Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Press Statement from the Save the RBH Hydrotherapy Pool Campaign

Announcement of Hydrotherapy Pool Closure Postponement

Campaigners from Save the RBH Hydrotherapy Pool Campaign gave a guarded welcome to the announcement from the new hospital Chief Executive Steve McManus that plans to close the pool had been put on hold until June to give time to address "questions raised by MPs and local patient representative groups" and to "engage with existing users of the facility."

The campaign is 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.

The former Reading West MP Martin Salter, who is patron of the MS Therapy Centre said:

'Obviously we want to thank Steve McManus for listening to us and seeking to put right the wrongs of his predecessor. It is clearly no coincidence that they announce the postponement on the day we produce a dossier taking apart their flimsy case for closing a much needed medical facility.
They say they want to fully address the questions that have been raised by ourselves and the MPs and to properly engage with users and their representatives but for this to happen in any meaningful way there are things we will need to get straight first at our meeting with the hospital management of Friday.

        1) There really should be a public apology to users of the pool and others suffering chronic pain conditions for describing hydrotherapy as a 'feel good service'. This was deeply insulting and has caused anger and mistrust which is no basis for future joint working.

        2) They must accept that hydrotherapy does have 'proven clinical benefits' as set out in our dossier and evidenced in their own statements.

        3) We should all avoid prolonging the situation unnecessarily and causing uncertainty and distress to users who rely on the service. The matter should be resolved as quickly as possible.

         4) The charities and patient groups are entering these consultations on the basis that it is about HOW we deliver an NHS hydrotherapy service in Reading not IF we have one.

We expect the pool to remain fully open throughout this process and for the RBH to improve their management of the facility. That said, we are looking forward to a constructive meeting with Mr McManus and are grateful to Alok Sharma MP for organising the delegation. "

Kim Seabrook, Chair of Arthritis Matters Reading added:

"As we have made clear throughout our campaign, which has seen over 3000 register their disgust at the proposed closure, hydrotherapy is a beneficial treatment that works across generations and across diseases.  It enables people to regain their mobility and independence, and manage chronic conditions such as Arthritis, Parkinson’s and Multiple Sclerosis with fewer visits to GPs and hospitals. We will keep on fighting to keep this valuable facility permanently open for everyone in the local community. We are not interested in any temporary postponement. "

1) PRESS STATEMENT from RBH 17.1.17

The Board of the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust  has agreed to defer the closure of its hydrotherapy pool until 30 June 2017.  During this period the pool will continue to be fully operational;  the Trust will clarify its Clinical and Estates strategies in the relation to the hydrotherapy service and work with local partners to address questions raised by MPs and local patient representative groups. The Trust will also engage with existing users of the facility.    At the same time it will work with local Clinical Commissioning Groups, other NHS partners and the local authority to explore future commissioning intentions for the hydrotherapy service.

2) The dossier ‘Why the RBH should keep the hydrotherapy pool open – the case against closure’  can be found here: