News

Lord-Lieutenant officially opens £10m hospital in Oxfordshire

Tim Stevenson OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, unveils a commemorative plaque at the ceremony

by Alex Cameron

The new Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley-on-Thames was officially opened in a ceremony yesterday (28 March) by Tim Stevenson OBE, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Oxfordshire.

Welcoming some 45 guests to the hospital, he unveiled a plaque commemorating the opening, saying: “This is the first time I’ve had the privilege of opening a hospital and what an extraordinarily impressive facility it is. That it’s here at all, and that it is of the quality it is, is thanks to most of the people who are here to celebrate its opening; on behalf of her Majesty I would like to say well done everybody. It will clearly improve access to healthcare for people from a wide area, giving a much better holistic service than was available before.”

Guests at the ceremony.

The event, attended by guests including the Mayor of Henley, Julian Brookes, also recognised the success of the facility during its first year of operation.

In the first 11 months (April 2016 – March 2017) the minor injuries unit managed 5,498 patients with 98% seen and treated within the four hour target and the out-of-hours service provided support to 8,314 local people.

The Rapid Access Care Unit, which has been running since 23 January 2017, has also been providing vital services, supporting 43 new patients; 130 follow-up treatments and eight patients through the RACU beds in its first nine weeks of operation.

Head of urgent and ambulatory care at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Christine Hewitt, said: “The more spacious, modern hospital has enabled the trust to provide services to an average of about 2,600 people a month.

“As well as the district nursing service, other community health services are also now firmly re-established with a variety of clinics running daily for podiatry, musculoskeletal physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and dietetic services. 

“The Minor Injuries Unit is a purpose-built facility with provision for four patients at any one time, X-ray facilities and a plaster room with two additional consultation rooms providing additional privacy. The unit allows the out-of-hours GP service to be provided within this facility thus offering additional support and expertise at weekends.

“With collaborative clinical input from Royal Berkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, the trust operates the recently opened Rapid Access Care Unit (RACU) which enables us to provide next day treatments for people -predominantly those aged 65 and over – closer to home.”

James Page, of NHS Property Services, with Lord Lieutenant Tim Stevenson.

James Page, Property Strategy Manager for NHS Property Services, said: “We hope local people are as proud as we are of this superb hospital. It is a wonderful facility that will serve the people of the Henley area for many years to come. We’d like to thank all our NHS and community partners who have worked so hard for so long to help bring about this landmark day.”

Dr Antoni Chan, Consultant Rheumatologist at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT) and RBFT Clinical Lead for the Townlands Memorial Hospital project said: “The new hospital and additional space it provides has enabled the RBFT, over the last year, to increase the number of clinical sessions it provides in audiology, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, ENT, gastroenterology, neurology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, pain management, rheumatology and urology.  It now sees over 1,200 attendances a month in the outpatient department.  The Trust has also introduced a variety of new clinics which include respiratory medicine, plastic surgery and bariatric care.

“As well as running the outpatient services at Townlands, the RBFT, in collaboration with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, provides clinical input to the recently opened Rapid Access Clinical Unit (RACU), a service which has been well received by the local community.”

Mike Willoughby, who led a successful campaign to rename the hospital, Tim Stevenson and Henley Mayor Julian Brookes.

David Smith, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Townlands Memorial Hospital is a great example of how health organisations and the communities they serve can work together on building a modern health facility. We’re very proud of what’s been achieved here and hope to see things go from strength to strength as its reputation for excellence continues to grow.

The RACU is a consultant and GP led service designed to make shorter, next day treatments available locally, via the GP, for adult patients. It provides expert clinical professional care and support, helping to avoid a stay in hospital away from home, family and friends.

Townlands Memorial Hospital