CQC rates Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust maternity services good

Published: 1 March 2024 Page last updated: 1 March 2024

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated maternity services run by Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust as good, following an inspection in November.

Maternity services at the Royal Berkshire Hospital were inspected as part of CQC’s national maternity services inspection programme. The programme aims to provide an up-to-date view of the quality of hospital maternity care across the country, and a better understanding of what is working well to support learning and improvement locally and nationally.

Following the inspection, the overall rating for maternity services at Royal Berkshire Hospital remains good. The rating for safe has increased from requires improvement to good. Well-led has been re-rated as good. This inspection didn’t rate how effective, responsive or caring the service is.

The ratings for maternity services did not change the overall ratings for the hospital or trust; both remain rated as good.

Carolyn Jenkinson, CQC’s deputy director of secondary and specialist care said:

“When we inspected maternity services at Royal Berkshire Hospital, we found a service with strong leadership and passionate staff who were focused on the needs of women, people using the service and their babies.

“Staff kept good records, managed safety well, and worked together as a team for the benefit of everyone using the service. We found an open culture, where women and people using the service were treated with dignity and respect.

“The service provided amenity bags with toiletries and useful items for people whose labour had to be induced. The bags included information leaflets as well as books, puzzles, and games to help pass the time. Having an induction can be a stressful experience and thoughtful gestures like this can really improve people’s wellbeing.

“Leaders knew the issues the service was facing and were focused on making improvements and supporting staff to deliver the best possible care. For example, the service provided free travel and interpreters to reduce barriers to attending maternity appointments. They had also set up bespoke training for staff to understand how health inequalities could impact local people’s care and treatment.

“The trust should be really pleased with our findings, and we’ll keep monitoring the service to ensure women, people using the service and their babies continue to receive a good standard of care.”

Inspectors found:

  • Staff understood their roles and accountabilities and how they could protect women and people using the service from abuse
  • The service managed safety incidents well and learned lessons from them
  • Leaders ran the service well and used reliable systems to monitor risks and how the service was performing
  • Infection risks were managed well, and the service had enough equipment to keep women, people using the service and their babies safe
  • Leaders used data to monitor the experiences of women and people from ethnic minority and disadvantaged groups, and updated staff guidance and policies when needed
  • The service engaged well with the local community and had worked on several improvement projects with the local Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership. The service’s vision had also been translated into the top 10 most spoken languages in the local area, to make it more accessible.


  • The maternity wards had secure access and monitored doors but the design of two wards meant people could leave them using a push button, without being challenged, and could access other parts of the hospital without being seen. This meant there was a risk someone would be able to take a baby from the ward without being challenged. The trust took immediate action to address this, following inspector feedback.

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.