From our patron, Martin Salter:
On behalf of the ‘Save the RBH Hydrotherapy Pool Campaign’ we would like to thank everybody who signed our petition or supported the campaign in other ways.
You may have seen in the press the announcement from the hospital Chief Executive Steve McManus that plans to close the pool had been abandoned and that the hospital trust is "committed to the continuation of hydrotherapy provision, whether this is on the Royal Berkshire Hospital site or through alternative facilities off the site".
This is a remarkable turnaround from the situation at the end of last year when Royal Berkshire Hospital managers announced, without any consultation with doctors, nurses, or patients groups that the pool was to close at the end of March with no replacement.
The online petition, together with signatures collected in Reading town centre and elsewhere saw over 3000 people indicating their opposition to the planned closure. In January we published a comprehensive dossier demolishing the case for closure. The dossier ‘Why the RBH should keep the hydrotherapy pool open – the case against closure’ can be found here.
The campaign was supported by Arthritis Matters, REACH, MS Society, Berks DPAC, Berkshire MS Therapy Centre, Peapods, Reading Fibromyalgia Support Group, Parkinson’s Society and Reading Families Forum.
Working alongside his predecessor Martin Salter, the Reading West MP Alok Sharma was instrumental in the campaign from the start and chaired the stakeholder group which has been in negotiations with the RBH management over the last two months. At a meeting with the Stakeholder Group held on Friday 24 March, the Trust committed to the continuation of hydrotherapy provision. Steve McManus, Chief Executive of the Trust, said:
“It has been hugely positive to have the support of Alok Sharma and stakeholders as we work through the continued provision of hydrotherapy facilities to patients and the public. I understand the value that users gain from this service, and I am committed to ensuring that the Trust facilitates the continued availability of hydrotherapy services in this area.”
We thank Steve McManus for listening to patients groups and campaigners and for committing to retain hydrotherapy services for people with disabilities, suffers of chronic pain conditions and those recovering from strokes and other medical symptoms. However, most of all we want to thank all our supporters in the Reading area for getting behind our campaign and making your voices heard. We were always happy to consider new locations in Reading for the hydrotherapy pool as long as the service continues for those who need it.
THANK YOU…THANK YOU…THANK YOU…THANK YOU…THANK YOU…THANK YOU…!!