Despite being a large town Bracknell does not have a hospital of its own. Instead it is serviced by Frimley, Slough, Reading and Ascot. Our nearest hospital is Ascot (by some distance)
- Heatherwood Hospital (Ascot) – 3 miles
- Frimley Park Hospital – 10 miles
- Royal Berks (Reading) – 11 miles
- Wexham Park (Slough) – 16 miles
This is why it’s extremely disappointing that the hospital continues to lose more and more of its acute services. The A&E went years ago and the Medical Admissions Unit disappeared a few months ago. As a Bracknell resident if you have a heart attack today you’re likely to be driven all the way to Wexham Park Hospital, this is on the north side of Slough and is only a couple of miles from the Buckinghamshire border.
Our son was born in Heatherwood only last year, I suspect he’ll be one of the last babies born in Ascot as the maternity ward looks like it could close in the next few years. There has been much talk from the PCT of making the footprint of the hospital site smaller by “consolidating” wards or moving services away from Ascot. Being the cynical chap I am I’m wondering if the high land values of the Ascot site have anything to do with this? Just across the road from Ascot race course within walking distance of a mainline train station into Waterloo? Sounds like a good earner to me.
It’s interesting that the Conservative PPC for Bracknell Philip Lee, a man with a wealth of experience in healthcare as a GP, appears to have the same opinion as I regarding the location of Wexham, which in addition to the distance is also difficult to reach as you have to drive through the centre of Slough to get there. His idea of a hospital on junction 8/9 appears very promising but he appears to have already admitted the Herculean nature of the task by dampened the flames of that idea; he says:
“I am under no illusions about the difficulty of relocating it and the costs involved”
after all our current Tory MP Andrew Mackay hasn’t managed to prevent current services moving away from Heatherwood.
As reported on Bracknell Blog there is a public meeting on Thursday evening (26th) at Wexham Park Hospital. Ironically I cannot be there as I have to look after my child who was born under the care of the wonderful nurses and midwives of Heatherwood Hospital!