02:57AM, Thursday 27 September 2012
Proposed transport arrangements for visitors to mental health inpatients at Prospect Park Hospital in Reading have been presented at a meeting in Slough.
As from February 2014 mental health inpatients from St Mark's Hospital will be moved there following the closure of Charles Ward.
The transport proposals put forward by BHFT include reimbursing mileage, covering the distance between the visitor's house to Prospect Park minus the distance to the original hospital they visited, at 18-21p per mile.
The second proposal would be to use a private hire taxi service for visitors who are elderly, disabled or are medically unfit, or on benefits or reliant on public transport.
Assistance will only be provided to those who would otherwise not be able to visit, who have a disability or medical condition, those over 65 and those who receive benefits, but individual cases may be reviewed.
Suggestions for the plan had included a community bus service, which the trust says could still be an option if the need arises.
It was presented to Slough Borough Council's health scrutiny panel on Tuesday last week by Grant Macdonald and Karen Watkins from BHFT.
Mr Macdonald said: "People who believe they need assistance and do not fall within the conditions can speak to us. We are quite flexible."
Patients from Wexham Park Hospital in Slough are expected to transfer to the new site in February, with patients from Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot following in August 2013.
The axe fell on Charles Ward in January despite an Advertiser campaign to save it.
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