Campaigners deem Heatherwood meeting a successBy Hugh Fort
November 27, 2012
Campaigners fighting plans to close parts of Heatherwood Hospital hailed its first public meeting a success after 30 people registered their opposition to the NHS plan.
Terry Pearce, chairman of Defend Our Community Services (DOCS), said many wanted the Birthing Centre reopened.
He said: “Speakers from the audience, many of whom were born at Heatherwood, expressed concern at the proposed closures.
“Likewise fears were expressed that if the Rehabilitation Ward closes, patients could become isolated in their own homes due to lack of funding and resources in the community.
“As for the proposed closure of the Minor Injuries Unit, people cannot understand the logic of closing a well-equipped and popular service.”
The DOCS meeting on Monday, November 19, chaired by Val Pearce, was the first in a series opposing the Shaping the Future of Healthcare proposals.
Speakers included members of Save Heatherwood Hospital Campaign Margery Thorogood, Spike Humphrey and Terry Pearce.
The Bracknell branch of Unite supported the meeting.
Secretary Ed Glasson said: “Many people still seem unaware this consultation period is going on with a NHS document that has a questionnaire in the middle which can be completed and returned by free post.”
The proposed changes at 90-year-old Heatherwood involve moving the minor injuries unit to Brants Bridge in Bracknell and closing rehabilitation ward 8 in favour of rehabilitation at, or close to, home.
Heatherwood’s Birthing Centre opened in 2008, but in 2011 only 210 women gave birth there and 20 per cent of those were transferred to Wexham Park because of complications.
Clinicians will explain the proposals at a meeting at The Grange Hotel, Bracknell, on Thursday, December 6 but people must register to attend.
Call 0800 148 8572 or go to www.berkshire.nhs.uk/shapingthefuture.
Copies of the Shaping the Future document can be ordered on (0118) 982 2709 or by emailing STFteam@berkshire.nhs.uk.
The consultation closes on January 31 2013.