Concern over decision to move mental health services to Reading

Theresa May has reacted to the news that mental health services for older people are likely to be removed from St Marks Hospital in Maidenhead. In a blow to local residents, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has decided that all mental health inpatient facilities should be located at Prospect Park Hospital in Reading, meaning that the current services at St Marks will close.

The news follows a public consultation which assessed three different options for mental health facilities in East Berkshire: moving all beds to Reading; keeping beds for older people at St Marks and moving the rest to Reading; and building a new unit in Slough. Theresa held meetings with representatives of the Trust to press for the second option, urging them to keep services for older people in Maidenhead. However, the Trust have announced that they will work on a business case for moving all beds to Reading, signalling that St Marks services will close. A final decision will be made in June 2011.

Commenting, Theresa said: “I am very disappointed by this decision. I have always said that it would be unacceptable for vital mental health services for older people to be moved to Reading, leaving Maidenhead residents with no local facilities. I am disappointed that the Trust has not decided to keep some facilities at St Marks, particularly since this option would provide the same level of cost savings as moving everything to Reading.”

“There are still a few months until a final decision is reached and I will continue putting the case for St Marks. If moving services to Reading is unavoidable then I will be seeking to ensure that it will have the least possible negative impact on Maidenhead residents – and I will be ensuring that the Trust keep their promise to set up a transport scheme for those who need to travel to Reading.”

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