Mental health wards to close
Published 20 Aug 2010 07:00 0 Comments
TWO mental health wards at Heatherwood Hospital will close under radical plans from Berkshire health bosses.
Berkshire Healthcare Trust, which looks after mental health in the county, is considering three proposals for the future of in-patient care across the county, but each option spells the end of wards 12 and 14 at Heatherwood in Ascot, which provide a total of 45 adult beds.
Chief executive Philippa Slinger said: "Heatherwood and Wexham Park can't accommodate us in the long term. We rent space from them and they have plans for the space we occupy."
One proposal on the table is that all mental health in-patients will move to Reading's Prospect Park Hospital, the second is for elderly mental health patients to be cared for at St Marks Hospital in Maidenhead, and all other patients at Prospect Park, and the third involves building a new designated mental health unit in Slough.
People in Bracknell have the opportunity to have their say from today (Wednesday) as a leaflet detailing each option will drop through every door in the town. There will also be a series of public meetings from September.
The plans come as the trust looks to save £12m over the next three years amid a funding squeeze from central government.
Mrs Slinger said: "For several years the NHS had been given money to grow and expand services as well as cover the cost of pay and price increases. In these leaner times the level of growth money into the NHS will be much less.
"It is as a result of these considerations that we have had to devise these options and now feel the time is right to ask the public for their reactions to help us make the best decision."
The trust is expected to choose its preferred option in February.
n Public meetings will be held on the following dates: Monday, September 6, at the Morgan Centre, Crowthorne, from 2.30-4.30pm; Tuesday, September 7, at Easthampstead Baptist Church in Bracknell from 2.30-4.30pm; Thursday, September 30, at Sandhurst Community Hall from 2.30-4.30pm; Tuesday, October 5, at Easthampstead Baptist Church from 7-9pm and Friday, October 22, at Carnation Hall Ascot from 2.30-4.30pm.
More information is on the trust website at www.berkshire.nhs.uk/publicconsultation
This article appeared in Bracknell News 19 Aug 10