Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Townlands ‘not rushed’

THE public consultation on the new Townlands Hospital should have been longer, says John Howell.

THE public consultation on the new Townlands Hospital should have been longer, says John Howell.

The Henley MP said an extended consultation period would have allowed interested parties to “make their point more forcefully” and persuaded more people of the case for the hospital not to have the 18 beds originally promised. Mr Howell’s comments are made in an article in this week’s Henley Standard about his recent visit to the new QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, which opened in June and uses the same ambulatory care model.

That development took more than seven years to come together and Mr Howell says this allowed “considerable opportunity for the project to mature and for the commissioning group to take people with them”.

Mr Howell says the decision by Sue Ryder to pull out of a move to the hospital in December 2014 forced the Townlands project forward.

A five-week consultation on plans to cut the number of beds at the new hospital took place in May last year and the final plans were signed off in September.

Mr Howell said: “The disappearance of Sue Ryder, by their own volition, from the scene left everyone thinking about what the hospital should do and brought these issues to the front.

“It’s not about beds, it’s about the whole hospital. The thing we have to remember about Townlands is it will have eight beds with up to six more on demand.

“What I’m saying is if we would have had a longer discussion period then more issues would have been brought out during that time. That’s not to say that it was rushed.

“I think a longer period would have allowed more discussions to take place with everyone involved with the hospital and allowed them to make their point more forcefully.”

Townlands is due to open fully in March and will have a rapid access care unit offering treatments including antibiotic treatment and transfusions.

There will be eight beds in the Orders of St John Care Home that is currently being built on the Townlands campus.

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