The Bell Surgery hosted an online talk on the new hospital development for Royal Berkshire Hospital this week with Programme Director Alison Foster outlining where the project is up to as part of the government’s £25-38 billion New Hospital Programme.
The original Royal Berkshire Hospital was constructed in 1839 and the front part is a Grade 1 listed building which Alison told attendees it costs £2m to keep safe but not useable space and would require £10-13m spend to make it useable but still could not be used as clinical space.
The case for the Royal Berkshire to be added to the New Hospital programme was confirmed in 2019 with factors that included the conditions were not ideal, the hospital is operating beyond its current capacity, the buildings limit the capability of our staff to provide high quality modern healthcare and they contribute to the climate emergency.
In the strategic business case, there were 3 options outlined; 2 to redevelop the existing site and 1 to build on a brand new brownfield site.
Alison said, “The next stage is for an outline business case to be submitted in the next few months which will develop the options further, looking at what they have learned from the pandemic and the use of digital solutions. We are doing a huge optimisation review and the plans for the hospital need to be net zero carbon. We hoping that the construction will take place between 2025-2030.”
The project is called Building Berkshire Together and the Trust are working with key stakeholders and want to engage with the public and get their views.
Questions and feedback from talk attendees included; need to consider public transport if new site chosen, will there be any provision for hospice care? What will the mental health provision be? Need to consider recruitment and accommodation for key workers. Should we not just have specialised hubs rather than a large hospital?
To keep up to date with the latest news or give views on this project go to https://buildingberkshiretogether.co.uk/
The next Bell Surgery Talk is on 14 September at 6pm on Zoom with Dr Reynolds discussing handling Minor Illnesses. To register go email firstname.lastname@example.org