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Talk before you walk – Stay healthy and safe this Easter

With the long bank holiday weekend fast approaching, it is important to think about your health and what to do if you are feeling unwell. During public holidays pharmacies and GP practices operate under reduced opening hours meaning it is advisable to ensure you have anything you might need prior to the start of the holiday.

If you or someone you care for requires medicines regularly, make sure you order and collect repeat prescriptions in good time to ensure you have enough medicine to last over the holiday period. This can be a very busy time for the local NHS, so picking up a repeat prescription in advance could help keep staff free to deal with life-threatening emergencies.

Common ailments such as colds can often be effectively treated at home with readily available medicine, so make sure you have a well-stocked first aid kit including:

  • paracetamol or Ibuprofen for pain and/or fever (in adults and children);
  • medicine to combat diarrhoea;
  • rehydration mixture;
  • plasters;
  • a thermometer.

However, if you are worried or not getting better here are some good ways to get expert medical help and advice – without going to A&E.

Call NHS 111

When you need help quickly but it’s not an emergency, call NHS 111 where there are friendly, highly-trained staff available to talk to you direct about your health concerns. Advisors are supported by experienced nurses and paramedics. They will ask questions about your symptoms and then offer healthcare advice or direct you to the service that can help you best.

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and is FREE to call from landlines or mobile phones.

Health information is also available around the clock at:

Speak to your local pharmacist

Check your local pharmacy’s opening times, particularly over the Easter period.

Your pharmacy is a good place to start when you need health advice. Pharmacists can not only provide over-the-counter medication for everyday ailments such as coughs and colds but can also offer advice about minor illnesses, such as ear ache, stomach upsets and diarrhoea.

Pharmacies offer stop smoking advice, the morning-after pill, advice on how to manage your medicines – and most have private consulting rooms so you don’t need to explain what’s wrong with the possibility of other people listening in.

Talk before you Walk – where to go for help

Emergency departments and 999 are for serious or critical conditions or life-threatening emergencies only.

There are many real alternatives available so ‘Talk before you Walk’ to make sure you get the right NHS care for you.

Bracknell Urgent Care Centre
Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace
London Road
RG12 9BG
Tel: 01344 55 11 00

Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year.

The centre treats minor injuries and illnesses that need immediate assessment and treatment but don’t require a visit to A&E. The centre is led by nurses and supported by a GP at all times – but it is not an alternative to your GP surgery which should be contacted first if at all possible.

Waiting times vary, depending on the time of day and the number of patients, and staff will prioritise certain groups of people, including children and the elderly. If you are kept waiting, please be patient.

Slough Walk-in Health Centre
Upton Hospital
Albert Street
Tel: 01753 635505

Open from 8am to 8pm every day of the year

The centre is available for people with minor illnesses and injuries that don’t require an x-ray.

No appointments are necessary. Just turn up but please be patient as there may be queues at certain times.

St Marks Urgent Care Centre
St Marks Hospital
112 St. Marks Road
Tel: 03000 242000

Open Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 5.00pm; Saturday and Sunday (Bank Holidays) 9am to 1.00pm.

The centre is for minor injuries and ailments including bites and stings, foot and hand injuries, cuts and bruises, back pain, strains and sprains, burns and scalds, eye problems, panic attacks, breathing problems, fever, rashes etc.

Additional services include weekday x-rays for minor fractures (for all patients over two years) and advice and support for long-term conditions such as high blood pressure and heart and lung diseases.

For further information visit NHS Choices.

Success in Delivering Public Health

A mid-year review by Bracknell Forest Council Public Health team shows that we are performing well in delivering a range of public health services.

The table below shows performance this year compared with the same point last year.

Service  2013/14 2014/15 Change
Health Checks Delivered 765 1743 128%
No. of Smoking four week quitters 129 153 19%
People starting weight management 29 196 576%
Opiate Completion & Non-representation 8% 14% 75%
Non-Opiate Completion & Non-representation  31.60% 35.40% 12%

Our CCG is also in the top 5% nationally for giving the right care for those with diabetes as the graphic below shows:

Adults with Diabetes

For further information on this item, please email Dr Lisa McNally, Consultant in Public Health:

Self-Care Week – Helping you help yourself

17th – 23rd November 2014

Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group and partners, Bracknell Forest Council, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, HealthWatch Bracknell Forest and Shopmobility, have come together to empower residents to take control of their health and wellbeing.

