AN Ear Nose and Throat (ENT), audiology and plastic surgery hub is being created at Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley.

The hub is being created by the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust as part of its Covid-19 recovery plans.

From late August 2020, clinics for ENT, plastic surgery and audiology will be available at Townlands for patients from across Berkshire.

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Clinic capacity will also be retained on the other Trust sites at Newbury, Bracknell and Reading, which will act as satellites to the Henley hub.

The move will provide improved facilities for staff and patients at Townlands, and on the Reading site, and will support the Trust in its longer-term redevelopment plans.

The Trust said this is part of a major modernisation of outpatient services, encompassing more virtual clinics, a reduction in unnecessary follow up appointments and provision of easily accessible health care, in terms of technology and location.

Currently, ENT, plastics and audiology services in Reading are housed in buildings which the CQC said during their Inspection last year ‘cause concern’.

The trust said these services have clear clinical and operational interdependencies and will benefit from co-location in the high quality and spacious facilities available at Townlands Memorial Hospital.

ENT Surgeon, Rogan Corbridge said: "It has long been an ambition of mine and my colleagues to provide clinics and minor surgery from the state of the art facilities we have in place at Townlands.

"We will retain some clinics and surgery at the Royal Berkshire Hospital for the convenience of those people who live close to the Reading site, but the whole team are looking forward to the opportunity to be able to provide our services out of a purpose built modern facility.

“One big benefit at Townlands is that thanks to the modern air handling system there we only have to leave a 20 minute ‘rest’ period between patients to comply with Covid rules, currently at the RBH we have to leave rooms for an hour between patients.

"So the move to Townlands means we can see more patients each day.”

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Nicky Lloyd, Acting Chief Executive, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Some of our buildings on the Reading site date from 1839 and are no longer fit for purpose.

"Our ambition is to modernise and provide all our services from state of the art facilities, and relocating some of our ENT, plastics and audiology services is the first step.

"In 2017, we started to provide 10 clinical services from Townlands and there are now 27 operating there today.

“We recognise that by moving ENT, plastics and audiology to a single hub site may mean longer journeys for some.

"We are retaining services at all our sites and are working with local authorities and travel companies to support travel to Henley. "Where possible, we will continue to encourage patients to opt for virtual appointments and check ups from the convenience of their own homes, without the hassle of journeys, parking, taking time off work and arranging child care.

“We’ve also been successful in reducing the numbers of clinically unnecessary follow up appointments, which has been beneficial to both patients and staff.

"I would like to thank all of the teams involved in planning and delivering this - they have really demonstrated our CARE values (Compassionate, Aspirational, Resourceful, Excellent), ensuring that patient services are uninterrupted during this complex move.”