The English health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), inspected the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) on 7 January 2020 and rated it as ‘good’. The CQC said that their rating of the hospital had gone down since their previous review.
Although the CQC said the RBH was safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led overall, they added that safety in medical care and maternity ‘required improvement.’
The CQC warned that not all staff were up-to-date with their mandatory and safeguarding training. They said that there were lapses in infection and prevention control practices, and equipment storage did not always follow best practice, or was kept in inappropriate areas of the wards.
Despite dropping the rating of medicine at RBH, the CQC said there was excellent multidisciplinary working and patient outcomes were better than other services. They added that there was a strong safety system, good staffing and training management. Staff were proud to work there and patients and their families were consistently positive about their care and treatment.
Staff had told CQC inspectors that the age of the maternity building caused problems, and the inspectors had spotted a leak and (separately) an unlocked electrical cupboard in the antenatal unit.
A freeze on recruitment had meant that the maternity unit was understaffed. IT issues had forced staff into manual work-arounds.
The inspectors praised the RBH maternity unit’s focus on research and innovation as well as their culture of quality assurance. The CQC added that patients reported compassionate care at the unit, and felt involved in making decisions about it.
The Royal Berkshire Hospital
Reading’s RBH is managed by Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, who have an annual budget of £290 million.
The hospital employs over 5,300 people and has approximately 813 inpatient beds, of which 627 are for acute conditions, 66 are for children and young people, and 75 are for maternity.
The hospital had 91,183 inpatient admissions and saw 801,134 outpatients in 2018. In the same year, the hospital had 133,185 accident and emergency attendances, of which 36,193 were admitted. 1477 people died in the hospital during 2018.