HOSPITAL beds will not be available in Henley for a least six months after the new Townlands Hospital is built
HOSPITAL beds will not be available in Henley for a least six months after the new Townlands Hospital is built.
Instead, patients will be cared for at Wallingford Community Hospital after the Peppard ward at the current hospital closes on November 1.
The news was revealed at a consultation meeting organised by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group last week.
It wants to cut the number of beds from the 18 originally promised in the redevelopment to about five.
Patients being cared for at the hospital at the time of the war closure would be relocated to community hospitals while a 64-bed care home, run by the Orders of St John Trust Care, is built within the new complex.
The commissioning group says it then wants to "purchase" five beds from the care home.
Chief executive David Smith said: "The proposal is that the beds that will be required will be at the Orders of St John care home but that will not be open until six months later.
"During that period for those people who need a bed that service it will be provided at Wallingford.
"We will be putting a contract in place with the Orders of St John."
It was an ill-tempered meeting at Phyllis Court Club in Henley.
One woman shouted out: "You're not asking us what we want, you're telling us!"
Former mayor Dr Barry Wood, who sits on the Townlands Steering Group, said people could be displaced to community hospitals, not only in Wallingford, but also in Banbury and Abingdon.
The commissioning group wants more people to receive care at home.
There is a proposed increase in social care to help with this but it was met by cynicism from the audience who raised concerns about funding.
Mr Smith said there would be a commitment from Oxfordshire County Council that resources would be put into social care.
He was also pressed on the commissioning group's plans for the second floor after Sue Ryder pulled out before Christmas.