Berkshire

Heatherwood Hospital: Services to move

Heatherwood Hospital
Image caption A public consultation over Heatherwood Hospital's services closed on 31 January

Plans to permanently close a maternity unit and relocate other services at a Berkshire hospital have been agreed.

The proposals for Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot were ratified on Tuesday by NHS Berkshire and a Primary Care Trust (PCT) board.

Its minor injuries unit will relocate to Bracknell and a rehabilitation ward for stroke patients will also close.

The surgical unit at the hospital will expand with new theatres expected to be ready for patients by 2015/16.

The hospital took the decision to temporarily close the three birth rooms at the midwife-led maternity unit in 2011.

A Berkshire NHS spokesman said the birth centre had "experienced staffing issues".

The nearest hospital with a maternity unit is Wexham Park Hospital, about nine miles (14km) away.

Berkshire NHS said the other closures would be implemented in January 2014, providing the new services were in place.

Surplus land and buildings will be sold off to invest in the new facilities.

An online e-petition set up by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to fight the plans to cut services at the hospital has received more than 500 signatures.

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