Take 5: the latest facts and figures about Reading health and social care services

Posted 31/05/2017

Take five and read our monthly digest of interesting facts and figures about Reading health or social care services:

2 out of 3 people with a long-term physical condition also have a mental health problem – a need that local NHS funders hope to address in a new scheme announced on May 10.  The Talking Therapies service will now be extended to people with COPD, Type 2 diabetes and cardiac conditions. Talking Therapies is run by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and can include traditional counselling, congintive behavioural therapy and web-based support. Judith Chapman, BHFT’s clinical director in this area, said: “Stress, anxiety and depression are increasingly prevalent in our modern lifestyle. For those people also dealing with the extra strain of a long-term illness, things can be even more difficult.  We want to make a difference by giving people the knowledge and skills to take care of themselves and increase their resilience.”

9: The number of newly organised community midwife teams that have been set up by Royal Berkshire Hospital to provide better care for expectant and new mothers in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire. The aim of the teams is to provide better continuity of care for women throughout their pregnancies and immediately after birth, from a small team of 4-6 midwives. These teams will get to know women through appointments in convenient locations, such as GP surgeries, children’s centres, or at home.  Women will also be able to email their team, which will monitor messages seven days a week. The Reading teams are named: Bluebell (covering RG1), Daisy (RG2), Sunflower (RG30), and Violet (RG4).

14% of GP appointments are related to musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions – but are patients happy with the care they receive from various NHS services to treat these? That was the question put to a discussion event held for the public by the federation of Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Groups (which plan and fund NHS services in Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham). MSK conditions cover more than 200 different problems affecting the human frame, including joints, bones, muscles, soft tissue problems, rheumatology, chronic pain and orthopaedics. The meeting was attended by 16 patients and feedback included carparking problems at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, difficulties people face with limited mobility in getting around different hospital departments, hospital letters going missing, and also concern about the limited number of therapy sessions, for example, six sessions and that it’s even if you still have issues.  The CCGs used a consultancy firm to run the meeting. MSK service changes could start by April 2018. We eagerly await details from the CCGs, to check if formal public consultation will be needed on proposals.

400 people felt moved to have their say in a public consultation on reducing the number of Children’s Centres, in Reading. Details on the feedback are revealed in papers going to a committee meeting at Reading Borough Council on June 6. Just over 90 per cent of respondents raised concerns about moving away from the ‘open door’ policy of welcoming any new parent and child to a Children’s Centre, towards only offering targeted support to certain families. People were worried this would stigmatise Children’s Centres and put people off going. It could also prevent the chance to spot the extra support people needed at different times.  As a result of the feedback, RBC now says it will keep offering ‘universal access’ to new parents and babies up to the age of 1. The Caversham centre will also centres will still reduce to four in total, but the Caversham centre will also remain as a satellite centre offering health and targeted supported services.

658 new homes are needed each year up until 2036, according to a draft Local Plan drawn up by Reading Borough Council. Half of these are proposed to be in central Reading, 20 per cent in South Reading and the rest in other areas. This raises big questions about how our local health services will cope. ‘Almost none of the practices in South Reading’ and ‘most GP practices’ in central Reading could not cope with this population growth, the plan states. People have until 14 June 2017 to give feedback on the plan, which can be found on the RBC website at http://www.reading.gov.uk/newlocalplan.

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