Turning Back Time 2014 – Townlands Hospital

After a long campaign to keep 12 hospital beds at the new Townlands Hospital which failed, in June 2014 a ground breaking ceremony took place for the new £10m hospital.  The hospital finally opened in 2016 after a delay.  In December 2014 Sue Ryder pulled out of having a 12 bed hospice on the top floor and this was left empty until August 2020 when the Royal Berkshire ENT Outpatient department finally took it over.  The hospital was renamed the Townlands Memorial Hospital in October 2016 in a nod to the heritage of the former Henley-on-Thames and District War Memorial Hospital which was championed by Mike Willoughby from the Henley Lest We Forget project.

Ground Breaking Ceremony for New Townlands Hospital

An official ceremony to mark the start of the redevelopment of Townlands Hospital took place this morning (Monday 23 June) with key members of the Henley community and local NHS partners present.

Robin Williams, Chair of NHS Property Services, said: “Today is a proud day for everyone involved in the project as we mark the construction of this fantastic new healthcare facility.

“We sincerely thank everyone for their hard work and involvement in bringing the project to this exciting point. IMG_0124Although there is still a lot of work to do, today signifies the huge amount of progress that has been made.

“I am very much looking forward to seeing the construction of the hospital progress and coming back when it is complete and ready to be opened.”

Mike Leto, Project Director for Amber Solutions for Care said: “This is an exciting stage in the re-development of Townlands, which will provide the NHS with real value for money in enhancing the community’s existing healthcare facilities. We are looking forward to managing the project in partnership with NHS Property Services and VINCI Construction UK.”

The central part of the site will be devoted to healthcare and will provide a variety of services, including inpatient, outpatient and ambulatory care, x-ray, podiatry, physiotherapy and dentistry.

There will be a specialist 12-bed hospice in the new hospital. On the remainder of the site, Oxfordshire County Council and their partners will also develop a 64-bed care home, while the existing land and Listed Buildings will be adapted and extended to provide 32 assisted-living and 12 new “key worker” residences.

IMG_0129NHS Property Services owns the 2.36 hectare Townlands site and Amber Solutions for Care has been appointed to design, build, fund and maintain the new health facility. Construction will take around two years.

Councillor Ian Reissmann, Chair of the Townlands Steering Group, said: “Today is an exciting day for everyone in and around Henley who relies on Townlands Hospital.

“The community has been unwavering in its support for Townlands and ensuring this redevelopment secures its long-term future in a 21st Century setting. “It has been a long struggle since the War Memorial Hospital closed in 1983 and we would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved for their hard work and commitment in getting the project to this point with construction underway. “We are now looking forward to seeing the build progress and the new facilities open in 2016.”

John Howell MP said, “My congratulations to all those who have helped get the Townlands development to this stage.  It has been a project long in the making.  It gives me a sense of personal satisfaction in seeing the new hospital reach this stage of development.  I took this issue up with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, and together with Dan Poulter MP, the relevant Minister in the Department of Health, have worked with NHS Property Services to ensure that it can be brought to completion.  It shows the level of commitment to the project that it has successfully reached this far.  I would also like to thank local NHS chiefs who have supported this project.  I met with David Smith, the new boss of Oxfordshire’s Clinical Commissioning Group last Friday and invited him down to Henley to see the development of the hospital for himself and to familiarise himself with the project..  This he agreed to do.  I was very happy to give him some of the background of the project.”

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