Older patients enjoy reminiscingUsing history to help older patients

An innovative project bringing history to life at Royal Berkshire Hospital is helping older patients recover.

The project uses ‘reminiscence therapy’ to bring back happy memories for patients. While The Museum of English Rural Life is undergoing redevelopment, staff have been sharing historical artefacts and photos relating to ‘A Year on the Farm’ with Royal Berkshire Hospital’s elderly care wards.

Lyndsey Openshaw, Care Crew* leader at Royal Berkshire Hospital, explains the benefits: “Using physical objects and pictures to encourage older people, and those with dementia, to talk about old memories, is a wonderful way to bring back happy memories. It also helps us to facilitate conversations with the patients, which is hugely beneficial in their recovery, as some older people feel lonely.”

Phillippa Heath from the Museum of English Rural Life who jointly runs the session with the hospital’s Care Crew and hospital Chaplain, Lorraine Colam, says: “It is wonderful to be able to use our collections to stimulate memories and start fascinating conversations with hospital patients. All the sessions we’ll be running will relate to activities or events which many of the patients may have experienced in their lifetime’.

In September the museum staff brought in photographs from their photographic collections to discuss jams and preserving and these acted as a stimulus to discussions alongside traditional jam-making equipment. It was also an opportunity to indulge in home-made jams and scones.

Yesterday patients enjoyed reminiscing about the harvest. Historic photographs, corn dollies and fruits and vegetables helped bring back memories. Patients also enjoyed watching a historic film depicting harvest.

Working with us

NHS best places to work

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has been named by Health Service Journal and Nursing Times, in association with NHS Employers, as one of the top 100 NHS places to work. The list includes acute trusts, community trusts, and mental health trusts across England.

On top of this success, consultant in elderly care, Professor David Oliver, has been recognised in the HSJ top 100 Clinical Leaders list. As well as a doctor at the Trust, Professor David Oliver is the President of the British Geriatrics Society and was recognised for his national work to improve care for older people.

Patient partner Carol Munt was also recognised; in the HSJ top 50 Patient Leaders list. Patient partners work with trusts to give a patient’s perspective on how care can be improved.

Jean O’Callaghan, Chief Executive, says: “I am thrilled that we are one of the best NHS employers in the country. I certainly feel proud to work here. It is testament to the fact that we have motivated staff who enjoy working here, and are proud of the care we provide for patients. We are also privileged to have people like Dr Oliver and Carol working with us.”

Last year’s staff survey showed that:

  • Staff at the Trust are highly motivated

  • Staff are satisfied with their quality of work and patient care

  • Staff agree that their role makes a difference to patients

  • Staff feel their role makes a difference to patients.

The Trust employs around 5,500 staff. 

Getting in touch

Our telephone numbers have changed

If you need to call the hospital about an appointment, or you have a query about your care, from today (Monday 6 July), our numbers are changing.

Instead of calling the Patient Services number (0845 900 7000), your appointment letter will show  a new telephone number. The new number will take you through to a dedicated administration team for your medical speciality. This team will be able to deal with any questions about appointments, and direct any medical queries to the team overseeing your care.

If you are an existing patient, or have not received an appointment letter showing the relevant telephone number, click here to see our new numbers.

The Patient Services number will continue to operate but please note: if you call this number, you will now be transferred to the dedicated administration team for your medical speciality. This number will be phased out over the coming months.

Please bear with us while we continue to update all our telephone numbers on the rest of our website.

PLACE inspection

PLACE report

Patient-led Assessments of the Care Environment (PLACE) are a self-assessment of non-clinical services. The self-assessments are carried out voluntarily and were introduced in April 2013. The teams who carry out the test include patient representatives, our governors and staff.

These standards cover cleanliness, food and drink, privacy and dignity, and the condition and appearance of our hospitals - all things we know are important to our patients.

How did we do?

We have improved across all areas compared to the previous year, and our results were better than the national average across all areas:

What was inspected 

National average

Royal Berkshire 2015

Royal Berkshire 2014





Condition, appearance, maintenance




Privacy, dignity and wellbeing




Food and hydration







Not included in inspection



Buscot incubator Reading Post appeal

Find out about what has been happening around the Trust and see where we have featured in local news stories and television broadcasts.

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Careers and vacancies


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About the Trust

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Information about our Board and Executive, our publications and our performance, and information about Freedom of Information requests.

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  • CONTACT DETAILS: Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, London Road, Reading RG1 5AN
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  • Tel: 0118 322 5111