Taking the temperature on our town

Here’s the latest highlights about health and wellbeing in Reading.
Photo of canal in Reading

What are the latest health challenges in Reading and how are services doing? Here’s a snapshot from the October 8 meeting of the Reading Health and Wellbeing Board:

Highs and lows:

  • Positive Covid cases in Reading schools peaked at 300+ (mostly among pupils) during one week in mid-September following the start of the new school year
  • Reading’s Covid vaccine rates are lower than national and neighbouring area levels
  • Surgeries aim to give a flu jab to 75% of 50-64-year-olds and at-risk younger adults and 85% of people aged 65+ amid fears of a bad flu season this autumn and winter
  • Reading is missing a target by 12%, to stop 'unplanned' admissions of people into hospital, suggesting improvements are needed to join up health & care services
  • More than 500 people answered a survey about the future of the walk-in service at Broad Street Mall and findings are now being analysed to informal a final decision
  • A new Berkshire Suicide Prevention Strategy will focus on young people, self-harm, females, economic stress and people bereaved by suicide, plus the impact of Covid
  • A major redevelopment of Royal Berkshire Hospital won’t start until at least 2025 and the level of government funding is not yet known
  • A Berkshire West Health and Wellbeing Strategy for the next nine years has been approved, with five key priorities including two on improving mental health
  • E-cigarettes are effective and don’t appear to lead young people into smoking
  • Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire councils are jointly funding a £300,000-yearly contract to Solutions4Health to run Smokefreelife Berkshire for three years 

All meeting papers can be found here on the Reading Borough Council website.

Speaking up for local people

Healthwatch Reading has a statutory right to sit on the Reading Health and Wellbeing Board along with the NHS, Council, policy and voluntary sector representatives. The board oversees our area’s health and wellbeing strategy and meets in public four times a year (currently online).

We present your views, experiences and evidence to the board, the most recent being our Hanging On report about local people’s frustrations with GP phone access.

Local people can submit questions in advance to the board – get in touch if you need help to do this.

Do health and social care services know what you really think?

Share your ideas and experiences and help services hear what works, what doesn’t, and what you want from care in the future. 

Share your views