The government needs to make a “quick decision” on the future of Royal Berkshire Hospital, a prominent councillor has said.

It comes after the government’s health secretary Steve Barclay said the deadline for a new hospital building was “stretching.”

Wokingham Borough councillor Clive Jones wrote to Barclay on Tuesday demanding to know when there would be new building plans for Royal Berkshire Hospital—and how much money the government will provide.

Royal Berkshire, based in Reading, is among the 40 new hospitals that former prime minister Boris Johnson promised would be built by 2030.

But in parliament last Thursday, 25 May, Barclay avoided giving a specific timeline for the construction of a new building.

He told MPs that “problems with the existing site” at the hospital had “made a 2030 completion date very stretching.”

He added: “Part of the site is grade I listed, and there have been some specific issues with the existing site on which survey work has been undertaken.”

Now, Cllr Jones has written to Barclay demanding more answers. His letter says: “It is very disappointing that the rebuilding or re-siting of the Royal Berkshire Hospital will not go ahead with a completion date of 2030 as promised by your government.

“Parts of the current hospital were built in 1839 and are now not able to be used effectively or efficiently. We should not be asking doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to be working in these old buildings.”

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Cllr Jones said he had also written to Wokingham MP, Conservative John Redwood, asking him to lobby Barclay too. Jones plans to stand against Redwood in the general election likely to take place next year.

But Redwood said Cllr Jones should wait until local NHS managers had decided on plans themselves.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “As Councillor Jones should know the local NHS management have not decided if they wish to redevelop on the existing site or plan a new hospital elsewhere.

“Until they have decided and presented a business case, ministers cannot approve money for the project. If Councillor Jones wishes to help then he should seek clarification of aims from the Health Trust, as I have asked for.”

A spokesperson for Royal Berkshire Health Trust told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We have submitted our business case which outlines a number of options including the redevelopment or a new Royal Berkshire Hospital built on the current site or at an alternative location.

“The older part of the hospital on London Road is listed and this brings challenges for the future when building a hospital fit for modern clinical care.

“We are also on a constricted site surrounded by residential and a conservation area so this all needs to be carefully considered in the plans. We are working with the New Hospital Programme team to understand the scheduling of projects as this will determine when we can start construction.”