ENT, audiology and plastic surgery services have been located in substandard buildings on the Royal Berkshire Hospital site in central Reading, which ‘caused concern’, according to an inspection last year.
ENT surgeon Rogan Corbridge said, “We will retain some clinics and surgery at the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) for the convenience of those people who live close to the Reading site, but the whole team are looking forward to the opportunity to be able to provide our services out of a purpose built modern facility.”
“One big benefit at Townlands is that thanks to the modern air handling system there we only have to leave a 20 minute ‘rest’ period between patients to comply with Covid rules, currently at the RBH we have to leave rooms for an hour between patients. So the move to Townlands means we can see more patients each day.”
ENT and audiology would be centred at Townlands and replicated within the smaller hub being retained at the RBH. Plastics clinics would be centred at Townlands, while any operations needed for patients would take place at the RBH. The hearing aid repair service would also remain at the RBH.
Access to the various locations would not be based on people’s postcodes but the trust would be encouraging, in particular, people who lived outside the central Reading area, to use Townlands.
Nicky Lloyd, acting chief executive of the trust, said the move “may mean longer journeys” for some patients, but it would work with councils and travel companies to support travel to Henley. “Where possible, we will continue to encourage patients to opt for virtual appointments and check-ups from the convenience of their own homes, without the hassle of journeys, parking, taking time off work and arranging child care,” she added.
“We’ve also been successful in reducing the numbers of clinically unnecessary follow up appointments, which has been beneficial to both patients and staff. I would like to thank all of the teams involved in planning and delivering this – they have really demonstrated our CARE values (Compassionate, Aspirational, Resourceful, Excellent), ensuring that patient services are uninterrupted during this complex move.”
John Howell MP for Henley, said, “I welcome the expansion of clinical services being provided from Townlands. It makes good use of space that has been underutilised since the hospital was built and provides an excellent environment for both clinicians and patients. It will mean health care being provided in a more convenient way, closer to the community and easier to access – all key priorities in the NHS Long Term Plan aimed at transforming healthcare and making it fit for purpose in the 21st century.”