Monday, 20 September 2021

New hope in hospital beds fight

UP to 14 beds could now be provided at the new Townlands Hospital in Henley

UP to 14 beds could now be provided at the new Townlands Hospital in Henley.

The total would be made up of five to eight on permanent lease from the neighbouring 64-bed care home and others leased from the home on demand.

The move follows a meeting between health chiefs and the Townlands Steering Group and other stakeholdwers, which was chaired by Henley MP John Howell.

The original plans for the new £16million ?health campus? included 18 beds but the the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group planned to replace them with five to eight beds and a new next-day rapid access care unit to encourage more home-based care. This prompted the Henley Standard?s Save Our Beds campaign and resulted in a march through the town of about 2,000 people last month.

Now the commissioning group has agreed that the likely number of beds will be up to 14, which is the total on the exisiting Peppard ward.

The meeting agreed to set up a number of working groups, one of which will discuss how the leasing the beds on demand will work.

Mr Howell said: ?At last the commissioning group has been able to put forward the figures on the total number of beds that are likely to be provided rather than just the permanent beds in the care home. ?I?m pleased to see that number is the same as the number of beds on Peppard ward.?

The beds will be under the supervision of a consultant as well as full-time, fully qualified nurses supervised by the Care Quality Commission.

Mr Howell said: ?I?m continuing to try to negotiate with the commissioning group to get the best possible deal for the hospital.

?I am very pleased that we had all the principal stakeholders in the same room to discuss these issues.

?The commissioning group listened carefully to the points made by the steering group. As a result of the discussion, we agreed a programme of work which would be undertaken jointly by the commissioning and steering groups.

?This will cover the definition of the catchment area to be covered by the hospital and more information on the nursing provision to be provided by the Orders of St John [care home].

?It will also include discussion of the speed and availability of community and social care to explore the capacity to support the timely provision of care packages, and the transition plans.

Town councillor Ian Reissmann, chairman of the Townlands Steering Group, said: ?I found the meeting positive and constructive. All sides were keen to reach a common understanding.

?I am glad that we have agreed for a number of working groups to be put together to look at specific issues.

?This should help us bottom-out some of the remaining points including whether, at least in the transition phase, any beds can go into the hospital.?

Councillor John Cotton, leader of South Oxfordshire District Council who also attended the meeting, said: ?It has been important to get both sides in one room and I?m very grateful to John Howell for chairing the meeting.

?It seems to me that the areas of disagreement are not that great ? it?s as much about sharing information as anything else.

?I hope that the working groups can now bring everyone even closer together and that an agreement on the best way forward for healthcare in Henley can be reached.?

David Smith, chief executive of the commissioning group, said: ?I was pleased that we had a full and frank discussion with members of the steering group.

?We have committed to working together on a number of issues and to meet again to hear the outcome of this work.?

The next meeting will be heard on September 1.

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