Hospital library closes but future remains uncertain for volunteers and patients

Library manager Ann Hyland
Library manager Ann Hyland

Stoke Mandeville Hospital chiefs have said they will do their utmost to protect a library when ASDA and a new car park are built on the site.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Volunteer Library, based at the eye outpatient unit and run by St John’s, closed on Friday leaving staff unsure of their futures.

Volunteer librarian Ann Hyland said: “At the moment they don’t have a room in the hospital to put us and we have no idea whether we are going to have one or not again.

“It’s a bit of a blow. It will leave a bit of a gap. It’s all very sad, the volunteers are devastated, really.”

However, spokesman for Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust, Richard Burton, reassured staff.

He said the move was down to the building works and the fact the trust is switching the library from current providers, St Johns, to its in-house volunteer provider, Scanappeal, which operates at both Wycombe and Amersham hospitals.

Mr Burton added: “For a short time the service has been suspended. But it’s due to be reopened at the very latest by the end of the summer.

“Books are still available on the trolleys around the hospital. Our volunteers are incredibly important to the trust and we will try to keep them on board whatever. They are a vital part of the trust.”

Mrs Hyland, who has run the library for a decade, said it had received a lot of support from patients and staff.

She added: “We have got quite a lot of support. A lot of these patients need support from us. But it’s up to the powers that be.

“I think we are little number on a print sheet somewhere and sadly not a very important one.”