A dedicated team will be at Shopmobility, Princess Square, to give advice and support to residents throughout the week. Organisations such as the Samaritans, Slimming World, Forestcare and many more will be at the stand in front of Shopmobility, and street doctors will be available to provide health checks and answer your questions.

Dr Martin Kittel, CCG self-care lead and Governing Body members comments: “When people take good care of their own health it has benefits for everyone. People spend less time at the GP and other appointments and get more enjoyment out of life. Our local hospitals also save time and money which is important because they will be under increasing pressure as winter draws near.”

Talking Therapies, part of Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, will be manning a stand throughout the week offering advice and answering questions from those who may be worried about their Mental Health and Wellbeing. Talking Therapies supports those who suffer with low mood, worry, stress or phobias.

Residents are encouraged to make the most of free events such as Zumba, in Sandhurst, or Tai-Chi, in Martins Heron, which are being held across the borough.

There is a chance to win some fantastic prizes during Self-Care Week by simply completing questionnaires, which will be available at events. The prizes include family tickets to The Look Out and Coral Reef, a free round of golf at Downshire Golf Club, money-off vouchers at top retailers, all generously donated by partners and providers supporting the event.

If your family is spending more time on the couch than at the local park why not visit a children’s centre during the week for family-friendly events and activities. Call in to your local children’s centre for more details.

Details of our Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA) can be found below. The JSNAs are the means by which our local authorities and their partners assess the current and future healthcare and wellbeing needs of our local population.

Bracknell Forest JSNA

Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead JSNA

The self care guide provides information, advice and links to services related to long term conditions and lifesyle factors.

Please see for more information and a full schedule of events across the borough.

Talks organised in conjunction with Magnolia House Surgery

A series of talks organised by the Magnolia House Surgery and the CCG

A talk by Mr Vaughan Tanner, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon


Date: 16 October 2014

Time: 7.30pm


Directions to the Hall: Use the Northcote house entrance in Silwood Road to Sunningdale Park and press the call button to open the barrier and then follow the road to the roundabout in front of Northcote House, turn right and there is parking immediately on your right. At the end of the car park take the footpath and the Hankey Morant Hall is diagonally on your right as you come to the buildings.

The event is free of charge, everyone welcome. Tea and Coffee available.


20 November: Strokes and their Treatment

19 February: Arthritis

19 March: Asthma

Monitor approves Frimley Park Foundation Trust takeover of Heatherwood and Wexham Park Foundation Trust

Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG, Slough CCG, Bracknell and Ascot CCG and Chiltern CCG are very pleased that the acquisition of Heatherwood and Wexham Park by Frimley Park FT has been confirmed. Together with neighbouring clinical commissioning groups and NHS England, a new vision for local services can be achieved.

Dr William Tong, Clinical Chair for Bracknell and Ascot CCG said: ‘I am pleased the acquisition is now agreed and we can now move on to deliver our shared vision for transformed local services.’

Alan Webb, Chief Officer for the three CCGs in East Berkshire said: ‘This is really exciting news. We have all worked hard to get to this point and acknowledge the complexities of bringing together two acute hospital trusts. This decision will secure a bright future for local health services and I am looking forward to working with the new organisation so that we start to see the benefits for patients.’

Monitor, who announced the acquisition, issued the following press release:

26 September 2014

Monitor approves foundation trust takeover to help patients

Better care and improved health services for 900,000 people should be the outcome of the first acquisition of an NHS foundation trust by another, says Monitor.

The health sector regulator has granted final approval to Frimley Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to acquire troubled neighbouring Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Frimley Park is the first FT to be rated ‘outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission whilst Heatherwood & Wexham Park was placed in special measures by Monitor in May 2014. Heatherwood & Wexham Park will now benefit from coming under the strong leadership of Frimley Park.

Monitor expects the newly enlarged organisation – Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust – to provide expanded and enhanced services such as specialist elderly care and cardiology across Hampshire, Surrey, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire.

Final approval of the acquisition will also kick-start work on upgrading facilities for patients at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough and the Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot.

