A REVIEW of the town's health and social care system has praised the quality and compassionate nature of 'dedicated' staff.

The health watchdog carried out a review of the service, starting towards the end of October, which focussed on the needs of older residents.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors looked at Reading Borough Council, hospitals, the ambulance service, community health services, GP practices, care homes and home care agencies during the five-day scrutiny.

Councillor Tony Jones, lead member for Adult Social Care, said: "Overall, this is a very good report for Reading, which recognises our positive work and highlights examples of good practice, as well as providing constructive feedback on the way forward where gaps have been identified."

Inspectors examined whether Reading was well-led and the effectiveness of commissioning and delivering services.

The report made particular reference to people over 65 in their place of residence and when they are supported to return home following a stay at hospital.

Cathy Winfield, chief officer of Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “One of the key challenges facing the NHS is the provision of care for our ageing population, so it is pleasing to see this CQC review has recognised the good quality and compassionate care we provide for older people.

“There are many factors involved when helping older people, their families and carers navigate the health and social care system at a time when they are all feeling rather vulnerable.

“We are now looking at what more can be done to further improve things and create renewed opportunities for joint working, so we can address the areas the CQC inspectors feel need more attention.”

The report identified many areas of good practices across the board. People in Reading are much less likely to be kept in hospital when they are ready to leave, compared to other similar areas of the country.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care, said: “Our review of health and social care services in 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.”