Royal Berkshire Hospital gets a 'good' rating

Reading's main hospital has been inspected on the quality of its inpatient wards, maternity services and gynaecology care.
Photo of Royal Berkshire Hospital

Reading’s main hospital has been rated overall as ‘good’ by the national body that checks the quality of all NHS services.

“Our inspectors found a strong patient-centred culture with staff committed to keeping their patients safe and encouraging them to be independent. In return, patients and relatives spoke highly of staff and how they were informed of treatment plans, and how these would affect them,” said Catherine Campbell, head of hospital inspection for the South East for the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

However, she added that there were “some areas for improvement” at the Royal Berkshire Hospital which the CQC would follow up on.

The CQC's verdict on the RBH:

Is the hospital...

  • Safe: Yes, rated 'Good' (same rating as last inspection)
  • Effective: Good (same)
  • Caring: Good (down from previous rating of ‘outstanding’)
  • Responsive: Good (down from previous rating of ‘outstanding’)
  • Well-led: Good (same)
  • Overall rating: ‘Good’ (down from ‘outstanding’ previously)

The hospital’s latest CQC rating is a downgrade from its previous ‘outstanding’ rating.

The inspection report, published on 7 January 2020, found maternity care was delivered from an old building block that had issues such as leaks, and the service needed more midwives. Concerns had also been raised in nine out of 12 months for the number of times the midwifery-led birth unit had been temporarily closed, which meant women wanting this type of birth had to go elsewhere.

However, the maternity service was also highlighted for one area of outstanding practice involving an app to help women with gestational diabetes to send glucose readings in to be checked by their midwife online, so women could be safely monitored from home.

Other areas for improvement included:

  • infection control on inpatient wards, including transfer of waste and dirty linen
  • ensuring male and female patients slept in separate wards and didn’t share bathrooms
  • staff needing to complete mandatory staff training.

The CQC inspection team visited the trust throughout July 2019, concentrating on inpatient wards, maternity and gynaecology, as A&E, surgical and outpatient services had been inspected separately in recent years.

The team spoke with 46 patients and relatives and almost 100 staff, observed care and treatment and reviewed 39 patient records.

Other sites run by Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust - the West Berkshire Community Hospital and the Windsor Dialysis Unit - were also visited during the inspection and both were rated ‘good’. The trust overall also got a good rating, the same as last time.

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