Monitor has conducted a detailed review of the acquisition proposals to ensure any risks concerning the sustainability of the enlarged organisation have been identified and will be appropriately managed.

The regulator also worked with Frimley Park to help it navigate the Competition and Markets Authority process. This resulted in a decision that there would be no significant loss of choice for patients following the creation of the enlarged trust.

Dr David Bennett, Chief Executive of Monitor, said:

“We’ve approved this acquisition to provide patients with better care and improved services while ensuring the sustainability of the two trusts.

“We will continue to help trusts find and utilise innovative solutions – including acquisitions or mergers – to address challenges they face with care quality, leadership and sustainability.

“This decision is proof that acquisitions between foundation trusts that represent the right balance of patients’ interests are possible. It also shows that early engagement with us is key to successfully navigating healthcare regulations that are in place to protect patients and trusts.”


Join the fight against flu – get your jab today

As winter approaches, Bracknell Forest residents are encouraged to be prepared and get their flu jab.

Thousands of people nationwide visit their doctor with flu symptoms each year. Many will need hospital treatment because of a flu-related complication, and in some cases, these complications can lead to death. Therefore, Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group together with the Public Health Team in Bracknell Forest Council are today encouraging residents across the borough to play their part in the fight against infection by getting their flu jab.

It is particularly important for people in the groups below to get their flu jab:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged two, three and four years old
  • People aged 65 and over
  • People with health conditions such as heart problems, chest complaints, breathing difficulties, lowered immunity due to disease or medical treatment, kidney or liver disease, and diabetes
  • Everyone living in a residential or nursing home
  • The main carer of an older or disabled person

Dr George Kassianos a GP and flu lead for east Berkshire and Jo Greengrass Deputy Director of Nursing for Slough CCG, Bracknell and Ascot CCG and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG said: “Winter flu can be a serious illness with complications, particularly for people who are elderly or suffer from underlying medical conditions. For this reason it is really important that adults and children at risk have their flu vaccination this year and every year. The NHS provides free annual flu vaccinations for those eligible and for people who have certain chronic diseases.”

“Dr Lisa McNally, Public Health Consultant said “Last year, the uptake of the flu vaccination in Bracknell Forest was above the national average for most of the priority groups. We would like to increase the uptake even further this year.”

Contact your GP to arrange an appointment to have a flu vaccination. Some pharmacies are also offering flu jabs for pregnant women, those who have long term health conditions and carers (in receipt of carers’ allowance).

A list of pharmacies which offer the free flu jab for people with certain conditions, can be found at Wokingham Borough Council Website

For further information about the flu vaccine, go to the NHS Choices website.

For information about a Q&A session with TV doctor, Dr Pixie McKenna, in association with Public Health England, please visit the webchat.

NHS Change Day – Get Involved and Make a Pledge

Today is NHS Change Day and to mark the occasion, from 3rd – 31st March, a pledge board will be going up at King Edward VII Hospital, inviting patients and staff to get involved and make a pledge. It could be making a good impression on everyone you come into contact with at work, it could be doing all you can to see things from your patients’ point of view; whatever your pledge, you will be making a contribution to challenging the status quo and improving patient care.

What’s your pledge? For more information, to make your pledge online, or join an existing pledge, visit

Flooding in the Thames Valley: A Message from the NHS Thames Valley Area Team

NHS England’s Thames Valley Area Team is encouraging residents from Berkshire and Oxfordshire to be vigilant and take the following safety measures as the flooding continues in the area:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly if you come into contact with flood water as it can become contaminated.
  • If you are advised by emergency services to evacuate your property due to flooding, don’t forget to take essential medicines and personal health items (such as prescription medicines and inhalers) with you.
  • If you are evacuated, be sure to take appropriate warm clothing with you.

NHS staff are working to identify and check on the wellbeing of vulnerable patients in flooded areas in order to make sure they are safe and well.

If you need any health support or advice and it is not an emergency please contact your local GP or ring the NHS 111 service by dialling 111.

More information on flooding from Public Health can be found here.

NHS Health Checks: Changing Lifestyles and Saving Lives

Bracknell and Ascot CCG are pleased to announce that NHS Health Checks in the area have been resounding success, with a total of 991 checks being carried out last quarter.

