Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Finally, care unit ready

THE rapid access care unit at the new Townlands Hospital in Henley is finally ready to open.

Patients will be able to use the unit from January 23 after additional building work at the £10 million hospital was completed on December 30.

The unit was originally due to open in March last year but this was delayed by the need to convert the first floor, which was built according to the original plans for an 18-bed ward.

It will offer services such as antibiotic treatment and transfusions and will operate alongside a minor injuries unit, podiatry, outpatient services, physiotherapy and out-of-hours GP services as well as the eight beds at the neighbouring Orders of St John care home, Chilterns Court, which opened in November.

Town councillor Ian Reissmann, who chairs the Townlands Steering Group, said: “We are pleased that the unit is finally to open and we hope that this new ambulatory care system is able to provide a service that is at least as good as the old Peppard ward beds.

“The facility itself we believe to be excellent and we have every confidence that the staff will do a wonderful job in looking after those who need to use this important service.”

Henley Mayor Julian Brookes said: “I’m very pleased to see the unit is opening.

“I spent Christmas morning visiting care homes in the area, including Chilterns Court, and I saw there were already patients who they were providing beds for.

“They are step-up, step-down beds, which will relieve the Royal Berks and John Radcliffe hospitals of urgent beds for other patients.”

Henley MP John Howell said: “I’m delighted that the unit is open. It’s an important part of the hospital and with the opening of the care home it brings to a close discussions over future development at the hospital.

“The hospital is already providing a considerable number of services and is getting very good feedback. This unit will provide the additional services which bring the hospital up to full strength.”

Meanwhile, all the staff for the unit have now been recruited.

Dr Alison Espley has been appointed associate specialist for the unit and will work alongside Dr Victoria Britton, a locum consultant, nurses and therapists.

Cllr Reissmann said that despite all services at the hospital being operational by the end of the month, the steering group would continue to press health chiefs on issues such as social care services at the new facility.

He said: “The steering group remains concerned about the ability of the adult social services to adjust to the increased level need for home care packages.

“The strain under which social care services are operating is a key factor in the recent difficulties in the NHS, especially the delayed transfers of care from, for example, the Royal Berks, but we hope that the new system can operate successfully so patients receive the care they need with dignity.”

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