Shaping the Future consultation exercise 'a sham' says Royal Borough councillor
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A consultation exercise about the future of healthcare provision in east Berkshire has been described as a "sham".
The Royal Borough's cabinet member for adult services and health, Councillor David Coppinger, has said that residents' views have been ignored.
He was speaking after the release of a report to be put before the board of Berkshire East Primary Care Trust (PCT), on March 26.
The Shaping the Future programme says the PCT should move the minor injuries unit to Bracknell; permanently close the maternity-led birthing unit at Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot and close the rehabilitation ward there in favour of providing rehabilitation services in the community.
Berkshire East Primary Care Trust (PCT) board meets to decide whether to approve these recommendations on Tuesday.
Cllr Coppinger said: "The views expressed by local people during the Shaping the Future consultation appear to have been totally ignored - and little wonder our residents in Ascot and The Sunnings feel the consultation was a sham.
"The recommendations going to the board next week show scant regard to the views expressed by the Royal Borough and service users that there should be local services for local people. If the board decides to agree the recommendations we will have a reduction in services and local people will lose out."
Chairman of the adult services and health overview and scrutiny panel, councillor Sayonara Luxton, is also writing to the PCT board, setting out concerns about the 'flawed' consultation process and the total opposition to the transfer of any more services from Heatherwood, particularly the minor injuries unit and rehabilitation services.
She said: "Here in the Royal Borough we believe in putting residents first but, despite a strong and well argued case for the retention of services at Heatherwood, local voices are being ignored. We have always said that we are not against improving and enhancing services and we understand the need for the PCT to save money, but these proposed service cuts are not the right way to go about it."
To see the report click here
Have your say
Questions and comments about the decision-making process can be submitted until noon on Monday (25).
They can be posted to the chief executive's office at NHS Berkshire, 57-59 Bath Road, Reading RG30 2BA or by email to email@example.com
To attend the meeting, call 0118 982 2709 or email STFteam@berkshire.nhs.uk
This article appeared in Bracknell News 21 Mar 13