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Helping you get the best out of local health and social care services

CQC publishes its review of how local health and social care systems work together in Reading


The Care Quality Commission has published its findings following a review of health and social care services in Reading.

The report is one of 23 targeted local system reviews looking specifically at how older people move through the health and social care system, with a focus on how services work together. The reviews look at how hospitals, community health services, GP practices, care homes and home care agencies work together to provide seamless care for people aged 65 and over living in a local area.

During the review CQC sought the views of a range of people involved in shaping and leading the system, those responsible for directly delivering care, as well as people who use services, their families and carers.

Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care, said:

"Our review of health and social care services in the Reading found that older people had a positive, experience of health and social care services. People were treated with dignity, as individuals, and they found that services were provided in a timely and consistent way.

"Our review found many examples of good practice, but we also highlight a number of areas where improvements are needed to ensure providers of health and social care services work better together. These areas have already been recognised by the local system leaders, including improving support for carers. Plans are being developed to ensure those improvements took place."

"We have presented our findings to the health and social care system leaders in Reading so that they can prioritise and continue to improve and work together in bringing joined up care to people living in the county."

Overall CQC reviewers found:

  • Older people usually experienced a timely and person-centred approach to care and treatment. Care teams were providing effective support to people in the community when they experienced a health crisis and were effective in preventing people from needing to attend hospital. When people were admitted to hospital, they were treated with dignity and were encouraged to stay active during their stay. People with dementia received one-to-one support from dedicated staff who had been specially trained to care for people with high-level needs.
  • Compared with other areas, people were less likely to be kept in hospital when they were ready to leave. System partners had worked to improve people's experiences of transfers of care, with a home- first culture embedded throughout the system.
  • People living in care homes were well supported to have their needs met, preventing them from needing to access hospital care unnecessarily. While there was extensive support for people living in care homes, the support offer in the wider community was less developed. Schemes such as the Falls and Frailty Service and the Rapid Response Service were in place to meet people's needs at a point of crisis, but there was not an effective system to identify people at higher risk of deterioration in their condition
  • Although people had access to a wide range of voluntary, community services in Reading, they were not always aware of what services were available which meant that people could reach crisis point before accessing support.
  • People said the Readibus (dial-a-ride transport service) was important as it allowed them to remain active and independent, and they were concerned that if this was reduced this would increase chances of social isolation.
  • Carers were concerned about the availability of respite care, while people who did not fund their own care had limited choice and control over what respite services were available.

Inspectors made a number of recommendations including:

  • Health and social care commissioners should work together to develop the new Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and ensure it is aligned with Population Health Management approach.
  • Health and care commissioners should develop a joint commissioning strategy to meet the needs of the people of Reading.
  • System leaders should focus on developing prevention and early intervention services that increase the support offer in the community and provide a vibrant and responsive care market.

The full report will be available on the CQC website on Thursday 17 January 2019 here.



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