Theresa welcomes further work on Charles Ward and mental health services

Theresa May has welcomed the news that a decision on the future of mental health services in East Berkshire has been postponed. The decision, due to be taken on 12th July, could have seen Charles Ward at St Marks Hospital closed and services for older people moved to Reading. Following considerable public opposition, NHS Berkshire East and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have agreed to undertake further work before making further proposals.

The health bodies have stated that they will engage in ‘a further period of engagement’ over the summer following the ‘significant concerns…raised by key stakeholders’. They also noted that no clear consensus had emerged on the way forward. Further work will now be done, and any new proposals will be subject to further consultation in the autumn.

Commenting, Theresa said: “I am glad that the concerns of local residents have been heard, and that the proposal to close Charles Ward will not go head for now. In my meetings with local NHS managers I have always emphasised how strongly these plans were opposed, and that it was unacceptable for older people in Maidenhead and east Berkshire to be left without local mental health services. I am pleased that this has been understood, and that more work will be done to find a better way forward. It is important that work now goes ahead to ensure cost effective and equitable services across Berkshire.”

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