Bracknell and Ascot CCG and many of its GPs believe in prevention being the best cure, which is why NHS Health Checks are so important. Offered to patients over the age of 40, health checks are vital in the prevention of potentially life-threatening diseases through early intervention. Certain illnesses and symptoms such as Diabetes and high blood pressure can both be reversed if diagnosed early.

Dr Martin Kittel, of Forest End Medical Centre says:

“We have offered NHS health checks for over a year now and have found significant numbers of patients with High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol and Diabetes. By tackling these conditions early, we can prevent patients from getting early heart attacks and strokes, kidney disease and even becoming blind. And quite a few patients have changed their lifestyles and feel a lot better and healthier than ever before.”

Patients over 40 without pre-existing conditions are encouraged to book themselves for a health check with their doctor. Conditions apply. Please speak to your practice about your eligibility. Most practices now participate in the NHS health check programme.

Heatherwood and Wexham Park NHS Trust: Have Your Say on Care

The Chief Inspector of Hospitals is inviting patients to give their views on the care provided by Heatherwood and Wexham Park NHS Trust. The information collected by the inspection panel will inform February’s inspection of the trust by the Care Quality Commission.

Listening events will be held at the following times and locations, and all patients and PPG representatives are encouraged to attend:

• 6.30pm, 4 February – Jaqz, Station Hill, Ascot, SL5 9EG (Adjacent to Ascot train station). • 6.30pm, 12 February – Wexham Park Golf Centre, Wexham Street, Slough, SL3 6ND.

CQC Report re: Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals

Please find below the statement from the CCGs in East Berkshire following the CQC Inspection Report that was published on Wednesday 8 January 2014.

“East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) welcome the improvements the Trust has made in many wards and other areas since the CQC’s initial visit in May. We recognise that there is more to be done, particularly in areas of cleanliness, suitability of premises, and treating patients with respect and dignity. We will continue to work with other health and social care partners to support the Trust in meeting its requirements of ensuring safe, high-quality care and services for patients”.

CQC Report re: Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals

Please find below the statement from the CCGs in East Berkshire following the CQC Inspection Report that was published on Wednesday 8 January 2014.

“East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) welcome the improvements the Trust has made in many wards and other areas since the CQC’s initial visit in May. We recognise that there is more to be done, particularly in areas of cleanliness, suitability of premises, and treating patients with respect and dignity. We will continue to work with other health and social care partners to support the Trust in meeting its requirements of ensuring safe, high-quality care and services for patients”.

One Medicare to Provide New Urgent Care Service in Bracknell

Bracknell and Ascot CCG and Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead CCG are pleased to announce that from April 2014, One Medicare will be providing a new Urgent Primary Care service in Bracknell.  One Medicare – part of the One Medical Group – was chosen by the two CCG Governing Bodies following an exhaustive selection process that saw it beat six other bidders to win the contract.

Dr. Adrian Hayter, Chair of the Windsor Ascot and Maidenhead CCG said:

“We are really looking forward to establishing the new service for local people. We have gone through a very rigorous process to make sure we chose the right provider and we are delighted to have found an organisation which has such a strong reputation and track record”.

Dr William Tong, Clinical Chair of Bracknell and Ascot CCG, agreed, adding:

“The new service brings a new dimension to urgent care in the Bracknell and Ascot area. As well as the minor injuries and illnesses services, One Medicare will also provide a dedicated children’s clinic five evenings a week to cater for the needs of young families”.

Rachel Beverley-Stevenson Chief Executive of One Medical Group, commented:

“We are thrilled that One Medicare is the preferred provider for the Bracknell Urgent Primary Care Centre. We can confidently look forward to the service starting in April and working with other local providers and community groups to deliver innovative, patient first healthcare for the residents of Bracknell and surrounding areas.” The service, which is set to replace the minor injuries unit at Heatherwood Hospital, will be based at the Royal Berkshire Bracknell Healthspace and will operate from 8.00am to 8.00pm, 365 days a year.  It will serve the localities of Bracknell, Sandhurst, Crowthorne, Ascot, Windsor and Maidenhead, and is estimated to receive around 29,000 attendees a year, taking the pressure off local A&E departments.

