The hospital is still treating a large number of Covid patients; this has required a significant expansion of our Intensive Care service and continues to put pressure on our wards, operating theatres, and our staff.
Throughout this wave we have continued to run:
- All of our urgent and emergency services
- All urgent cancer care
We have also managed to continue with a lot of our elective services in areas like outpatients, diagnostics, endoscopy and some day-case elective surgery. Our phlebotomy service on the Royal Berkshire Hospital site has continued to run during this wave of Covid, as have our urgent screening services.
However, due to the pressures on our acute hospital site we have had to pause a significant amount of routine elective surgery on the Royal Berkshire Hospital site. Where possible we have transferred these services to alternative sites, including working together with our local Independent Sector hospitals, to ensure as many patients can safely receive their treatments as soon as possible.
We are continuing to accept referrals for all of our services; our clinicians are regularly reviewing, prioritising and triaging these referrals. Thank you for your patience where our waiting times are currently longer than normal.
We are now starting to see a very slight reduction in Covid related activity and our predictions are that this will continue during the next month. Our partners in SCAS and PHE are noticing a similar downward trend in community related Covid activity, although Reading still has a high number of cases compared with neighbouring local authorities.
As a result, our de-escalation plans are now being gradually implemented and we are planning a phased approach to fully relaunching each of our elective services when it is safe to do so.
Our overall priority is to ensure our patients are seen as quickly as possible and in a Covid-safe way. We will be contacting patients directly to book their appointments and/or dates for surgery as soon as we are able to relaunch these services, and we encourage patients to please attend once these have been booked.
Other key points to highlight include:
- Our new Emergency Department build is nearing completion and we look forward to being able to use this improved space in the near future.
- Our staff vaccination programme has worked extremely well with more than 5,800 staff vaccinated on site at the RBH.
- The wider public vaccination programme run by our colleagues at Berkshire West CCG is progressing well and they are on target to complete the first four cohorts of priority patients by 15 February.
- Our Lighthouse Laboratory in Bracknell is nearing completion within with our planned timeframe, and we are now waiting for the regulatory approvals from the DHSC and NHSE which we hope will come through very soon.
Visiting is allowed in exceptional circumstances only, with the agreement of the ward manager. These restrictions are in place to protect everyone at the hospital, patients and staff inclusive. We appreciate this may be difficult for families, and encourage people to forward cards and letters to patients via the PALS team who will arrange delivery. In some cases, there are also phone and virtual visits that can be accommodated and these can be organised with the ward manager.
It’s important we do all we can to ease pressure on our services and teams so we are able to treat those in most need of urgent care.