POLITICIANS and campaigners say concerns remain over the potential closure of a mental health unit for people in crisis.

Campaign group Keep our NHS Public and the Swindon Co-operative Party will hit the town centre today in a bid to collect signatures calling on health chiefs to keep the place of safety suite at Sandalwood Court.

It closed last March, with NHS Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group saying the closure would last 12 months while the effectiveness of an expanded facility at Devizes’ Green Lane Hospital was tested.

But the closure proved controversial. Campaigners say it has put some people off seeking help, as they worry about being cared for away from their families.

A consultation was held last month over whether the Swindon suite should be closed permanently. NHS chiefs claim the purpose-built new unit will be safer and reduce waiting times. A dedicated team can be based at Devizes full-time, not spread across the county.

Patrick Herring, chairman of the Swindon Co-operative Party, said: “There are big concerns about the moving of the place of safety. It is wrong to make people who are in desperate need of support travel 45 minutes out of the town and there is no desire to make our already stretched emergency services make the journey when they are needed in Swindon to be able to respond to calls.”

The campaigners will be at the fountain on Canal Walk from 12.30pm to 2pm today.