The Royal Berkshire Hospital has asked a disability charity to check how easy it is for people to get around its buildings and use services.
Nicky Lloyd, acting chief executive of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, said it had commissioned AccessAble to check how people with visual or hearing impairments and people who used wheelchairs, could get around the site.
Ms Lloyd confirmed the review during a presentation to the Reading Health and Wellbeing Board on 22 January 2021 about the future of the hospital. She was responding to a question asked by Ramona Bridgman, chair of the Reading Families Forum, who described the difficulty parents and carers of disabled children had with carparking, pushing wheeelchairs and lifting older children onto examining tables when special hoisting equipment wasn’t available.
What is AccessAble?
Formerly called 'Disabled Go', this national charity sends surveyors to venues to find out how accessible they are. You can look up venue details on its website and app.
As well as the access review, Ms Lloyd confirmed that a range of options have been submitted to the Department of Health about the hospital's future. This could include major rebuilding and modernisation at the existing town centre location or building a new hospital in a different place.
In response to a question from Healthwatch Reading about public involvement, the hospital said a formal public consultation would probably only be needed if there was government backing for a brand new hospital. Whichever option was pursued, there was a commitment to ‘continuous’ engagement and ‘co-production’ of plans.
Options are set out on the website Building Berkshire Together.