Hospitals face chop
THREE hospitals are facing the axe in controversial plans to move their services to a centralised 'super-hub' at Slough's Wexham Park Hospital.
The proposals could include closing down St Mark's Hospital, in St Mark's Road, Maidenhead, King Edward VII Hospital, in St Leonard's Road, Windsor, and Upton Hospital, in Albert Street, Slough, and transferring services to Wexham Park.
However health chiefs admitted the hospital needs to be 'brought up to scratch' first and said 'valuable' land on the Heatherwood Hospital site in London Road, Ascot, could be sold to fund new facilities.
Charles Waddicor, NHS Berkshire chief executive, said: "There is going to be some changes in how we run health care if we want to keep a district general hospital in Slough.
"Having centres like St Mark's and King Edward comes at a cost - rather than do it at a central hospital.
"Some of the land Heatherwood sits on is very valuable and might not be needed in the future. That money could come back into the trust for better facilities."
The Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is currently in £30m debt.
Mr Waddicor added: "Whatever proposal we come up with some people will be inconvenienced but the reality is what we have now we can't afford."
Berkshire Primary Care Trust owns the three hospitals under threat and is renting out the space. Any closure plans would go to a full public consultation before being brought in.
Slough Councillor Robert Plimmer, speaking at a Health and Scrutiny Panel meeting in The Centre, in Farnham Road, Slough, on Monday, last week, said: "It's more effective to have some services a lot closer to where our people need them.
"I don't know if you would fit anything else in Wexham Park Hospital - there's no space."
However, Colin Pill, Slough LINK chairman, added: "There could be possible closures but I don't think that's a bad thing.
"It was mentioned the outpatients service at Wexham Park could be extended from 10am-9pm, which is revolutionary thinking."
A report looking at ways to save the debt-ravaged Trust were due to be presented to the strategic health authority on Friday.
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Apr 1, 21:20
Apr 2, 10:21
They can't even get inter-department communication right on one site, I fail to see how they can do it on a bigger site. They have often a huge turnover of staff, understaffed wards and a shortage of beds.
The A&E department is effectively an alcohol, drug and fight cool down room with no space for people who have injuries and want to work.
Closing down Ascot is not necessarily a bad idea, my recent experiences with rude staff and generally an empty hospital have lead me to say this... not to say that all staff are bad, most of the foreigners are great and do care, it's normally the English that don't!
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