The hospital trust has been undertaking investigations and consultations into building a new hospital in Berkshire as part of the government’s new hospital programme.
As part of a years long strategic assessment process, two main options are being considered – redeveloping the hospital at is current site in London Road, or building a brand new hospital elsewhere.
If a new hospital is built, two sites are being considered either at Thames Valley Park in Earley or Thames Valley Science Park in Shinfield.
Jason Brock (Labour, Southcote) the leader of Reading Borough Council, voiced his primary concerns over the welfare of patients and their ability to get to any new hospital.
Councillor Brock said: “The council’s clear position has always been that the most appropriate location for Royal Berkshire Hospital is at the ‘heart of the community’ which it has always served, which is right here in Reading.
“Serious concerns remain around how accessible any proposed new hospital site would be for residents needing treatment, hospital visitors or indeed staff working there.
“We would need to see clear evidence of fully funded affordable and realistic sustainable transport links to any potential new site before the council could come to a view on whether any proposed development can be supported.
“We of course understand that all organisations will routinely review their premises, but the focus for a major hospital like the Royal Berkshire Hospital has to be on the well-being of people who require care.
“We do not believe this is best served by moving the hospital out of Reading.”
The Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Foundation Trust was one of 40 trusts selected for the government’s new hospital programme, which represents a £20 billion investment.
Moving the hospital from its current location has been floated as the preferred option as existing buildings have a backlog of maintenance works which are estimated to cost at least £200 million.
The hospital is accessed from Craven Road with a multi-storey car park for patients and visitors, with disabled blue badge holders parking for free in designated bays on floors 0 and 2 of the car park.
Parking in London Road is only for staff and patient drop off.
Patients and visitors are encouraged to use public transport, including the Mereoak Park and Ride to get to the hospital.
Thames Valley Park in Earley can be accessed from the A3290 and the Sutton Seeds Roundabout.
Thames Valley Science Park is accessed from the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road.
From Reading, it is accessed from the ‘Black Boy’ roundabout, which serves as the junction of the A327 and the B3270.
The Trust has not decided whether to relocate or redevelop the existing site.
Once an option is chosen, the Trust must present a business case to the Department of Health and Social Care for approval.