NHS Health Checks: Winning Awards and Saving Lives


Public Health at Bracknell Forest Council are pleased to announce the latest winner of the “Best Performer” award for NHS Health Checks. The award has gone to Crown Wood Medical Centre in Bracknell. The practice had a busy summer, carrying out 353 health checks between July and September this year.

The NHS Health Check is for adults in England between the ages of 40 and 74. Those having a check are given a range of simple medical tests, which in turn tell them their own risk of developing serious illness such as heart diease or stroke. This is followed up with advice on how this risk can be reduced and referral to healthy lifestyle initiatives to help make lifestyle changes.

Dr Rao, at Crown Wood Medical Center told us:
“Crown Wood Medical Centre has been a part of the NHS Health Checks programme since May this year. Through the programme we have made a number of new diagnoses of hypertension and identified some patients with diabetes. These cases would not have been picked up routinely as the patients were previously unaware of these conditions. I see this as an excellent example of a public health programme that helps me, as a GP, to identify patients earlier so I can help them to manage their conditions more effectively.”

One of Dr. Rao’s patients a 50 year old man told us how his NHS Health Check changed his life:

“My doctor gave me a full NHS Health Check, a full range of tests including blood pressure, cholesterol and others. He found my cholesterol was too high, and it also emerged that I had Type II Diabetes. It was frightening at first, but it put things into perspective for me. I now knew why I had been feeling tired and experiencing other symptoms. I had actually been putting that down to me just getting older, but now I know the real cause! The Health Check has allowed me to take action. I am now taking medication as well as making changes to my lifestyle, such as my diet and exercise. I’ve also been going to education sessions that are helping me learn about the possible complications of my condition and how I can stay healthy. I would advise others to get an NHS Health Check. It can bring things to light that you can then do something about.”

The delivery of NHS Health Checks across Bracknell Forest has increased significantly from earlier in the year, with the total number of checks in quarter two being well over three times the total delivered in quarter one (April to May).

The photograph shows Dr Venkata Rao receiving the certificate on behalf of the practice from Claire D’Cruz, Health Checks Lead, from the Bracknell Forest Public Health team. Also present were (back row) Vijaya Mallipeddi, Practice Manager, Angela Drakes, Receptionist, (front row) Audrey Leahy, Practice Nurse and Dr Lisa McNally, Consultant in Public Health.

Berkshire Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy: Have Your Say

The Bracknell Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy is a document that sets out where priority action is needed to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the local area.  It is put together by the Joint Health and Wellbeing Board which comprises of delegates from Bracknell and Ascot CCG, Bracknell Forest Council and the Bracknell Forest branch of Healthwatch.  The purpose of this survey is to give you the chance to tell us what you want to see happen to improve the health and wellbeing of people in your local area.

Click here to have your say

A Call to Action: Have Your Say on the Future of the NHS

ctaNHS England is calling on patients, the public and staff to join in a discussion about the future of the NHS so it can plan how best to deliver services, now and in the years ahead. It has launched “The NHS belongs to the people: a call to action”. This sets out the current issues facing the NHS, identifies future challenges and the impact on funding of doing nothing. You can access a copy of the document here.

There have already been changes to make savings and improve productivity. The NHS is on track to find £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015. However, further change is needed to protect high quality healthcare, free at the point of use. This does not mean cutting core NHS services or charging for them; NHS England is governed by the NHS Constitution which protects these principles.

The launch of the Call to Action heralds the beginning of a nationwide programme of engagement to start a public debate on the difficult questions, seek ideas and feedback. The NHS Choices website gives further information on the Call to Action. Please do visit the site and leave your comments:

We very much look forward to working together with the local community on the bold actions needed to build an excellent NHS now and for the future.

Community Partnership Forum, 17 October

The next meeting of our Community Partnership Forum will be held at Long Barn, Norden Farm Arts Centre, Altwood Road, Maidenhead SL6 4PF on Thursday, 17 October, starting at 6.00pm.

The Forum has been set up to involve local people in making decisions about health care in East Berkshire – anyone who would like to come along and find out more is very welcome.

If you would like to come to our next meeting, it would be helpful if you could let Jane Fannon know in advance at

Community Partnership Forum, 12 September

The next meeting of the Central Southern Commissioning Support Unit Community Partnership Forum will be held at the Brants Bridge Clinic in Bracknell (RG12 9BG) on Thursday, 12 September, starting at 6.00pm.

