The healthcare group that plans and funds NHS services in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire has been told it ‘requires improvement’.

Berkshire West Clinical Commission Group (CCG) received a ‘Requires Improvement’ rating by the NHS for 2018/19.

Cathy Winfield, Berkshire West CCG’s chief officer, announced the rating  at the CCG’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) today.

She said the reason for the “disappointing” rating was that it had taken a deficit to enable the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust to win £9 million in funding.

She also announced an upcoming consultation which could see Berkshire West, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire CCGs merge into a single body under plans revealed today.

The NHS gives four ratings to CCGs based on their annual performance: ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’ and ‘Inadequate’.

Ms Winfield said: “It is disappointing because the CCG has been ‘Oustanding’ in previous years and ‘Good’ in others.

“Royal Berks has been able to achieve its own targets and won £9 million of funding.

“The CCG took a deficit in its own system to enable the funding. It is a decision we stand by.

“The result of that is the rating of ‘Requires Improvement’.”

The NHS had published a list of ratings of but not provided CCGs with information on specific areas that need improvement.

Ms Winfield said: “There may be some areas we need to improve in but we don’t know that.

“[The report] is not functioning as a system of improvement.”

Berkshire  plans and fund NHS services across Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham.

A consultation on merging the Berkshire West, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire CCGs is expected to be published before Christmas.

Buckinghamshire CCG also received a ‘Requires Improvement’ rating from the NHS, while Oxfordshire received a ‘Good’ rating.