The Royal Berkshire Hospital has announced it will be closing its hydrotherapy pool because it is ‘no longer financially viable’.
The move comes after a decision late last year by Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group to stop routine NHS funding of the hydrotherapy service. Community groups or charities that have privately rented the pool for the benefit of vulnerable people will now also have to find another venue.
‘We recognise our decision to close the pool will be unwelcome news for a number of groups who use this facility and I am writing to them separately today offering them the opportunity to meet with us to talk through our decision,’ said Steve McManus, chief executive of Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, in a letter to stakeholders on 21 May 2021. ‘However, we need to align our services to those being commissioned, and the CCG’s decision makes the continued operation of the hydrotherapy suite untenable,’ he added.
The trust will now begin a four-week public engagement process and take feedback to its board of directors in July 2021. Details of the hospital’s position can be found on page 99 of agenda papers for its 26 May 2021 board of directors meeting in public.
At a meeting in January 2021, Reading’s lead councillor for health, Graeme Hoskin, said local people’s views had not been listened to strongly enough before the CCG’s funding decision.