The Forum has been set up to involve local people in making decisions about health care in East Berkshire. Anyone who would like to come along and find out more is very welcome. If you would like to come to our next meeting, it would be helpful if you could let Jane Fannon know in advance at

Congratulations Heath Hill Surgery!


Heath Hill Surgery, Crowthorne, were presented with a certificate of achievement on Thursday August 15 for carrying out the most NHS Health Checks during the first quarter of the year. The surgery carried out 59 of these checks during the period of April to June.


NHS Health Checks are for adults between the ages of 40 and 74 who have not already been diagnosed with vascular disease or treated for certain risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. They last approximately 30 minutes and assist in early detection of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and some forms of dementia.


Health Checks in Bracknell Forest are offered by several General Practice in the borough. The Public Health Team at Bracknell Forest Council, who commission and coordinate the programme, launched the new ‘Best Performer’ award to recognise the practices which delivers the most health checks to their patients.


The Bracknell Forest Public Health team have reported that the number of health checks delivered across the area are increasing, with a number of practices having already exceeding their previous totals and putting themselves well in the running for the next award for Quarter 2 (Jul to Sept).


More information on how your NHS health Checks and how your practice can get involved, email

NHS 111 Service rolls out in Berkshire

The new NHS 111 service was launched in Berkshire in July. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to help you access the care you need, any time, any day.


NHS-111-live-carousel-300x160The service in Berkshire is being run by the South Central Ambulance Service who are local experts. On dialling 111 callers will be put through to a team of highly trained advisers, and experienced nurses and paramedics, receive a clinical assessment and be directed to the local service that can help them best at that time. This may be the nearest pharmacy, direction to an appropriate service such as the GP out of hours service or even dispatching an ambulance if required.

There will be only three numbers you need to know;

  • 999 for life-threatening emergencies,
  • Your GP surgery for routine health conditions
  • 111 for urgent / unplanned health conditions or when you are unsure of which service to use.

Andy Ciecierski, NHS 111 Project Board Chair said:

This simple, free to call, easy to remember number will make it easier for people in Berkshire to access the urgent care they require, no matter what time it is or where they are..

So, if you’re worried about your child’s temperature, need an urgent prescription or health advice call 111 to speak to the team who will assess and help you straight away.”

For more information on NHS 111 visit

The service is under continuous review by the clinical commissioning groups in Berkshire to ensure it continues to provide a high quality, safe and effective service for patients.
We would encourage patients to feedback their experiences to SCAS who provide the NHS 111 service in Berkshire at

NHS 111: GP Reassures Berkshire Patients

Dr Andy Ciecierski, Project Board Chair for NHS 111 Berkshire and a Reading GP, would like to advise people that the NHS 111 service in Berkshire is provided by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, a respected and stable service which also provides 999 call handling.

“The service has a strong clinical presence in the form of nurse practitioners and paramedics supporting the health advisers who respond to calls. We planned the introduction to minimise any risks of a “big bang” approach and the modelling being used to predict demand and staffing is proving to be very accurate and this is being reflected in a good level of service.”

Since phasing in the service, performance has been closely monitored and is meeting NHS England’s standards for strong performance. Across the whole of Berkshire more than 45,000 calls have been received since the service went live. So far there is a 25% reduction in GP Out of Hours activity and below national average referrals to 999 of 7%. Over 96% of calls are answered within 60 seconds.

The service is under continuous review by the clinical commissioning groups in Berkshire to ensure it continues to provide a high quality, safe and effective service for patients.

CQC Report re: Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The CQC report is the outcome of a welcome and thorough inspection into services at Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We accept the findings of the report and will work with the Trust and its clinicians to improve and maintain high standards of patient care and quality.

As Clinical Commissioning Groups, we, along with others, monitor the safety and standard of clinical care at the hospital on behalf of our patients. This includes regular inspection visits to wards and facilities, feedback on patients experience of the hospital’s services and systematic monitoring of clinical standards. We have alert systems in place so that any issues of concern are identified early and can be addressed with the Trust.

