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Reading welcomes positive review of its Health and Social Care System

Reading residents receive good quality, person-centred health and social care when they need it, from compassionate, dedicated staff, a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has revealed today.

CQC inspectors carried out a review of Reading’s health and social care system between 29th October and 2nd November 2018.

The CQC’s review focussed on how well older people move through the health and social care system, with a particular focus on the needs of people over 65 in their place of residence, in a crisis and when they are supported to return home following a hospital stay.

The CQC looked at how the Council, hospitals, the ambulance service, community health services, GP practices, care homes and home care agencies work together to provide seamless care for people living in a local area.
Inspectors also examined whether Reading was well led by assessing governance arrangements and accountability structures, as well as commissioning and delivery of services.

The review found many instances of good practice, highlighting for example, how people in Reading are much less likely to be kept in hospital when they were ready to leave, compared to other similar areas of the country. It acknowledges how partners have undertaken a significant amount of work to improve pathways and people’s experiences of transfers of care, with the Care Home Support Team and the Community Reablement Team selected as good examples of effective multi-disciplinary working.

Inspectors made recommendations on improvements to joint working, commissioning and delivery, as well as strengthening the Council’s scrutiny role, but there was a consensus that overall partner relationships had improved considerably, leading to improved engagement and a renewed opportunity for joint working.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care, said: “Our review of health and social care services in Reading found that older people had a positive, experience of health and social care services. People were treated with dignity, as individuals, and they found that services were provided in a timely and consistent way.

“Our review found many examples of good practice, but we also highlight a number of areas where improvements are needed to ensure providers of health and social care services work better together. These areas have already been recognised by the local system leaders, including improving support for carers. Plans are being developed to ensure those improvements took place.”

“We have presented our findings to the health and social care system leaders in Reading so that they can prioritise and continue to improve and work together in bringing joined up care to people living in the county.”

Cllr Tony Jones, Reading’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said: “We welcome the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) report published today. Overall, this is a very good report for Reading, which recognises our positive work and highlights examples of good practice, as well as providing constructive feedback on the way forward where gaps have been identified.

“We are pleased with the recognition of the high standard of person-centred care provided for older people by our dedicated staff on the frontline, and in particular Reading’s excellent performance around delayed transfer of care, which is significantly under the national average, thanks to the hard work of all health and social care partners to improve people’s experience in this area.

“Where problems have been identified in the system, the majority are issues we were already aware of and proactively working to address, such as the need for closer joint working and commissioning, avoidance of unnecessary duplication and a focus on prevention and early intervention.”

Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead for Health and Wellbeing, said: “This is a very positive review for Reading and reassuring news for Reading residents. I’m pleased the review has drawn attention to the good work being carried out on a daily basis by incredibly hard working care staff.

“Reading Council is fully committed to strengthening its scrutiny role in holding partners to account for common goals and future strategic plans; and in making the Health and Wellbeing Board a driving force in the future direction of health and care for the borough, both areas flagged by the CQC as requiring improvement.

“Leaders from all the partner organisations met yesterday for a joint health and social care summit supported by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), to hear a presentation of the CQC’s findings, discuss actions arising from the review and agree on a system wide action plan to address any issues raised.

“The summit has reinforced the appetite across Reading’s partners to build on the good foundations identified by the CQC’s review, to address the gaps in the system and to strive to make Reading a centre for excellence in the future.”

Cathy Winfield, Chief Officer of Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “One of the key challenges facing the NHS is the provision of care for our ageing population, so it’s pleasing to see this CQC review has recognised the good quality and compassionate care we provide for older people.

“There are many factors involved when helping older people, their families and carers navigate the health and social care system at a time when they are all feeling rather vulnerable. We’ve worked hard with partners including those at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading Borough Council, Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and South Central Ambulance Service, to make the transfer from hospital to home as smooth as it can be.

“We’re now looking at what more can be done to further improve things and create renewed opportunities for joint working so we can address the areas the CQC Inspectors feel need more attention.”

Paul Jefferies, Assistant Director of Operations at South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), said: “We are pleased with the recognition of the high standard of person-centred care provided for older people by our dedicated operational staff on the frontline and the CQC’s acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication delivered on a daily basis by staff working in partnership with our colleagues across Reading’s health and social care system. SCAS is particularly proud of the Falls and Frailty Response Service that we deliver in partnership with the Royal Berkshire Hospital which ensures more frail elderly patients can be assessed and treated in their own homes, reducing the need for hospital admissions and easing pressure on other parts of the local health system.”

Gerry Crawford, Regional Director, Berkshire Healthcare: “This review has highlighted how well the system works to provide good quality care. We are committed to continuing this approach, looking at ways to jointly manage the pressure on resources and finances, and working in an open and transparent way, so that the system relationship remains strong and sustainable, and provides the best possible health and social care outcomes for local people.”


The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the regulator of health and adult social care in England. For further information including inspection reports, visit the CQC website

The health and social care review partners include Reading Borough Council; Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBNHSFT) and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT).

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