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26 June 2013, 11:32 | Updated: 26 June 2013, 11:50
Councillors in Windsor and Maidenhead have applied for a judge to look into a decision to transfer the minor injuries unit at Heatherwood Hospital to Bracknell.
The Royal Borough's submitted papers in the high court challenging the decision by the new consortium of GPs in charge - the NHS's Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead Clinical Commissioning Group.
At the monthly council meeting last night council leader Cllr David Burbage said: “We will continue to fight for these local services on behalf of our residents. The important thing is that these services are convenient for the customers who use them, not that they’re convenient for the NHS to provide.
“This is a complicated situation but we are doing all we can, including meeting with representatives of Frimley Park Trust today to explain our position and to discuss potential plans.”
Cllr David Coppinger, cabinet member for adult services and health, later said: “We are fully committed to fighting this unpopular and ill-advised decision all the way. By submitting the application for judicial review we are making it clear that we – and our residents – will not stand by and see these essential local services taken away from the Royal Borough.”
Last night’s announcement follows a special council meeting at Ascot Racecourse on Thursday 9 May which provided residents with the opportunity to voice their discontent about the NHS’s decision – around 250 people turned up to have their say. In addition 3,420 have signed up to online and paper petitions.
Following a question asked at the House of Commons by Adam Afryie, MP for Windsor and Ascot, the Secretary of State for Health has agreed to meet a delegation from the Royal Borough to better understand their concerns.
The plans for the hospital include improving rehabilitation services for both stroke and general medical patients and permanently closing the Ascot Birth Centre.
The NHS says the plans would mean fewer people going to A&E and women being offered a wide choice of safe birth options.
Heart's being told the proposals will raise the standards of quality and safety and provide better services for patients and value for money for the taxpayer.