GP proposes closure of three hospitals and creation of £1.8bn super centre
A Berkshire GP is proposing the closure of three hospitals and the development of a new ‘super hospital’ near the M4 motorway.
Dr Phillip Lee told members of the public at a meeting last week about proposals for a new Royal Thames Valley Hospital between junctions 8 and 9.
He is among a group of clinicians championing the creation of specialist centres of clinical excellence located on or near major transport hubs.
It's challenging the perception of what a hospital is for. It's very emotive and there is a certain sentimentality people feel towards their local hospitals
If approved, the hospital would serve a population of 650,000 people in south Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and south Oxfordshire.
But it would mean the closures of Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, and St Mark’s Hospital in Maidenhead. This would generate an estimated £1.8billion from the sale of land to fund the new development.
Dr Lee said after the meeting last week that there is support for the plan, adding: "It's challenging the perception of what a hospital is for. It's very emotive and there is a certain sentimentality people feel towards their local hospitals.
"It challenges the make-do-and-mend which has bedevilled the NHS's approach to infrastructure.
"I was quite pleased it was warmly received - when people hear about it, they do get it.”
The proposal is also being backed by Home Secretary, Theresa May, who is MP of Maidenhead. She said: “I have long supported the concept of a new hospital at this location. It's an important part of the wider debate about the NHS in Berkshire, and I will always look for opportunities to safeguard and enhance local services."
More public meetings will now be held, before NHS trusts in the county are asked to comment formally on the proposals.