Little medical knowledge is required to realise the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s (RBH) site in Reading is not perfect.

A hospital that requires £200 million of maintenance just to bring it up to scratch, clearly needs major surgery.

Which makes it all the more difficult to fathom why the Battle Hospital in West Reading was closed around 15 years ago with all its services transferred to the RBH, which was already cramped.

The Battle Hospital had entrances front and back, lots of surface parking and even spare land. It was also close to frequent buses. The RBH has ever increasing parking problems which spill out around the neighbouring areas and nowhere near as much public transport.

So while there is still land available near Thames Valley Science Park, where the Rutherford Cancer Centre is already operating from, it must be worth considering. It could be the last chance for a major relocation of the entire hospital as land around Reading is fast disappearing.

It could also help bring about the idea of a medical school/teaching hospital which the University of Reading and the RBH have discussed.

Reading Borough Council made clear it wants to keep the hospital in the borough while Wokingham would not respond to our enquiries so perhaps there is a battle between authorities who wouldn’t mind this major employer within their boundaries.

However, if the Green Park option is realistic, then it may prove much better for public transport links with the South Reading mass rapid transit already established and even a train station on the way. Not many hospitals have access to rail services.

Whatever happens, the prospect of rebuilding on the same landlocked site would seem the least preferable option. And, as programme director Alison Foster states, a difficult option at which to achieve net zero carbon. 

It would seem there are no perfect remedies for the RBH.

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