An important visit has been held to discuss the long term future of the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
The hospital in Craven Road, Reading serves more than 500,000 people and is the main provider of hospital services for people in Reading, Newbury, Henley, Wokingham, Berkshire and the surrounding area.
The people in charge of the hospital are currently determining its future, and have even considered building a new facility outside of Reading Borough.
Recently, The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust which governs the hospital, held a meeting with a number of Berkshire MPs to discuss its proposed redevelopment.
The redevelopment could be done three ways: 1) a full rebuild on its current site 2) a partial rebuild with new facilities for vital services or 3) an entirely new hospital built on a separate location, either in South Reading or the Thames Valley Science Park.
These options and more were discussed at a special briefing attended by Matt Rodda, Labour MP for Reading East, and Conservative MPs Theresa May (Maidenhead), James Sunderland (Bracknell) and Laura Farris (Newbury).
Fellow Berkshire Conservative MPs Alok Sharma (Reading West), John Redwood (Wokingham) and a representative for John Howell MO for Henley attended the meeting remotely.
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Those who came in person were able to visit some of the clinical areas, meeting staff to hear first-hand the issues and challenges in delivering modern health care in ageing accommodation.
Steve McManus, Trust chief executive, said: “A new hospital for Reading and Berkshire is vital for the health and care needs of the local population but these needs can’t be met without significant investment over the next decade.
“We are delighted that our MPs are so positive about their visit and supportive of our ambition to modernise our hospital and services.”
For his part, Mr Rodda said: “I am calling for more investment in the NHS and improving the Royal Berks (RBH) is an important part of this.
“There is a strong case for rebuilding the hospital, either on the existing site or in a new one and I am working with other local MPs to urge the Department of Health to increase spending on the RBH.
“I also believe residents, patients and NHS staff should be involved in discussing the hospital’s future and, that services should be accessible.
“I would want RBH to remain in Reading. There would need to be a full consultation on whether to rebuild it on its current site or to consider moving to a new site in the town and transport links and accessibility would need to be considered carefully.
“The historic front of the RBH should also be protected if the existing site was rebuilt, to preserve the historic building.”
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A preferred option for the redevelopment, officially named ‘Building Berkshire Together’, has not been decided on yet.
A consultation is taking place, where comments can be submitted on the Building Berkshire Together website.
The Trust has moved to the next stage of planning which involves submitting an Outline Business Case to the government, which is due in the coming months.
The visit took place on Friday, September 30.