10:13AM, Friday 30 March 2012
Concerned Slough councillors are continuing to mount opposition to the decision to transfer inpatient mental health services to Prospect Park Hospital in Reading.
Bosses at NHS Berkshire voted through the decision in January.
Beds in Ward 10 at Wexham Park are set to be the first to move to Reading.
An extraordinary health scrutiny panel meeting is being held at The Centre in Farnham Road on Thursday.
Ahead of the meeting, members of the panel are visiting the hospital to see what it is like and how difficult it is to reach from Slough.
Vice-chairman of the panel, Cllr Julia Long, is among those who will be making the trip.
Cllr Long (Con, Upton) said: "We are not at all happy about this, we want to go there and see it.
"Our big concern is we feel patients will be very isolated there, people won't go to visit them. It is not really acceptable to us."
Joining her at Prospect Park will be Cllr Roger Davis.
He says he will be trying out the public transport options including trains and buses and seeing how long it takes, how difficult or easy it is and what the cost is.
Cllr Davis (Lab, Cippenham Green) said: "The problem is when you have mental health problems and you are stuck miles away from loved one's it puts more strain on you."
At the panel's last meeting in February, members requested the full details of the estates rationale behind NHS Berkshire's decision including details of the costs involved in the options considered.
They also requested that the decision should be referred to the Secretary of State but council officers believe 'that it is not the most appropriate response for the health scrutiny panel to make at this stage'.
NHS Berkshire has said moving 65 beds and redeveloping Prospect Park is financially viable as it will cost between £5-6million, whereas a new build at Upton would cost in excess of £20million.
It also says the move has clinical support, that Prospect Park is a purpose-built facility for mental health inpatients and that more community services will be implemented across east Berkshire to reduce the need for hospital admissions.