Monday, 26 July 2021

New Townlands delay

THE rapid access care unit at the new Townlands Hospital will not open until August 1

THE rapid access care unit at the new Townlands Hospital will not open until August 1 “at the earliest”, it has been revealed.

The Townlands Stakeholder Reference Group was told of the latest delay at a meeting on Tuesday (26) at the hospital’s Maurice Tate room.

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which runs services at the hospital, has not yet recruited a clinical lead for the unit, despite the rest of the hospital opening to patients in March.

The care unit was approved by the commissioning group in September to replace the original plans for 18 beds at the new £16million “health campus”, despite protests by residents, patients and doctors.

It will provide services including antibiotic treatment and transfusions and will run alongside eight beds in the neighbouring Orders of St John care home, with six more available on demand.

Town councillor Stefan Gawrysiak, who sits on the stakeholder’s group, said the closing date for applications for the clinical lead post had been put back until after the Bank Holiday.

He said: “It may well be that the person appointed may have to give two or three months notice and therefore the care unit will possibly open in August or September. The earliest is August 1.

“I would have thought that the interview and appointment for the post would have been taken place last year so that when the hospital opened, the care unit opened at the same time.

“At the moment we have a first floor which is empty.

“Their response was that it was just the way it was at the moment. We’re continuing to hope that it opens earlier than this. I think that for the community of Henley it’s important that it does open earlier than August 1.”

Cllr Gawrysiak also revealed that future meetings of the reference group would be held in public.

The group had been branded “secretive” and “tokenistic” for meeting behind closed doors.

Former chairwoman Corrine Yates had also previously told members not to pass information onto the Henley Standard.

Cllr Gawrysiak said he was “extremely pleased” with the news.

He said: “It’s important that the reference group meetings are public so that they are transparent and accountable and also that people in the community are given an opportunity to voice their concerns, give their congratulations or raise any matters that concern them.’

The next meeting is set to be held in July.

Meanwhile, the hospital’s new x-ray unit will be fully operational in two time, following delays caused by IT problems.

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