As soon as our monitoring process identified the issues of concern, swift action was taken. We have already started to see improvements in many areas that the CQC highlights in its report. We recognise that there is still work to be done but are confident that the Trust’s action plan will deliver the improvements required. We will continue to support and monitor the Trusts services and ensure support for the hospital from the health and social care system in East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire.

We understand that capacity at the hospital has been highlighted following increased demand for emergency and urgent care services over the winter period. These issues are being addressed both by the hospital and an Urgent Care Programme Board of health and social care partners working with the Trust on expanding capacity as we lead up to next winter.

Although, of course, aspects of the CQC report are of concern, it also provides reassurance that there are many examples of good practice in the quality of medical and nursing care provided by Heatherwood and Wexham Park. We want patients to have full confidence in their local health services and will do everything within our power to ensure that high levels of patient safety, quality and care are achieved.

CQC warns Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that it has failed to protect the welfare of patients at Wexham Park Hospital

The Care Quality Commission has told Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that it must make urgent improvements to protect patients at Wexham Park Hospital.

CQC has issued a formal warning to the trust following an unannounced inspection at which it failed to meet any of the seven national standards which were reviewed.

A team of inspectors with nursing experience, supported by experts, spent four days at the hospital unannounced in May in response to concerns raised about patient care in the emergency care pathway – including the results of an NHS survey published in April 2013 which found that patients were waiting too long for treatment in Accident & Emergency (A&E).

The team visited the A&E, Emergency Department Decision Unit (EDDU), acute medical unit (AMU), medical interventions day unit (MIDU), acute stroke unit, wards 4, 6, 7, 9 and 18, the paediatrics unit and a number of the hospital’s escalation areas. A full report from this inspection has been published on the CQC website today.

Among CQC’s findings:

  • Inspectors found that a combination of high attendances and a shortage of inpatient beds elsewhere in the hospital meant the A&E was overwhelmed. People could not always be moved on from A&E when they no longer needed to be there – which left A&E crowded and busy, and people at risk of receiving care which did not meet their needs. Patients were waiting up to 11 hours to be admitted to a ward.
  • Inspectors observed that, while staff were trying their best to cope with the volume of patients, they were struggling to do so. While inspectors saw many instances of good care, they also saw a number of instances of poor care. Patients did not always have their needs adequately assessed, planned, and delivered. This was a particular concern for patients who were confused or who were assessed as having dementia. There was no system to ensure patients with dementia had dedicated care and support. Call bells were not always in reach, and were not responded to quickly enough.
  • Privacy and dignity were not always respected throughout the hospital. Inspectors saw people lined up on trolleys by the reception desk when no A&E beds were available, and spotted a bay designed for one person being used for two due to lack of space. Patients and their relatives told inspectors that communication was often poor, and observations of care taking place backed this up.
  • Poor standards of cleanliness and inadequate infection control arrangements were found in some areas of the hospital. Storage of medicines was sometimes poor, with patients and visitors on some wards able to access drugs which should have been locked away.
  • Staff told inspectors that they felt there were not enough staff in the hospital to meet the needs of patients, and said that they felt they were under considerable pressure to work longer hours. A number of staff told inspectors they regularly worked additional hours, sometimes up to two hours a day, which were unpaid. Staff said there was no connection between the needs of patients on the wards and the number of staff required to meet those needs.
  • While there were systems in place to identify risks to patient safety and to maintain quality of service, these were often ineffective. There was a strong emphasis on responding to national and local clinical targets, but little emphasis on ensuring that overall patient experiences were positive.

Adrian Hughes, Regional Director of CQC in the South, said:

“While we would acknowledge that Wexham Park Hospital was under considerable pressure at the time of this inspection, this is not an excuse for the systemic catalogue of failings we identified there. Local people deserve much better from their hospital.

“Our experienced inspectors – the team including trained nurses and a pharmacist in this case – and expert advisors found that there was a clear focus on managing the demand for inpatient beds in the hospital, which sometimes came at the expense of providing the expected level of care. Basic things, such as making sure people’s dignity was respected did not get the attention they deserved. This impacts on the patients and therefore is completely unacceptable and needs to be tackled immediately.

