East Berkshire mental health move to Reading17th February 2011
East Berkshire is set to be left without mental health inpatient services as the health trust takes steps to save money.
The move by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – which is trying to cut costs by £12m over the next three years - would result in patients from Slough and Maidenhead having to travel up to 20 miles for beds at Reading’s purpose-built Prospect Park Hospital.
It comes after the trust consulted on three options but found that building a new facility in Slough was too expensive while clinicians did not support keeping some services at St Mark’s in Maidenhead.
At present the trust provides hospital care from three sites in east Berkshire, at Wexham Park in Slough, St Mark’s and Heatherwood in Ascot.
A final decision will be made by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Berkshire East in June.
In a joint statement they said that both boards understand the unaffordability of option three – the new Slough facility - in the current and future economic environment.
Keeping some services in Maidenhead, they said, was not viable as it would mean older people being cared for in an environment, which combined patients with unexplained disorders with those whose illnesses could be explained.
Maidenhead MP Theresa May is hoping the trust will change its plans.
She said: “I have always said that it would be unacceptable for vital mental health services for older people to be moved to Reading, leaving Maidenhead residents with no local facilities.”
She will continue to back the case for St Mark’s.
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Title: East Berkshire mental health move to Reading
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 17599
Date Added: 17th Feb 2011