Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Hospital in need of good news

HENLEY’S new town manager is to help turn around “negative PR” about Townlands Hospital.

Helen Barnett is to work with the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Townlands Stakeholder Reference Group.

Health chiefs have repeatedly come under fire for delays in the opening of the hospital’s rapid access care unit, which is due to open next month, 10 months after the new £10million hospital opened to patients.

The unit replaces the “lost” beds at the old hospital.

Ms Barnett said she would be working with Corrine Yates, the commissioning group’s head of communications and engagement, to ensure “timely positive stories and clearer messaging about the benefits”.

In March Ms Yates was forced to step down as chairman of the stakeholder group following accusations that it has failed to engage with the community.

The group was said to be a “PR machine” for the commissioning group and refused to hold meetings in public.

Since then a new, independent chairman has been appointed and some of the group’s meetings are now held in public.

The opening of the care unit was delayed by the need to convert the first floor of the hospital, which was built according to the original plans with an 18-bed ward.

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