“Patients are entitled to be treated in services which are safe, effective, caring, well run, and responsive to their needs. The trust has assured us that it will take action and make the improvements required. We will keep watch on this, and our inspectors will return unannounced in the near future to check that it has made those changes.”


For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9239 or out of hours on 07917 232143.


CQC has published a full report.

Inspectors found that Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was failing to meet seven standards at Wexham Park Hospital:

  • · Respecting and involving people who use services
  • · Care and welfare of people who use services
  • · Staffing
  • · Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision
  • · Records
  • · Management of medicines
  • · Cleanliness and Infection Control

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.

Heatwave Alert! South East England

Public Health England issues a Level 3 ‘Heatwave’ alert issue for South East.

Top advice for being sun safe:

  • Try to keep out of the sun between 11.00am and 3.00pm
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Wear loose cotton clothing
  • Drink lots of cool drinks
  • Seek shade
  • Wear sunglasses and a hat
  • Look out for others especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, young children and babies and those with serious illnesses
  • Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals

Remember that it can get uncomfortably hot indoors too. Try to keep your bedroom and living space cool, by closing the curtains on windows that receive the sun and opening your windows at cooler times of the day and overnight when you can. Turn off non-essential lights and electrical items as these generate heat.

For more advice please refer to NHS Choices.

Dementia Strategy Consultation

How to take part in the consultation

If you have dementia, care for someone with dementia or have an interest in dementia, we would like to hear from you about how people with dementia and their carers in Bracknell Forest can be better supported to live the lives they choose.

Get involved in the consultation around the Bracknell Forest Dementia Strategy by clicking here

The consultation period runs until Friday 19th July 2013. You can get in touch in several ways:

Response to Francis Report

A statement from Dr William Tong, Chair of Governing Body and Alan Webb Accountable officer Bracknell and Ascot CCG.

The publication of the Final Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry has identified serious failings in the NHS. In response to the Francis report Bracknell and Ascot CCG is reviewing the report and its recommendations in detail. We are committed to working with all our local healthcare partners to ensure that our patients receive the most effective care possible, have a positive experience of their healthcare and are treated safely. We will continuously strive to improve the quality of services we commission through listening and responding to the views and intelligence gained from our patients, Carers and the wider community.

GPs take on commissioning role in Bracknell and Ascot

The NHS stepped into a new era when GPs took over responsibility for buying and paying for local healthcare services in Bracknell and Ascot on 1 April 2013.

The Bracknell and Ascot Clinical Commissioning Group which is led by GPs, other clinicians and lay members will plan and commission hospital, community health and mental health services on behalf of local people.

The CCG is made up of 15 GP practices with a population of 135,000 patients, and has a commissioning budget of £137m in 2013/14.

Dr William Tong, the Chair of Bracknell and Ascot CCG, said: ‘We’re delighted to take on our new commissioning role to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services we buy on behalf of local people. GPs are best placed to really understand the needs of patients they care for in the local community.

Dr William Tong said: ‘Working with our partners like local government and hospitals will be essential to ensure we buy the best care for people. We’ll also be listening and talking to patients to help us achieve our commissioning priorities. I would encourage people who want to get involved in shaping services to join a patient participation group at their local GP practice – your views will be listened to by the CCG.’

Bracknell and Ascot CCG was authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board in February this year to take on its new commissioning role after a rigorous assessment. The CCG has replaced NHS Berkshire East Primary Care Trust.

Across England, 211 CCGs have become commissioners of healthcare services and are responsible for a total budget of £65billion – there are seven CCGs in Berkshire.

Shaping the Future PCT Board decision

Following public consultation which ran from October to January, the Berkshire East PCT Board will consider recommendations relating to proposed changes to maternity, minor injuries and rehabilitation services at Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot, at its meeting in public on Tuesday 26 March. A Decision Making Business Case which has the backing of CCGs will be published ahead of the meeting along with an independent analysis of consultation responses.

Updates will be published here.

Draft Community Engagement Strategy

Bracknell Forest are consulting on the draft community engagement strategy, which is something we will wish to work closely with them on.

You and your practice staff, or PRG members may be interested in completing the survey so do please circulate it widely to anyone you think may be interested. Do please encourage your colleagues and contacts to share their thoughts on the draft strategy.

You can find the draft, background information and a simple survey here.