Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital is not among the first five to be given priority for rebuilding.

In a speech on Thursday (May 25), Health Secretary Steven Barclay has prioritised five sites from the 40 on its New Hospital Programme: Airedale in West Yorkshire, Queen Elizabeth King’s Lynn in Norfolk, Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire, Mid Cheshire Leighton and Frimley Park in Surrey, which he says are in the most urgent need of rebuilding.

However, the RBH remains one of those in the programme and discussions continue with Government.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As the Secretary of State for Health Steve Barclay announced in the Commons today, the redevelopment of the Royal Berkshire Hospital is still part of the rolling new hospital programme and we are in ‘active discussions’ about the work and the complexities of the site.

“As these talks continue, we are progressing our outline business case and also pushing ahead with enabling works to ensure we are in a strong position to proceed with the redevelopment as soon as practicable.

“Our priority is to deliver safe and outstanding care to our patients and we are committed to ensuring they continue to receive the best possible treatment as this work progresses.

“We will continue to work closely with our system partners and will involve and engage with our staff, patients, key stakeholders and local people to ensure that when the time comes we will deliver next generation care from the best possible healthcare facilities.”

A spokesperson for Reading Borough Council said on Friday: “We are disappointed that the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust was not listed as one of the five hospitals in yesterday’s Government announcement.

“However, we are pleased that they remain on the programme and we continue to engage with the trust to ensure a new hospital remains at the heart of the town.”

The Government says it is on track to deliver its manifesto commitment to build 40 new hospitals in England by 2030.

The five hospitals to get given priority have reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete which has a limited lifespan, after which it deteriorates rapidly. The new Frimley Park Hospital will be rebuilt on the same site.

Neil Dardis, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have got the go-ahead for this once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve healthcare for the communities we serve. This much-needed new hospital will provide the modern and efficient environment our patients and staff deserve.”

Image: Juan J. Martínez from Exeter, UK, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

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