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:

Monday, 16 January 2017

For Sale - Carony 12 Car Seat

Read the excellent case against the closure or the hydrotherapy pool at Royal Berkshire Hospital

Our Patron, Martin Salter is among the campaign group set up to protest against the planned closure of the hydrotherapy pool at Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Read their excellent case against the closure here.

Introducing Tricia - our new Massage Therapist joining us in April

Hi everyone – My name is Tricia Carter and I will soon be joining the team at the MS Therapy Centre, so I’d like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce myself.

Prior to studying and completing my training in Anatomy, Physiology & Holistic Massage, I worked in Corporate Business for over 16 years.  However, massage was always my passion and after qualifying, I set up Health in Harmony in 2005.  I am an ITEC licensed therapist, fully insured and a professional member of the Complementary Therapists Association.

I believe massage therapy plays an important part in our health and wellness. In the stressful world we live in today, I believe massage should be regarded as part of an optimal health regimen.  As a Massage Therapist and an Aromatherapist I can offer a variety of treatments tailored to your needs.  Please visit my website for details of the treatments I offer:

At the start of our first session, we will have a 10-15 minute consultation where we can get to know each other.  I can find out about your health, the elements I should be aware of, and your preferred areas of focus.  I can then use this information to plan your treatment which will be carried out using various techniques and essential oils as required.  I’m really looking forward to meeting you all soon. Cost £15.00 per session paid directly to Tricia.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Hydrotherapy Pool Campaign Update

We are very pleased with the support that local politicians of all parties have given to the hydrotherapy pool campaign. It's been much appreciated by the campaign group and we are particularly pleased with the excellent letter from my successor, Alok Sharma MP to the new hospital chief executive Steve McManus.

Reading East MP Rob Wilson is also onside and has posted statements on his website and Facebook page including this recent update:

"Essentially, I think that the Trust has handled this situation poorly. It should now seek to engage immediately with campaigners and service-users and back away from its current position by undertaking a re-evaluation of the closure plan. With a new Chief Executive, this is the perfect opportunity to reassess."

Alok is organising a delegation to meet the RBH management from the various charities and patient groups that currently use the pool. This is taking place on Friday 20th January and I will be attending to represent the MS Therapy Centre and to give some background to the issue. 

As well as our two Conservative MPs Reading's Labour Councillors have been strong supporters with a number turning up for our recent petitioning session in Broad St. They are preparing to pass a resolution at the Council meeting later this month condemning the closure. 

I've also been invited to ask a public question at the next meeting of the Reading borough Council's Health and Well Being panel on Fri 27th which will be another opportunity to highlight the issue. 

We are petitioning again in Broad St Mall on Friday 13th Janaury  from 11am to 1pm and next week we will be publishing a comprehensive dossier dismantling the hospital's case for closure. This will be sent to all hospital governors ahead of their Council of Governors meeting on January 25th where we are hoping to begin the process of getting the closure plans overturned.

If you would like to write to the governors expressing your opposition to the planned closure of the hydrotherapy pool you can find their details here:

To make things a little easier I've drafted some text that can be used in any emails to the RBH governors but obviously it's good if people use their own words as well.

" Do you recognise the extent of public anger and concern at the decision to close the hydrotherapy pool at the Royal Berkshire Hospital which provides treatment, rehab and relief for disabled people, those recovering from stokes or neuro surgery, sufferers of chronic pain conditions including arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's, ankylosing spondylitis as well degenerative diseases such as MS? Since this decision was taken without any consultation with patients groups, the local community or even the Hospital's Council of Governors and the announcement has been marked by misinformation and contradictory statements from the Hospital Trust can I urge you to vote for the suspension of the closure process and the opening up of a meaningful dialogue with clinicians and patients on finding a way forward."

All in all the campaign is going well but please keep sending those emails, writing to the local papers, getting signatures on the petition and spreading the word amongst your friends and colleagues. 

Many thanks

Martin Salter
Berkshire MS Therapy Centre

NEW! Footcare now available every other Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Ruth Best is extending her Footcare service to include Wednesdays from the 8th February 2017.

Appointments are available every other Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and can be booked at reception or by calling 0118 901 6000.

Healthy feet play a huge role in how you feel but sometimes having MS can make it difficult caring for them in a way you would like.  Ruth will leave you with your feet feeling wonderful and offer advice on taking care of them.

This services is free for our MS Members but we warmly welcome donations.

Researchers Identify 2 Cytokines Responsible for Chronic Flares in Autoimmune Diseases

Researchers have identified two factors that allow Th17 cells — which drive multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune conditions — to form memory cells in the body and cause repeated symptom flare-ups.  Read on.