Royal Berkshire Hospital A&E 'not big enough to cope'

Royal Berkshire Hospital Image copyright Andrew Smith
Image caption The hospital is now seeing double the number of patients at its A&E than originally planned

The acting chief executive of Royal Berkshire Hospital has said its A&E department is "not big enough to cope".

Mary Sherry said the department is now dealing with almost double the number of patients originally planned for.

The casualty department is not expected to meet its target of treating 95% of patients within four hours this year.

Ms Sherry said discussions were being held into redeveloping the department, but vowed it would remain in Reading town centre.

The A&E department was designed for 65,000 attendees she said, but was now getting 120,000 annually.

'Very busy days'

Ms Sherry said there were problems with parking in the existing location which needed to be resolved with the help of Reading Borough Council.

She said: "We know there are land restraints... but I wouldn't be recommending a hospital elsewhere.

"I think we're in the right place for the population."

The acting chief executive said it had been a "really difficult year" for the A&E department where numbers of patients had "increased significantly".

"Those numbers haven't dropped over the summer at all," she said.

"Normally we'd be able to improve our performance over the summer, but we haven't been able to do that.

"We've had some very, very busy days."

Ms Sherry said there were also problems with patients being unable to leave the hospital because local social services were also under pressure.

People living in Reading are being urged to go for help elsewhere, such as local walk-in centres and urgent care centres.

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