Tuesday, 03 August 2021

Community room will be included in Townlands

A ROOM for use by community groups will be included in the new Townlands Hospital development.

A ROOM for use by community groups will be included in the new Townlands Hospital development.

Health chiefs have given this pledge after the Henley Standard revealed last week there was no mention in the plans for the new £16 million “health campus” of a replacement for the Maurice Tate Room that is in the current building.

Previously, they had refused to answer whether there would an equivalent facility.

A spokesman for the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is currently carrying out consultation on the services to be provided at the new hospital, said: “The Maurice Tate Room will be included within the new building as we know it is important to local people.

“Once we have completed the consultation and are clear about the model of care that is needed at Townlands, we will be looking at how to best use the building to deliver those new services.

“As we do this, we will consider where best to locate the Maurice Tate Room within the building.” The room was opened in 1973 in memory of Maurice Tate, chairman of Henley Round Table, who died following a car crash in 1969.

It has been used by a range of community groups, including the Henley Talking Newspaper, which makes weekly recordings there.

Chairman Richard Hodgkin said: “We’re extremely grateful that a room is going to be built. It will be a great comfort to everybody.”

Mr and Mrs Tate’s son David, who is the joint managing director of estate agents Davis Tate, said: “I think it’s great they have responded to the concerns raised by a number of groups.

“It’s testament to the involvement the town has had in the redevelopment of Townlands.

“We’re very pleased they have acknowledged the importance of that facility to the community and we’re looking forward to seeing the new Maurice Tate Room within the new building.”

Concern about reprovision of the room had risen since the publication of the commissioning group’s public consultation document about services to be provided at the new hospital and its plans to cut the number of beds.

The new Maurice Tate Room was due to be located on the second floor of the new building but the group said it had no need of the space, which was also going to be used by Sue Ryder until the charity pulled out.

Meanwhile, GPs in Henley are set to continue working at Townlands Hospital.

In January, the Henley Standard revealed that the Bell and Hart surgeries had lost the contract to care for patients at the hospital after almost 30 years.

The Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said the decision not to renew it was in order to increase medical provision at community hospitals across the county.

However, after protests by the GPs, town councillors and patients, the trust agreed to consider a rethink. Now weeks of talks have resulted in a new agreement.

Dr Philip Unwin, of the Hart Surgery, said a new contract would be signed but a date had not been fixed.

“Things are moving as if the contract has been signed anyway,” he said. “We are satisfied and the trust is satisfied and it’s all going ahead.

“I’m delighted as we wanted to go on looking after the hospital and, in large part, the fact we have been successful in getting this is because we were able to get the support of the town behind us, which was great.”

Dr Unwin also questioned plans by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group to cut the number of beds from the 18 originally proposed to about five.

He said: “We don’t want to lose the beds but we’re not party to the commissioning group’s bigger plans about healthcare in Oxfordshire.

“We’re not convinced at the moment that not having beds is the right way forward but we’re keeping an open mind.

“We’re committed to looking after the patients in those beds as long as they’re there.”

More News:

POLL: Have your say