Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Hospital X-ray machines don’t work

PATIENTS visiting the new Townlands Hospital in Henley are unable to have X-rays only a week

PATIENTS visiting the new Townlands Hospital in Henley are unable to have X-rays only a week after the building opened.

The radiology equipment in the £10million hospital’s minor injuries unit is not working and patients are having to be sent as far as Bracknell for X-rays.

Health chiefs say the delay is down to IT problems as the machines require a “secure and robust” connection.

All services from the old hospital were moved to the new building earlier this month, including the minor injuries unit, out-of-hours GPs, podiatry and physiotherapy and district nursing teams.

Last week, the Henley Standard reported how 10-year-old Martha Collins was the first patient to be treated at the new hospital after injuring her finger in a netball match at Rupert House School.

Martha, of Norman Avenue, Henley, was told she should go for an X-ray atthe Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, where it was found she had broken the little finger on her left hand.

Robert Aitken, 69, from Lower Assendon, tried to book an X-ray at Townlands on Monday but was redirected to Bracknell the next day.

Mr Aitken, who is a member of the Townlands Steering Group, said: “I had pneumonia at the end of last year and they wanted me to get a scan to make sure it had gone away. That was due at the end of February but because I had seen they were getting on with the move phase I delayed it until this week.

“I went down to book an appointment assuming it would be available but was told it wasn’t and I would have to go to the Royal Berks or Bracknell. I asked when it might be available and they had no idea.

“The hospital has a fine reception with two receptionists but there appears to be very little else happening. It’s not functioning in the way they have suggested in press releases. It makes a mockery of the huge investment in the hospital.

“Where we are now we could have just have easily stuck a couple of Portacabins on the old unit and run the services from there.”

Mr Aitken, who is the vice- chairman of Bix and Assendon Parish Council, said other patients would find it difficult having to go to Reading or Bracknell for X-rays. He said: “The Royal Berks is a call-in service but there are long waits and parking is a nightmare. Bracknell is a very nice facility with lots of parking but you have to make an appointment. It took me two-and-a-half hours when in Henley it would have been half an hour.

“This all appears to be a continuation of the rampant inefficiency we have seen with Townlands.”

In a joint statement, Oxford Health and the Royal Berkshire NHS foundation trusts, which are providing services at the new hospital, said: “The minor injuries unit is currently operating with full staff. For technical reasons, however, X-ray equipment, though relocated, is not yet online at the new unit. This is due to the need to ensure secure and robust IT connectivity to support radiology services.

“In the meantime, the Royal Berkshire and Oxford Health are working closely with contractors to resolve this issue and we apologise for any inconvenience to those patients affected by this.”

Meanwhile, an independent chairman for the group overseeing services at the new hospital has still not been appointed.

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group agreed to replace the current chairman of the Townlands Stakeholders Reference Group after criticism by the Townlands Steering Group that it was not following its remit to engage with the community and stakeholders.

The group does not meet in public and is chaired by Corrine Yates, head of strategic communications at the commissioning group.

The steering group called it “tokenistic” and “a PR machine” for the commissioning group..

Last week, two people were interviewed for the chairman’s role but not appointment has been made.

A spokesman for the commissioning group added: “A discussion about next steps will be included with the review of the terms of reference when the stakeholders group next meets in April.”

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