A DECISION to rename the new Townlands Hospital in Henley in honour of soldiers killed in the First World War should have the backing of Henley residents, say health chiefs.
NHS Property Services says it is willing to look at renaming the hospital the “Townlands Memorial Hospital” but only if it reflects the wishes of locals.
In May, a petition was launched calling for the name of Henley’s old War Memorial Hospital to be included in the new Townlands development.
The idea was first put forward by visitors to an exhibition to mark the centenary of the start of the Great War at the Old Fire Station Gallery in 2014.
Woodcote historian Mike Willoughby, who staged the exhibition as part of the Lest We Forget project, revived the idea following the hospital’s completion.
NHS Property Services, which leases the hospital building, has written to Henley Town Council asking if it supports the name change and whether it thinks the majority of locals do too.
It asked for a response by August 19.
A company spokesman said: “We believe it is important that any decision regarding the name of the hospital reflects the wishes of local people and those who use the hospital.
“We would encourage anyone with any views about the proposal to share them with their local town councillor.”
He added that the cost of renaming the hospital, including new signs, would be anÂ “importantÂ consideration”.
Town councillor Ian Reissmann, who chairs the Townlands Steering Group, said he thought most residents would support the new name.
He said: “It combines the history of healthcare in Henley and the long-standing promise from the NHS to use the funds from the sale of the old War Memorial Hospital to rebuild Townlands.”
Meanwhile, people are being asked to give their views on healthcare in Oxfordshire.
TheÂ Big Health and Care Conversation will involve “roadshows” and drop-in clinics throughoutÂ the county as the NHS faces aÂ funding gap of £200million by 2021.
There is also an online survey which residents can fill out atÂ www.consult.oxfordshireÂ ccg.nhs.uk/consult.ti/BighealthÂ andcare/consultationHome
Programme directorÂ Damon Palmer said: “We really want the public to be partners with us in this process.
“We cannot afford to continue providing services in the way we have done in the past.Â
“Together, we need to re-think how we deliver health and social care services.”