shaftesbury
Westminster Memorial Hospital in Shaftesbury.
Photo: Jonathan Hutchins from ww.geograph.org.uk

A further expansion to the NHS’s mental health services in the area will open in Shaftesbury later this year, writes Richard Thomas.

This follows the Friends of Westminster Memorial Hospital announcement this week they have bought another building in Abbey Walk next to the hospital.

The building, bought for a reputed £500,000, is to be used by Dorset Healthcare’s community mental health team that will relocate its unit at Abbeyview Medical Centre in Shaftesbury to 1 Abbey Walk.

The Friends paid a similar sum to buy 2 Abbey Walk two years ago and this is now run by the NHS mental health service Steps2Wellbeing.

The move, announced at the Friends annual meeting on Wednesday, 4 May, is another reversal of the threat to the future of the hospital.

Friends chairman Julian Prichard, who led the successful campaign to save the hospital in 2017, said that he expects the new unit to be open by the end of the year following its refurbishment by Dorset Healthcare.

He said the two buildings will give the hospital ‘an impressive mental health provision.’

He added that with the new wheelchair-accessible electric vehicle, extra parking and access road the Friends have also given to the hospital in the last two years, ‘a huge amount has now been achieved towards securing the long-term future of the hospital.’

The Friends latest annual accounts, published in April, reveal total assets at the end of last year of £1.2 million.

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