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CQC inspectors find improvement at Royal Berkshire Hospital maternity and gynaecology departments

25 April 2016
Royal Berkshire Hospital
  • Media,
  • Hospitals

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Royal Berkshire Hospital maternity and gynaecology services as Requires Improvement following a focused inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The CQC inspection team, which included specialist advisors, visited the hospital in London Road, Reading, over two days during November 2015 to ensure improvements had been made from a previous inspection in March 2014. On this inspection, inspectors found that the trust had improved maternity services with effectiveness, caring and leadership rated as Good but safety and responsiveness to people’s needs still needing further improvement.

A full report of the inspection has been published on this website.

CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Edward Baker, said:

“It is very clear that the leadership of Royal Berkshire Hospital have taken our findings from our last inspections very seriously and the improvements speak for themselves. At our last inspection we did set out a number of improvements and the trust have worked hard to ensure change has taken place.

“I would now expect the trust to build upon this progress and take further action to improve. We will return in due course to check that the necessary progress is made on behalf of the people who need on this service.”

Inspectors found areas of outstanding practice across the trust, including:

  • Breast feeding was encouraged and the midwifery services had achieved UNICEF ‘Baby Friendly’ status.
  • A pink patient wrist-band system had recently been introduced for patients who had undergone surgery and had a vaginal pack in situ. This was to ensure the pack was subsequently removed.

During the inspection, CQC found there was a new vision and strategy being developed for the maternity service included moving the gynaecology service to sit with the maternity service in the urgent care directorate.

Significant improvements had been made to the staffing of the maternity wards.  At the previous inspection in March 2014 inspectors found there were low staffing levels on Rushey ward; this was found by inspectors to be a safety risk. CQC found that improvements have been made in staffing across the maternity unit and issues were escalated appropriately.

Maternity staff were found to work flexibly to consistently ensure women received one to one care in labour redeploying midwives to the delivery suite and on occasions closing Rushey ward, the midwifery led unit. The trust achieved a care level rate of 100% between April – July 2015, 98% in August 2015 and 99% in September 2015.

Inspectors found areas where improvements were needed including:

  • Medicines management practices must be reviewed to ensure medicines are stored at the appropriate temperatures to protect patients from avoidable harm
  • There had not been a dedicated pharmacy service on the gynaecology ward. Inspectors found all the control measures in place were not strictly adhered to which led CQC to conclude medicines management was not found to be as robust as it could have.


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Last updated:
29 May 2017

Notes to editors

Providers are required to display their ratings on their premises and on their websites so that the public can see their rating quickly and easily. Further information on the requirement for providers to prominently display their CQC ratings.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.